What They’re Saying: Eagles-Cowboys

Eagles Coach Chip Kelly signals play on field

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com notes what Nick Foles has at stake Sunday:

Michael Vick was a 53 percent passer this year before popping a hammy and giving way to Nick Foles, who doesn’t have the wheels but does have the accuracy—67 percent in his game and a half in relief of Vick, with five touchdowns, no turnovers and only two sacks. A good start against Dallas, and Foles won’t have to look over his shoulder at Vick. He’ll likely win the job.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com predicts a 37-31 Eagles win:

This is for first place in the division, but the Cowboys come limping in. They are hurting and won’t have their best pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware against an Eagles offense that is third in the league in total offense. That will put a lot of pressure on the Dallas back end. I just don’t see them slowing down the Eagles offense without him. But Tony Romo will get his, too.

Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com isn’t ready to anoint Foles just yet:

Let’s wait and see how Nick Foles does this Sunday before declaring him the man for the job. Foles was impressive off the bench in Week 5, but that was against an iffy Giants defense that spent the week preparing for the totally different style of Michael Vick. Foles was even more impressive in Week 6, but that was against a zone-based Bucs defense. The Cowboys’ scheme is zone-based … on the inside. Outside (where a lot of Chip Kelly’s route combinations emanate), Monte Kiffin has used press-man concepts with talented corners Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and, in the base 4-3, Orlando Scandrick. Philly’s wide receivers, particularly Riley Cooper, cannot consistently get off press coverage. Which means Foles will not have the benefit this week of seeing consistently synchronized routes when dropping back.

Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com predicts a 34-24 Eagles win:

Though it was all about Chip Kelly’s offense this summer, it’s the Cowboys who actually have the most points in the NFC through six weeks this season. Foles, Vick, it doesn’t matter. Without DeMarcus Ware in the lineup, I’m going with Philly.

ESPN.com’s John Clayton offers his take:

Elias noted that the last time an NFC East Division leader was only one game above .500 in sole possession of first place was 2001. That year the Eagles started 4-3 and finished 11-5 as the division winners. This is not to say the Eagles will win the division, but they have a decent chance of winning Sunday even with Nick Foles at quarterback. Chip Kelly’s offense is putting up 449.8 yards a game. The Eagles are the first team since the merger to put up 1,600 passing yards and 1,050 rushing yards in the first six weeks of the season. The Cowboys probably will face Philadelphia without DeMarcus Ware, who has a groin injury. Dallas owner Jerry Jones invested heavily in the defensive line, but injuries have forced a lot of journeymen to fill out the four spots. For Kelly, this is an important game because the Eagles have a chance to end an eight-game losing streak at home.

Eliot Harrison of NFL.com goes with the Eagles, 29-24:

One might think this game will come down to Tony Romo, as Dallas contests often do, yet the running back position is the 300-pound Jay Ratliff in the room. Boy, the Cowboys could use help on the defensive line. Ratliff is gone, DeMarcus Ware is out and Jason Hatcher is banged up. We’ve seen Dallas going with a D-line that often is composed entirely of backups, which means LeSean McCoy could rush 25 times for 150 yards or 25 times for 1,500 yards. The other running backs in this game figure to be Cowboys rookie Joseph Randle and the physical Phillip Tanner. There’s no doubt Romo can exploit the Eagles’ secondary; the question is, how will Randle and Tanner fare in pass protection — or at catching the ball? Oh, how this Dallas team will miss DeMarco Murray.

Doug Farrar of SI.com previews Eagles-Cowboys:

So, it’s fair enough to expect a barnburner at Lincoln Financial Field. As such, the game may swing on which quarterback is able to drop the final hammer in a furious scoring contest. Tony Romo is coming off a wild two-game swing in which he set a franchise record with 506 yards and five touchdowns against the Denver Broncos one week before managing just 170 yards and one score the next against Washington’s generally porous defense. With Michael Vick’s hamstring still an issue, Dallas’ defense will see Nick Foles, who had perhaps the best game of his young career last Sunday against Tampa Bay — 22-of-31 passes for 296 yards, three touchdowns, no picks and a rushing touchdown against a Buccaneers defense that has been surprisingly good at times.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk goes with the Eagles, 31-21:

Whether Nick Foles or Mike Vick or Matt Barkley, Chip Kelly’s offense is poised to run rings around a more-porous-than-expected Dallas defense.  And Philly’s defense quietly has improved to the point where it can keep the Cowboys in check, especially with DeMarco Murray missing this one.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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