Nick Foles has played well down the stretch but he still has the Cowboys 17-3 victory over the Eagles this season hanging over his head. Sunday he will look to prove that game was simply an anomaly. In the first matchup this season, Foles had his worst game as a starter. He was 11-for-39 (37.9%) for 80 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions but he was knocked from the game at the end of the third quarter with a concussion.
Luckily for the Eagles Foles is coming off, perhaps, his best games as a starter in which he was 21-for-25 (84.0%) for 230 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in a monster 54-11 victory over the Chicago Bears last Sunday night. Foles' four incompletions were all smart throwaways when the play broke down.
What worked for the Eagles last week against Chicago was their rushing attack led by the NFC Offensive Player of the Week LeSean McCoy. McCoy, 25, said earlier in the week that he wanted to put the offense on his back Sunday against the Bears. He was coming off of an eight-carry, 38-yard rushing performance against the Vikings entering Sunday.
McCoy rushed 18 times for a league-high 133 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. Bryce Brown also added his first 100+ yard rushing game of the season. Last time out against Dallas, McCoy rushed 18 times for 55 yards. he needs just 37 yards to break the Eagles single-season rushing record set by Wilbert Montgomery in 1979.
The receivers should get an opportunity to make a major splash this Sunday against the Cowboys secondary. Pierre Garcon had 10 receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown in a quarter and a half of play last Sunday against Dallas. Despite how bad the Eagles played the last time they went up against the Cowboys, Riley Cooper still had six catches for 88 yards but DeSean Jackson only registered three catches for 21 yards.
The Cowboys defense is going to be without stud middle linebacker Sean Lee Sunday against the Eagles thanks to a neck injury. The defense has been porous down the stretch and ranks 31st in the league against the pass, 27th against the run, and gives up the most overall yards in the entire league.
He will be replaced by backup Kyle Orton. Orton, 31, has appeared in two games this season going 3-for-5 for 40 yards and no touchdowns. In two career games against the Eagles, Orton is 1-1 going 45-for-75 (60.0%) for 388 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions.
With Orton starting under center, the Cowboys offense is expected to feature a heavy dose of running back DeMarco Murray, who did not play in the two teams' first matchup this season. Murray has rushed for 1,073 yards on 200 carries this season including 96 yards last week, 134 against Green Bay the week prior, and 146 against the Chicago Bears the week before that.
In the passing game, wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten will likely be Orton's favorite targets. Bryant leads the team with 85 receptions for 1,134 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He has a touchdown catch in four consecutive games but has been dealing with back issue that held him out of practice on Thursday. In October against the eagles, he caught eight passes for 110 yards. Witten only caught four passes for 48 yard against the Eagles this year.
The Eagles defense has allowed just one opponent to score more than 21 points in their last 11 games. They are 30th in the league against the pass but have improved tremendously against the run ranking 12th in the league allowing an average of 107.5 yards per game.
Jackson, 27, had a relatively quiet game Sunday night against the Bears with four receptions for 29 yards. The Eagles only went to the air 25 times on Sunday due to the effectiveness of the ground attack. However he put up a season-high 195 yards against the Vikings two weeks ago so Jackson is likely in store for a big game against the Cowboys secondary. In nine career games against Dallas, Jackson has 32 receptions for 635 yards and a very memorable 91-yard touchdown.
Carr, 27, is having a decent season for the Cowboys tied for the team lead in passes defended with 13. He is second in interceptions with three but one of his three picks he returned for a touchdown. Unfortunately last week against the Redskins, Pierre Garcon was getting the best of Carr early with 10 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown through the first quarter and a half. The Cowboys were only able to slow down Garcon when they switched Carr off him.