Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys: NFL Week 17 Pre-Game Analysis

The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Arizona Cardinals — and quite possibly their starting quarterback Jon Kitna to a hip injury for the final game of the season.  And with Tony Romo placed on injured reserve, it will be left to Stephen McGee from Texas A & M to head up the game against the explosive Philadelphia Eagles.  However, the Philadelphia Eagles played yesterday against the Minnesota Vikings with a disappointing 24-14 loss. Now the Philadelphia Eagles will be working under a very short week to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys and will be quite possibly without Michael Vick until the playoffs begin.

Quarterbacks

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna has 16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 2,365 yards passing and a quarterback rating of 88.9.  However, Kitna suffered an oblique muscle injury, and he will not be able to play against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday.  Given the injury, third option Stephen McGee is most likely to start.  McGee was effective against the Cardinals with 1 touchdown on 111 yards and a solid 102.8 rating.  Presently, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 3,018 yards passing  and a quarterback rating of 100.3.  Vick has been descending to mortality, since his great game against the Washington Redskins.  Unfortunately, he suffered a thigh injury in his game against the Minnesota Vikings, and it could be possible that he may not start this Sunday.  However, this is McGee’s first start, and the Eagles will get the edge in this one, albeit not a large one.

Running Backs

The starting tandem for the Dallas Cowboys of Felix Jones and Marion Barber have 1,090 yards between them, averaging 3.75 yards per carry and have 5 touchdowns total between them.  Meanwhile, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has 1,080 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 7 touchdowns currently.  With Michael Vick rushing as well, he has 676 yards, averaging  7.1 yards per carry and 9 touchdowns currently.  The Eagles get the large edge for this game, contending with both McCoy and Vick.

Wide Receivers

With the Dallas Cowboys, consistency at the wide receiver position has been a problem.  Roy Williams and Dez Bryant have exploded previously and has either suffered injury or played badly in the recent weeks.  The only consistency being Miles Austin who has 979 yards, averaging 14.6 yards per reception and 7 touchdowns to date.  Meanwhile, with the Eagles, the tandem of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin has combined 2,020 passing yards, averaging 18.2 yards per reception and 16 touchdowns total.  The Eagles again get a large edge, and with the fact that McGee is starting, only compounds their edge.

Tight Ends

Despite the Eagles tight end Brent Celek remaining professional with Michael Vick, his production has declined tremendously.  Currently, Celek has 511 yards, averaging 12.2 yards per reception and 4 touchdowns to date. Celek has been getting involved in the offense more as of late.  Meanwhile, the dangerous Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has 956 yards, averaging 10.6 yards per reception and 8 touchdowns to date.  The Cowboys get the large edge in this one.

Defenses

The Philadelphia Eagles defense is ranked 16th against the pass and 13th against the run.  Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys defense is ranked 27th against the pass and 14th against the run.  This has the possibility of being a push in that the Eagles rely on their offense to win games, not their defense.  If Stephen McGee can somehow keep the game close, it could lean into the Cowboys favor.  Statistically, the Eagles should get the edge, but don’t count out the Cowboys defense.  Remember they nearly perfected the formula to stopping Vick and this explosive Eagles offense.

Coaches/Intangibles

The Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has been heavily relying on Michael Vick to literally carry this offense, and it is still a pass-first offense.  With Vick at the helm, the Eagles team has become one-dimensional generally. Interim head coach Jason Garrett has been relying on a more balanced offense.  However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has announced Ray Sherman, former wide receiving coach and offensive coordinator, as a potential head coaching candidate for next season.  This may further induce Garrett to play all the weapons he possibly can in this season finale, as his coaching audition is not over.  This is a push, with a slight edge going to the Cowboys.  Garrett will intend on going out a with a “big bang” for his Cowboys team, and the Eagles are operating on shortened week goes in his favor.  Lastly, Andy Reid may choose to rest some of his starters in this final regular season game, particularly Michael Vick with his thigh injury.

The Edge

The Eagles will get the edge with 27-24  win over the Cowboys, if they play their starters. If the Eagles choose not to play their starters, it will be a Dallas Cowboys win of 28-17.  Michael Vick still remains an injury risk with this defense, should he start.  They understand how Vick works and will intend on stopping him again.

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