8:20 PM ET, December 2, 2012
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
These injury-plagued NFC East rivals meet Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium, with the Eagles out to avoid their longest losing streak in 44 years.
Dallas (5-6) is tied for second place in the division with Washington, two games behind the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The Cowboys went 6-10 two years ago and 8-8 last season, and haven't shown any improvement in 2012.
"I knew that we were in a league that has a lot of competition, but I thought we'd be better," owner Jerry Jones said.
At least Dallas still has playoff hopes, with the last wild-card team in the NFC currently holding a 6-5 record.
The same can't be said for Philadelphia (3-8), which has lost seven straight for the longest slide of coach Andy Reid's tenure. Reid is doing his best to avoid speculation that he will be fired.
"I'm coaching to get ready to get after the Cowboys," Reid said. "That's what I'm coaching to do and I don't go beyond that."
Reid once again won't have his full complement of stars as Philadelphia seeks to avoid its longest losing streak since an 0-11 start in 1968.
Michael Vick has missed the last two games with a concussion and LeSean McCoy sat out Monday's 30-22 home loss to Carolina as he tries to recover from a concussion. DeSean Jackson was placed on injured reserve after he sustained multiple rib fractures against the Panthers.
With Vick out, rookie Nick Foles will likely make his third straight start. Foles has thrown for 542 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in three games since replacing Vick during a 38-23 home loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 11.
"The big thing is you just look at games and I feel like we've run the offense well and we've just got to eliminate mistakes," said Foles, who had two turnovers in the first meeting with Dallas.
The Eagles signaled that change may be underway when they released two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin on Tuesday. Younger players like former high draft picks Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham are expected to get more playing time now.
Dallas has also endured plenty of injuries, although running back DeMarco Murray returned to practice Wednesday, and Jones says it "looks like" he'll play Sunday. Murray has missed the last six games with a sprained right foot, and the Cowboys rank last in the league with 78.7 rushing yards per game.
"It shouldn't matter who's back there," offensive lineman Mackenzy Bernadeau said. "We should be able to make it clean for them to make the read and hit the holes."
Now the Cowboys' defense has sustained another injury, with linebacker Bruce Carter out for the season with a dislocated left elbow. Carter was a replacement for Sean Lee, out for the year with a big toe injury.
The Eagles' defense, meanwhile, has allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 13 touchdowns and no interceptions over the last five games. Tony Romo had two touchdowns in the first meeting and needs one Sunday for his 166th to break a tie with Hall of Famer Troy Aikman for the most in franchise history.
While Philadelphia faces a short week to get ready, Dallas has not played since turning in one of its worst defensive efforts in last Thursday's 38-31 home loss to Washington. The Cowboys allowed rookie Robert Griffin III to throw for four touchdowns -- the first time a quarterback has done that against them since Rex Grossman accomplished the feat two years ago, also with the Redskins.
The Cowboys once again struggled at home. They have faced deficits of 24, 23, 13 and 25 points in their last four games at Jones' $1 billion stadium.
"I think we're not consistent," Jones said. "You have to create some consistency really at any part of what you're doing, special teams as well as offense and defense."
Dallas allowed its second-highest rushing total of 149 yards on Thanksgiving, but may not catch a break if McCoy is out. Bryce Brown was one of the few bright spots Monday for the Eagles with a club rookie record of 178 yards rushing and two scores in his first career start.
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• Dallas must stop the run: Even with the Eagles' featured back, LeSean McCoy, out with an injury, Philadelphia was able to rack up 204 yards (7.8 yards per attempt) on the ground versus the Panthers in Week 12. The Eagles' passing attack is somewhat anemic and can't move the chains consistently. Look for Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to design a game plan (eight-man fronts, zone run blitzes, stunts and twists) to force Philadelphia rookie quarterback Nick Foles to score points.
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|Avg Points Allowed||26.7||24.6|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PHI|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PHI|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 14-11|
|Nov 11, 2012||PHI 23, DAL 38|
|Dec 24, 2011||PHI 20, @DAL 7|
|Oct 30, 2011||PHI 34, DAL 7|
|Jan 2, 2011||PHI 13, DAL 14|
|Dec 12, 2010||PHI 30, @DAL 27|
|Jan 9, 2010||PHI 14, @DAL 34|
|Jan 3, 2010||PHI 0, @DAL 24|
|Nov 8, 2009||PHI 16, DAL 20|
|Dec 28, 2008||PHI 44, DAL 6|
|Sep 15, 2008||PHI 37, @DAL 41|
|Dec 16, 2007||PHI 10, @DAL 6|
|Nov 4, 2007||PHI 17, DAL 38|
|Dec 25, 2006||PHI 23, @DAL 7|
|Oct 8, 2006||PHI 38, DAL 24|
|Nov 14, 2005||PHI 20, DAL 21|
|Oct 9, 2005||PHI 10, @DAL 33|
|Dec 19, 2004||PHI 12, DAL 7|
|Nov 15, 2004||PHI 49, @DAL 21|
|Dec 7, 2003||PHI 36, DAL 10|
|Oct 12, 2003||PHI 21, @DAL 23|
|Dec 21, 2002||PHI 27, @DAL 3|
|Sep 22, 2002||PHI 44, DAL 13|
|Nov 18, 2001||PHI 36, @DAL 3|
|Sep 30, 2001||PHI 40, DAL 18|
Tony Romo was 16-of-20 with two touchdowns when the Eagles rushed four or fewer in Week 10. It was the third time over the last five seasons that Romo posted an 80 or better completion percentage with at least 20 passes against such pressure.
Opponents have gone 26-of-34 (76.5 percent) on throws more than 10 yards downfield against the Eagles since the firing of Juan Castillo, defending only two such passes. Prior to Castillo's firing, the Eagles allowed a league-best 31.8 completion percentage, intercepting or defending 13 throws of those distances.[+]
Eagles Defense on Throws More Than 10 Yards Downfield - This Season
From Elias: The Cowboys' current 8-game losing streak in Sunday night games (games that kicked off after 5pm local time on Sundays) is tied for the longest in the NFL since 1987, when the league started regularly scheduling televised Sunday night games. Dallas had another 8-game Sunday night losing streak back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, snapping it in 2006. After going 10-2 in Sunday night games from 2006 to 2009, the Cowboys are now primed to lose their 9th in a row Sunday night against the Eagles. This includes all games played after 5pm local time on Sundays, NOT just "Sunday Night Football" games as branded on NBC (or previously on ESPN). For example, the London games are included in this set because they are played after 5pm local time in England (though the Cowboys weren't involved in any of those).[+]
Longest Losing Streak in Sunday Night Games - Since 1987
ESPN Stats & Information