8:30 PM ET, December 14, 2014
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Game Balls: Dallas At Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in a tumultuous stretch, complete with crucial wins, convincing defeats and a backup under center.
Entering a pivotal game with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, that turmoil could either grow significantly louder or fall silent.
Philadelphia (9-4) won 33-10 in Dallas on Thanksgiving, setting itself up to claim the tiebreaker over the Cowboys (9-4) and move within one victory of its second consecutive NFC East title.
"I think they're going to do what they do, and we're going to do what we do," coach Chip Kelly said. "Hopefully we can be as successful again, but I know they're going to give us their best shot. I think that will be a really interesting matchup, their O-line versus our D-line."
That pressure allowed Mark Sanchez to win the quarterback duel with Romo. Sanchez, in his fourth start since Nick Foles went down with a collarbone injury Nov. 2, was 20 of 29 for 217 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Sanchez, however, failed to carry the momentum from that victory as Philadelphia fell 24-14 to visiting Seattle last Sunday. The offense sputtered to 139 total yards -- the team's lowest mark since Oct. 9, 2005 -- with the blame falling on both sides of the ball.
Sanchez notched his lowest passer rating of the season (76.8), while the defense allowed the Seahawks to hold the ball for a franchise-record 41 minutes, 56 seconds.
"We've usually done a better job cleaning the pocket. But I think he missed a couple of throws, too, and he'll be the first to tell you that," Kelly said. "In everything, I think when you play a game like this, it doesn't fall on anybody's one shoulder. It falls on everybody and collectively we have to own it."
The offensive struggles for Philadelphia are unlikely to continue against the Cowboys, who rank 25th in the NFL with 251.9 passing yards allowed per game and -- despite a serviceable run defense (113.1 ypg) -- surrendered 256 yards on the ground to the Eagles in Week 13.
Instead, Philadelphia can expect an improved Dallas offense, which produced one of its two sub-300-yard performances in the past 19 games in the last meeting.
"We are a running team that makes it difficult because we can throw it at a high rate, and we can be aggressive with it," Romo told the Cowboys' official website. "We have a very good nucleus, and these guys have to put their egos at the door for us to really be successful. And, they all have.
"It's a really special thing because it's not always that way."
Murray, who has 1,606 rushing yards, enters off a season-best 179 in a 41-28 win at Chicago last Thursday. Still, he has never topped 100 yards in four career matchups with Philadelphia.
Dallas believe that the fresh memories of the Thanksgiving loss should play a role in improving this time around.
"The tendencies and things that you learn from all those previous games are already there, so you're just building on top of that," center Travis Frederick said. "It might even give you an advantage, because they can't have changed that much in two weeks. There are going to be adjustments, but the team is the team at this point."
The Cowboys have clinched their first nine-win season since going 11-5 in 2009, the last time they won the NFC East.
Lincoln Financial Field has served as a welcoming host for the Cowboys. They've won two straight and four of five there, and this season own a 6-0 record on the road.
"That game on Thanksgiving means nothing to this game right now," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "Every team that has beat us so far this year, we'd love to have another shot at, because we believe if we play better we can beat anybody.
"And they believe the same thing coming into this game."
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|Avg Points Allowed||1.9||2.7|
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 16-13|
|Nov 27, 2014||DAL 10, PHI 33|
|Dec 29, 2013||DAL 22, PHI 24|
|Oct 20, 2013||DAL 17, @PHI 3|
|Dec 2, 2012||DAL 38, PHI 33|
|Nov 11, 2012||DAL 38, @PHI 23|
|Dec 24, 2011||DAL 7, PHI 20|
|Oct 30, 2011||DAL 7, @PHI 34|
|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|
The Eagles' running game was the key to their big 33-10 win over the Cowboys in Week 13. LeSean McCoy went for 159 yards on the ground in that game as Philadelphia enjoyed season-highs in every major rushing category, including rushing yards before contact, where the Eagles racked up 173 before even being touched, which is actually the 5th-highest total for any team this season.[+]
Eagles Rushing Offense - Week 13 vs Cowboys
The Cowboys have been the best road team all season. They're the only unbeaten team on the road this season with a perfect 6-0 record. In fact, every other team has lost at least 2 games away from home. And it helps that Tony Romo has posted a road QBR of 88.2, which is by far the best in the NFL this season.[+]
Cowboys Well Traveled - On Road This Season
Cowboys have scored 38 points against the Eagles, tied for 4th most Dallas has scored in the rivalry since the merger. The Cowboys are 17-0 when they score more than 30 points against the Eagles in that time.
Chris Polk has 2 rush TD. Coming into the game, he had 1 TD this season.
Tony Romo was 6-of-8 with 2 TD on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield Sunday, including 4-of-4 targeting Dez Bryant. When Romo faced the Eagles in Week 13, Romo threw 2 interceptions and had his lowest completion percentage of the season on deep passes. - Mark Sanchez was 4-of-12 with 2 interceptions on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield Sunday.[+]
Tony Romo Passing More than 10 Yards Downfield - This Season vs Eagles
DeMarco Murray has 5 rush TD from the 1-yard line this season, tied for the most in the NFL.
From Elias: Tony Romo is the first player in NFL history with 4 straight road games of 3 Pass TD and 0 Int.
DeMarco Murray has his first multi-TD game since Week 4 vs. the Saints
ESPN Stats & Information