8:20 PM ET, October 30, 2011
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
While Cowboys' defensive coordinator Rob Ryan added fuel to the fire with some offseason trash talk, the Eagles are content with letting their play speak for itself.
Looking to stay perfect coming off a bye under Andy Reid, Philadelphia tries to slow down Dallas' rookie sensation DeMarco Murray on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
After signing several big-name free agents to go along with four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick, the Eagles entered this season looking like Super Bowl contenders.
Ryan, however, wasn't impressed.
"I don't know if we win the all-hype team," Ryan said in July. "I think that might have gone to somebody else, but we're going to beat their ass when we play them."
The Eagles (2-4) have struggled to fulfill expectations early this season. After opening with a 31-13 victory at St. Louis, Philadelphia dropped four in a row before regrouping with a 20-13 win at Washington on Oct. 16.
The defense had four interceptions -- three by safety Kurt Coleman -- while LeSean McCoy carried the ball a career-high 28 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. McCoy is the first Eagle to score at least one TD in each of the team's first six games.
"It was just one win," Vick said. "I think if we get the next one, we'll get that confidence. But we definitely feel good about where we are right now. Obviously, there's a lot of work to be done. We're committed to getting that done."
Vick now hopes to make Ryan eat his words.
"It was nothing that we really paid any attention to," he told the Cowboys' official website, "because we know what really counts is when you step onto the football field and whoever wins or loses the game. That's what matters."
Given its 12-0 record following bye weeks under Reid, Philadelphia could have a leg up Sunday.
While Reid "(doesn't) think there's any secret" to his success after bye weeks, linebacker Jamar Chaney believes its more than just good fortune.
"The great coaches make adjustments," he said. "Halfway through the season, you have to make adjustments and that's one thing you do at halftime when you go in and on the sideline. And pretty much whenever you have your bye, you're going to make adjustments, go ahead and scout your team and see what they're doing good and what they're doing wrong and come back and make those corrections. And I think he's been doing a good job of that."
During the time off, the Eagles surely focused their efforts on stopping the run. Philadelphia has surrendered an average 123.8 rushing yards and is allowing 4.82 yards per carry -- the 23rd and 27th worst marks, respectively, in the league.
That may not bode well for the Eagles with Murray coming off a record-setting day.
With Felix Jones sidelined (left high ankle sprain), Murray ran for a franchise-best 253 yards -- the ninth-highest total in NFL history -- during Dallas' 34-7 win over the winless Rams last Sunday.
"I think he ran hard," coach Jason Garrett said. "He certainly made some good cuts. His vision was good and he was able to stick his foot in the ground and run through some tackles. ... It's just a sign of hopefully things to come ... the first opportunity he got to get the ball like he got it in college, he took advantage of it. Now he's just got to keep taking the next step week to week."
Murray will likely need to be wary of Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, who is expected to return from a strained calf following a two-game absence.
"I don't like the Cowboys," Cole told the Eagles' official website. "We circle these games on our schedule every year. It's huge for the fans and for the players. That's one of the reasons I'm so excited to get back. I want to bring home a win for the fans."
The Cowboys (3-3) have taken four of five in this series -- including a 34-14 wild-card victory Jan. 9, 2010. They sit in a second-place tie with the Redskins in the NFC East -- one game ahead of the last-place Eagles.
"There will be story lines all over the place, but it's a big game for both teams, and we all want to make a statement," Dallas linebacker Bradie James said. "For us to achieve the goals that we set out during training camp, this is a team that we have to beat."
Tony Romo, who recorded a season-low 166 passing yards and two scores last weekend, has thrown 10 TDs and 10 interceptions in seven career regular-season starts versus Philadelphia.
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After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Cowboys-Eagles matchup.
1. Dallas needs to pound the rock: The Eagles have been less than impressive defending the run in 2011, giving up 124 yards rushing per game and 4.8 yards per attempt. Their technique and alignment (wide nine at the end position) tends to create natural creases to run through. Look for Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to control the tempo of the game with his run game with DeMarco Murray between the tackles.
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|Avg Points Allowed||23.1||21.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||DAL|
|Rush Yds Allowed||DAL|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 14-9|
|Jan 2, 2011||DAL 14, @PHI 13|
|Dec 12, 2010||DAL 27, PHI 30|
|Jan 9, 2010||DAL 34, PHI 14|
|Jan 3, 2010||DAL 24, PHI 0|
|Nov 8, 2009||DAL 20, @PHI 16|
|Dec 28, 2008||DAL 6, @PHI 44|
|Sep 15, 2008||DAL 41, PHI 37|
|Dec 16, 2007||DAL 6, PHI 10|
|Nov 4, 2007||DAL 38, @PHI 17|
|Dec 25, 2006||DAL 7, PHI 23|
|Oct 8, 2006||DAL 24, @PHI 38|
|Nov 14, 2005||DAL 21, @PHI 20|
|Oct 9, 2005||DAL 33, PHI 10|
|Dec 19, 2004||DAL 7, @PHI 12|
|Nov 15, 2004||DAL 21, PHI 49|
|Dec 7, 2003||DAL 10, @PHI 36|
|Oct 12, 2003||DAL 23, PHI 21|
|Dec 21, 2002||DAL 3, PHI 27|
|Sep 22, 2002||DAL 13, @PHI 44|
|Nov 18, 2001||DAL 3, PHI 36|
|Sep 30, 2001||DAL 18, @PHI 40|
FROM S&A NEXT LEVEL The Cowboys pass rush will be put to the test chasing around Michael Vick in the pocket Sunday. Vick is one of the best in the league at extending plays ranking 7th in average seconds added.[+]
Michael Vick Time in Pocket - 2011 Season
ESPN Stats & Information