The Philadelphia Eagles feel ready for their huge Thanksgiving showdown with the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams are fighting for supremacy in the NFC East, and entering this game, both are tied atop the division with identical 8-3 marks. The winner will have sole possession of first place in the division, with another meeting between the two teams just a little less than three weeks away. The Eagles will have home field advantage for that second meeting .
Philadelphia easily beat the Tennessee Titans 43-24 last weekend, while the Cowboys squeaked by at the Meadowlands Sunday night against the Giants, needing a late touchdown to win, 31-28. With both teams winning, the Thanksgiving showdown takes on added significance now, and has already generated some trash talking to assure juicy headlines. Defensive tackle Bennie Logan of the Eagles already has declared that the Cowboys offensive line, which some feel is the best in the business, is actually nothing special. When asked to respond, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray remained silent and suggested that everything would be decided on the field of play on Thursday.
While the Eagles feel ready for the Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys, there have been some challenges. One complication for preparations by both teams is the shortened week. With this meeting being held on a Thursday, it leaves only three days after the last game played by both teams to prepare for this contest. The Eagles played their game at home in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, and had to wait until Monday morning to get game tapes of last Sunday night’s game between the Cowboys and Giants. The Cowboys, of course, had it worse, since they played a late game on Sunday, and had even less recovery time, needing to travel back to Dallas for this upcoming NFC East contest. The Eagles had a light workout on Monday, which head coach Chip Kelly considered more mental preparation than anything else. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews felt that the Eagles would indeed be ready for the Cowboys on Thursday, since the Eagles normally have intense practice on Wednesdays.
Philadelphia’s offense has become one of the most dangerous and explosive units in the league since the arrival of Kelly as head coach last year. Philadelphia won the NFC East last season, largely behind their potent and unpredictable new offense. That success has continued on to this season, as well. While tied with Dallas for first place, the 8-3 Eagles nonetheless have one of the best records in the league to this point, and their offensive unit has been a large part of the team’s success. So far this season, only the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers have scored more points than the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dallas, in the meantime, always seems to have a lot of hype surrounding them with each new season. However, since the dynasty days of the nineties, when the Cowboys were the star-studded “Team of the Decade,” Dallas has more often disappointed those high expectations than anything else. They have won only a single playoff game since the 1996 season, when they were ultimately dethroned from their final championship of the decade. Jerry Jones has desperately tried to balance keeping the team relevant while also making sure that tickets are sold. To that end, he reluctantly passed on high-profile quarterback prospect Johnny Manziel in last year’s draft, in order to commit to the much less glamorous work of building up the offensive line. That commitment has paid off, as Dallas’s offensive line is now seen as one of the main strengths for the team, and some even consider them the best offensive line in the league. It has been largely responsible for the strong running game that the Cowboys have enjoyed so far this season and has allowed quarterback Tony Romo to enjoy what has been a very solid season for him so far.
Despite the challenges that the Dallas offensive line will present, as well as Dallas enjoying home field advantage, the Eagles feel ready for the big Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys. According to the Las Vegas line, Dallas is favored by three points.
By Charles Bordeau
Philly.com – Eagles Prepare for Cowboys
Philly.com – Cowboys Well-Grounded
Photo by Billy Bob Bain – Flickr