4:30 PM ET, November 27, 2014
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Game Balls: Eagles at Dallas
In the first of two meetings across 18 days, the Eagles look to remain unbeaten in the division and improve to 6-0 on the holiday when they try to deny the Cowboys a third consecutive victory.
"It's going to be a great game," Philadelphia defensive end Fletcher Cox said of the matchup between 8-3 teams. "I'm really excited, man. I'm looking forward to it. We're ready to roll. We're ready for Thursday."
Although the rivals enter the contest in a first-place tie, the Eagles have a slight advantage with a 2-0 mark in the East, while Dallas is 2-1 with the loss coming 20-17 at home against Washington on Oct. 27.
Philadelphia recovered from a blowout loss at Green Bay in Sunday's 43-24 home win over Tennessee. Mark Sanchez had a team record-tying third straight 300-yard passing day, while LeSean McCoy ran for 130 yards and a touchdown.
"We had to stay focused on Tennessee all week," linebacker Trent Cole said. "That was the next game. And we were coming off a bad game. So there was no reason to think about Dallas. But now we can. Now, it's all about Dallas. If you can't get excited for this game, you shouldn't be playing football."
The Eagles have dropped three of their last four on the road, but they've won three of four at Dallas following a 24-22 victory last season that clinched the NFC East title in Week 17. Tony Romo did not play in that contest two days after undergoing back surgery, and Brandon Boykin picked off a Kyle Orton pass with 1:49 remaining to seal the win.
Romo now appears to be playing at his best, throwing for seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games. He completed 18 of 26 passes for 275 yards and four scores -- including the winner to Dez Bryant with 1:01 left -- in a 31-28 comeback road win over the New York Giants on Sunday night.
"Everybody knows that we won, but when we land in Dallas, that game no longer matters," said Bryant, who had seven catches for 86 yards with 2 TDs.
After losing their last two at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys have answered with back-to-back road wins -- though they didn't exactly face a hostile crowd while beating Jacksonville in London on Nov. 9. They haven't dropped three straight at home since losing four straight to open the 2010 season.
Jason Witten, who has a touchdown grab in his last two games, has a combined 18 catches for 243 yards in his last two at home versus Philadelphia. He also has more catches than anyone on Thanksgiving as he gets ready for his 12th game on the holiday with the Cowboys, who are 29-16-1 all-time in those contests.
"I think the excitement and adrenaline can override how tired you are," Witten said about playing 90 hours after Sunday's game ended. "It's a great opportunity for us. You can't worry about anything else. Just get through it and move forward."
League rushing leader DeMarco Murray posted his tenth 100-yard game with 121 on 24 carries against the Giants, while Bryant is tied for the most touchdown receptions since Week 8 with six.
The Eagles have been vulnerable through the air, ranking 30th with 266.3 yards allowed per game. They limited Tennessee to 52 rushing yards Sunday after allowing an average of 110.0 over their previous three games.
"We want to win our division," Philadelphia cornerback Cary Williams said. "They are a great opponent. They have a great team and are playing at a high level right now."
Romo has thrown for at least 300 yards with eight touchdowns and two picks while winning each of the last three home meetings he's finished. He was knocked out with a right hand injury in the opening series of a loss to the Eagles in 2011.
Dallas will have to account for linebacker Connor Barwin, who is tied for second in the NFL with a career-high 12 1/2 sacks after recording 2 1/2 of the team's five against the Titans.
The Cowboys have allowed 160 rushing yards in the last two, but they've had their own issues against the pass, allowing an average of 278.3 yards over their last four games.
Sanchez has thrown for an average of 328.3 yards with five touchdowns since taking over for injured starter Nick Foles, but he's also thrown four picks in his last two games. Dallas has pulled down an interception in each of its past four.
Jordan Matthews has been Sanchez's top target with 18 catches for 322 yards and three scores in his last three games.
"We've got a pretty good understanding of what (the Cowboys) are right now," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "They play extremely hard on the defensive side; and then, obviously, offensively they are running the ball at a very, very high rate."
Dallas safety Jeff Heath and defensive tackle Jack Crawford each have a broken thumb that will require surgery, though they're still hoping to play. Receiver Terrance Williams has a broken index finger but is likely to go with the aid of a splint.
Philadelphia linebacker Emmanuel Acho may be sidelined due to a groin injury.
The teams will meet again at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 4.
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|Avg Points Allowed||.8||2.8|
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 16-13|
|Dec 29, 2013||PHI 24, @DAL 22|
|Oct 20, 2013||PHI 3, DAL 17|
|Dec 2, 2012||PHI 33, @DAL 38|
|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|
The Eagles have played 5 road game this season, and 4 have been against teams currently over .500. All 6 of the Eagles home games have been against opponents currently below .500.[+]
Eagles Home/Road Splits This Season
From Elias: The Cowboys and Eagles will play on Thanksgiving, each being 5 games over .500. It's the first time a game will be played on Thanksgiving with both teams being 5 games over .500 since 1998 when the 10-1 Vikings won 46-36 over the 8-3 Cowboys.
With 100 rushing yards today against the Eagles, DeMarco Murray would have 11 games this season with at least 100 rushing yards, tied with Emmitt Smith for the most in team history.[+]
Most 100-Yard Rushing Games in a Season - Cowboys History
DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant have accounted for over 57% of the Cowboys yards from scrimmage this season, highest among any pair of teammates.[+]
Highest Percentage of Yards From Scrimmage - Teammates This Season
The Eagles pass rush has generated pressure (duress or sack) on 32.5% of dropbacks this season, highest in the NFL.[+]
Highest Defensive Pressure Percentage - This Season
The Eagles and Cowboys are sure to put some points up on Thanksgiving. Philadelphia averages more points per game, but Dallas looks to control time of possession with DeMarco Murray while the Eagles are more of a fast-paced offense. Philadelphia has also scored 10 touchdowns on defense and special teams, most of any team in the NFL.[+]
Cowboys: 3rd rushing touchdown allowed to opposing quarterbacks this season (T-most this season) Gave up 4 last season, 3rd behind the Buccaneers and Jaguars (both with 5)
PHI zone-read rushing 8 rushes, 32 yards, TD Sanchez- zone-read play action 3-5, 46 yards, TD (9.2 yds per att) Sanchez- all other passes 14-20, 156 yds (7.8 yds per att)
Romo: 4 sacks today... his season high is 5 (Week 8 vs Washington)
The Cowboys scored just 10 points against the Eagles: * Fewest points they've scored at home since Week 16 in 2011 (a 20-7 loss to the Eagles) * Fewest points they've scored at home in a game Tony Romo started and finished since Week 11 in 2009 (7-6 win over the Redskins)
This was the Eagles' 7th game with 200 rushing yards since Chip Kelly took over last season, 1 more than the Seahawks for most in the NFL in that span.
Eagles: 16th 30-point game since the start of last season, 2nd-most in the NFL (Broncos - 20)
LeSean McCoy (PHI): Rushing TD in back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 12-15 in 2011 (4 straight games)... It's his 1st Rush TD against the Cowboys since he had 2 in Week 8 back in 2011 (he had gone 4 straight games against the Cowboys without a rushing TD).
The Eagles rushed for 244 yards on 40 designed rushes (excluding scrambles and kneel downs), the most yards on designed rushes by Philadelphia since Week 16 of 2013. In Mark Sanchez's 1st 3 starts this season, the Eagles ran 6 zone-read rushes for 34 yards, and didn't run a single zone-read rush in Week 12. That was the first time in the Chip Kelly era they didn't try at least one in a game.[+]
Eagles Zone-Read Rushing With Mark Sanchez at QB
Mark Sanchez (PHI): 1st rush TD since 2011 (Week 16 vs Giants)
Mark Sanchez was 6-of-9 for 61 yards and threw his only touchdown off play-action fakes Thursday, and he didn't even attempt a non-play-action pass in the 2nd half. Sanchez has thrown 6 play-action TD passes in 5 games played, the only quarterback with multiple games played to average more than 1 play-action TD pass per game. However, the only quarterback this season with a worse TD-Int differential on non-play-action passes than Sanchez (-3) is Blake Bortles (-6).[+]
Mark Sanchez by Play Type This Season
The Eagles gained 162 rush yards before contact Thursday, averaged 4.05 yards before contact per rush. That's the most allowed by Dallas in a game since Week 10 of 2013 against the Saints (178), and the most gained by the Eagles since Week 16 of 2013 against the Bears (215).[+]
Eagles Designed Rushes by Play Type Thursday
16 points is Dallas' biggest halftime deficit since Week 1 (28-3 at halftime, lost 28-17 to 49ers).
The Eagles had 43 rush yards before contact on that drive. There were 3 games this season where the Eagles didn't gain 43 yards before contact in the entire game, and 2 games that the Cowboys didn't allow 43 yards before contact in the entire game. The TD was the 2nd zone-read rush by Sanchez this season... He gained 1 yard on 1 rush against the Texans in Week 9.
The Cowboys finished with 10 points Thursday, their fewest in a game since Week 2 of 2012 at Seattle (27-7 loss) and fewest in a home game since Week 16 of 2011 against the Eagles (20-7 loss). What happened? Tony Romo completed 5-of-10 passes under duress for 60 yards and 2 interceptions. Romo's 10 attempts under duress were his most in a game this season. Romo had not thrown an interception under duress since the season-opening loss to the 49ers. Romo completed 3-of-12 (25%) passes with 2 interceptions on attempts more than 10 yards downfield Thursday, his worst completion percentage on such passes this season. Six of his incompletions were off target, including both of his interceptions. Romo's six off-target throws downfield were his most since Week 12 of 2012 against the Redskins. DeMarco Murray was held to a season-low 73 rushing yards, his first game with fewer than 4.0 yards per rush this season. Murray rushed for 32 yards after contact, his fewest in a game this season. Murray had zero rushes of at least 10 yards Thursday. Murray had at least two in each game this season and a league-leading 38 entering the game, six more than any other player this season.
LeSean McCoy's only other lost fumble this year was Week 5 vs STL
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