And a large part of that can be attributed to some key injuries. Per Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports:
"The Philadelphia Eagles will again be without Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy when they play at Dallas on Sunday night."
"Vick, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and McCoy, the All-Pro running back, have been ruled out because of concussions."
Also, according to the Eagles' official website neither practiced Wednesday, Thursday or Friday .
It only gets worse for the offense as well. Because according to Reuben Frank of CSN Philadelphia, receiver DeSean Jackson is also injured:
Andy Reid: DeSean two broken ribs. Out for the year.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) November 27, 2012
So, what could Philly possibly do in this game to get a victory? Well, let's move forward and break it down because this appears too insurmountable for the Eagles, especially on the road.
Blitz...An Extensive Amount
Run and pass blitz like crazy, period.
The best way to overcome any adversity in football is with an attacking philosophy. The Eagles must do this to an extreme, because the game always comes down to winning the line of scrimmage.
Defensively, the Eagles have to force as many ill-advised throws from Tony Romo as possible. At the same time, blitzing will isolate the ground game and force Dallas into a greater one-dimensional approach.
Not to mention, but the Cowboys are also getting healthier. Per Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas:
"Murray has missed the past six games with a sprained left foot, and despite being limited in practice all week, indications are he will play Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles."
That said, the Eagles must be on the point of attack all game long.
Otherwise, Big D's offense will bulldoze and control the tempo. Felix Jones is capable of carrying the rushing load; however, factor in Dallas' potential explosiveness and not being aggressive will prove costly.
If pressured enough, Romo becomes turnover-prone. And that's where the secondary comes in.
Various, Yet Physical Coverage Schemes
Because of the constant need for blitzing, the Eagles have to play flawless coverage behind it.
After all, any time a defense does blitz, something must be given in return. Well, that falls on the coverage, regardless of whether it's man or zone.
Still, Philadelphia can make up for that by pressing the corners on the outside and sitting in a Cover 2 shell. This scheme takes away more from the intermediate level, so obviously the Eagles will be more vulnerable downfield and more specifically, over the middle.
To compensate for the exposed weakness, though, there is one unique approach.
For one, the Eagles must rely on their front seven to stop the run and get quarterback pressure. Secondly, allowing the cornerbacks to play man coverage while sitting with inside leverage allows the boundary to act as an extra defender.
Doing so provides the Cover 2 safeties another option along with the traditional split of taking away one-half of the deeper field. With the corners in man and the linebackers focusing on the run and blitzing, one safety can drop underneath the middle and the other over the top.
In short, a Cover 1 robber look that takes away the middle at all levels and a deep safety to assist either corner on the outside. Factor the front seven's potential pressure and run-stoppage and Philly can minimize Big D's overall production.
Offensively, Just Run the Rock
If there's anything the Eagles have proven in 2012, it's the ability to run the football.
Bryce Brown put that strong showing on display vs. the Carolina Panthers on Monday night. There, Brown logged 178 rushing yards on just 19 carries and scored twice. He did, however, lose two fumbles as well.
Now, yes, the Cowboys are expected to be much more difficult than Carolina. Nevertheless, proving you can run the ball with a backup rookie quarterback and backup rookie running back in the game is impressive.
Also, DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys still allow 4.1 yards per carry and 110.5 rushing yards per contest. Being inconsistent at stopping the run has been an issue for Dallas all season, so Philly must take advantage.
That impact will take pressure off Nick Foles, keep the offense balanced, create play-action opportunities and rest the defense. A shootout is the last thing Philly needs, because Andy Reid's team averages a mere 16.7 points per game.
Provided the defense stays aggressive to force some turnovers and the offense shortens the game, Philadelphia can get a Week 13 road victory.
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