Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys: 3 Key Matchups to Watch for in Week 14
It's Dallas week for the Eagles. The Birds and the 'Boys will place twice in the next four weeks, and both matchups will be extremely important if the Eagles want to maintain their playoff hopes.
In this week's matchup the Eagles will head to Dallas with a bad taste in their mouths. The new Cowboys Stadium is where the Eagles season ended last year, and it's time for revenge.
The Cowboys aren't fighting for a playoff spot, but they'd love to play the role of spoiler. This Sunday will be their first chance.
Today, I look at three key matchups that will have a big effect on the outcome of the game.
1. Michael Vick vs. Cowboys Secondary
Al Bello/Getty Images
Michael Vick is a matchup nightmare. There's no denying that. Although he was criticized for only being able to run while he was a Falcon, Vick has established himself as a dominant passer.
The Cowboys currently rank 28th in the NFL against the pass. Their secondary has been dominated all season and is giving up over 250 yards per game through the air. In his last four games, Vick has thrown for over 250 yards, with him throwing for over 300 yards in three out of those four games.
The Cowboys run defense hasn't been phenomenal so far this season either, but we know that the Eagles are a pass-first team. They will look to pick apart the Cowboys vulnerable secondary early and often on Sunday night. Vick will look to get DeSean Jackson involved early again this week.
This is a matchup that definitely benefits the Eagles, and I think the offense will be able to land some big plays.
2. Eagles Secondary vs. Cowboys Receivers
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Lately, the Eagles secondary has really struggled to stop the pass. Not having Asante Samuel in the lineup has really hurt them. However, it looks like Samuel will return to the lineup this week.
Samuel's return will be huge against a Cowboys offense that ranks fifth in passing offense. They'll be without Dez Bryant for the rest of the year, but his production has been down as of late, and they've still been successful.
Without Bryant, the Cowboys will look to Miles Austin and Roy Williams to step up their production. Both receivers will have a distinct size advantage on whoever they line up against, and the Eagles secondary will really have to make sure they put themselves in the right position to make a play on the ball.
The secondary has been lacking in producing turnovers as of late, but having Samuel back in the lineup should help. If the secondary can create some turnovers, it'll go a long way towards winning.
3. Eagles Linebackers vs. Jason Witten
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Jason Witten currently has more receptions than any other Cowboys receiver. Through 12 games, Witten has 65 receptions for 702 yards and four touchdowns.
The Eagles have had continuous problems covering tight ends in the past, and Witten is one of the best in the business. He's been a popular target for the Cowboys offense, and has recorded 10 receptions twice since Jon Kitna took over.
Witten will be a big target on third downs and will need to be shut down in order to stop Dallas from driving.
Come Sunday night, the Eagles will have their hands full with Witten. The linebackers will need to run with Witten and try to prevent him from converting on big plays.