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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 9, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
CHI at CLE SEA at STL* CAR at ARI On Bye:  
NE at ATL TEN at HOU* WAS at DEN MIN, NYG Updated*

Prediction: Philadelphia 24, Dallas 23

These two teams are quite familiar with each other and also familiar with how this usually ends - Philly wins. The Eagles had taken nine of the last ten of these match-ups and bring the #1 passing offense into meet a secondary that has been burned in almost every game. Dallas is 2-2 and need this win but the Eagles are 3-1 and ready to assert their dominance on the division... and the conference.

The Eagles swept the Cowboys in 2004, winning games 49-21 and later 12-7 in Dallas.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
1 10-14 @ATL 10 Nov 14 DAL
2 42-3 SFO 11 Nov 20 @NYG
3 23-20 OAK 12 Nov 27 GBP
4 37-31 @KCC 13 Dec 5 SEA
5 Oct 9 @DAL 14 Dec 11 NYG
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 18 @STL
7 Oct 23 SDC 16 Dec 24 @ARI
8 Oct 30 @DEN 17 Jan 1 WAS
9 Nov 6 @WAS . MON SAT
PHI at DAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 0 0 280,3
RB Brian Westbrook 40 60,1 0
RB Lamar Gordon 10 10 0
TE L.J. Smith 0 40 0
WR Terrell Owens 0 120,2 0
WR Greg Lewis 0 30 0
WR Reggie Brown 0 10 0
PK Todd France 1 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Eagles had a very slow start in Kansas City last week and it appeared that the litany of injuries to McNabb was a culprit. And then the second quarter started and the Eagles reeled off 37 points and held off a Chiefs comeback for the third win of the season. The Eagles head into their bye after this game and with this as the first divisional game of the year, they'll be motivated to play well from the first kick-off this week.

Quarterback: Since originally getting banged up in week one, Donovan McNabb has turned in three straight games of over 340 passing yards and scored ten times in just the last three games. We should all perform so well when we are under the weather.

McNabb threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns last year in Dallas. He later was held to only 223 yards and one score at home.

Running Backs: Brian Westbrook finally had a quiet game last week, rushing for only 15 yards on nine carries and adding just 33 yards on six catches. It was the first time this season that he did not have at least one touchdown. The Chiefs put up a good rushing defense and the Eagles naturally just killed them via the pass.

Brian Westbrook had 118 total yards and one score in the game in Dallas last year, and later had 126 total yards while at home.

Wide Receivers: Though he started slowly, by the time the game ended last Sunday, Terrell Owens had been thrown 20 passes of which he had 11 catches for 171 yards and one score. Greg Lewis added 50 yards on three catches but either Owens has a big game or nothing happens with this crew. So far - Owens always has a big game. After four games, he leads the league with 59 passes thrown to him, 32 catches, 506 yards and he is tied with three players that have four touchdowns.

Owens turned in a gaudy 134 yards and three scores while a visitor in Dallas last year and later had only 24 yards and no scores late in the year when he was injured.

Tight Ends: L.J. Smith recorded his second touchdown of the year when he had nine catches for 67 yards against the Chiefs. That makes three straight weeks with over 50 yards receiving and never less than five catches.

The tight ends did not figure in much last year against the Cowboys. They only combined for 12 yards in Dallas while Owens had a huge game but later Chad Lewis score once in the meeting in Philadelphia.

Match Against the Defense: The Cowboys rush defense had been good until last week in Oakland but the Eagles never run much against them anyway. Expect a standard game from Westbrook here that will likely see more receiving yards than rushing yards.

McNabb faces a secondary that has given up some big games and already there have been four wideouts that have topped 100 yards against them this year. Three of the four wideouts that scored against Dallas had two scores so it's not like Dallas has been adept at stopping the "one guy". Every single opponent has had one player over 100 yards and none of them have been Terrell Owens. Look for a big game from Owens with a dash of Smith just to worry the defense.

Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
1 28-24 @SDC 10 Nov 14 @PHI
2 13-14 WAS 11 Nov 20 DET
3 34-31 @SFO 12 Nov 24 DEN
4 13-19 @OAK 13 Dec 4 @NYG
5 Oct 9 PHI 14 Dec 11 KCC
6 Oct 16 NYG 15 Dec 18 @WAS
7 Oct 23 @SEA 16 Dec 24 @CAR
8 Oct 30 ARI 17 Jan 1 STL
9 Open Bye M THU SAT
DAL vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Drew Bledsoe 0 0 260,2
RB Julius Jones 80 10 0
RB Anthony Thomas 0 0 0
TE Jason Witten 0 50 0
WR Keyshawn Johnson 0 50 0
WR Terry Glenn 0 80,1 0
WR Patrick Crayton 0 60,1 0
PK Jose Cortez 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: For the want of a couple of plays, the Cowboys could be 4-0 now but then again, they could also be 0-4. Every game has been decided by six points or less and the big Achilles heel has been pass coverage despite putting much attention on the corners last spring. The Cowboys have to face the Giants the next week so this two game stretch will likely define what direction the Cowboys will go this year.

Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe has thrown a score in every game but only managed 212 yards and one touchdown against the Raiders last week. That could have been two scores and a win had he looked to his left and seen Jason Witten alone in the endzone at the end of the game. Bledsoe has been a positive addition to the team this year but he's not going to win it by himself. Especially since he can never face his own secondary.

Testaverde started both games against the Eagles last year, gaining 254 yards and two scores at home and later only managing 176 yards and one score in Philadelphia.

Running Backs: Julius Jones is still hunting for his first 100 yard game of the year and ended up with 76 yards on 22 carries last week. The bigger surprise was calling Tyson Thompson into the game and letting him take a series that netted 32 yards on seven carries. Even Marion Barber finally had some playing time though he gained nothing in two carries.

The missing component to this offense has been passing to the running backs. There has never been more than four completions to backs in a game this year and last week only had two for 20 yards split between Thompson and Jones.

Julius Jones did not play in the home game against the Eagles last year but gained 80 rushing yards and 21 receiving yards in Philadelphia later in the year.

Wide Receivers: Keyshawn Johnson only had one catch for 16 yards last week though he also had a touchdown called back on a penalty. He still leads the team with three receiving scores. Terry Glenn only managed to catch two passes in the game but as always, they were deep balls and he ended with 64 yards. The only wideout to score last week was Patrick Crayton who had one only catch but took it 63 yards for a score. It was his first action of note since week one.

Terry Glenn never played against Philadelphia last year but Keyshawn Johnson had games of 53 and 61 yards with one score as a visitor.

Tight Ends: Jason Witten had five catches for 49 yards last week and that makes two straight weeks of decent production after a slow start to the season. One of Witten's best games of last year came at home against the Eagles when he had 133 yards and two scores. He later was held to only 66 yards in Philadelphia.

Match Against the Defense: The Eagles rushing defense has been fairly good this year, they allowed a big game to Dunn in week one but otherwise have done a nice job stopping runners including holding Holmes to 84 yards despite giving him lots of running room early last week. Look for yet another solid game from Julius Jones that should once again come in just under 100 yards.

Bledsoe could score against this secondary and he'll likely need to do that early and as often as he can. Glenn's match-up against CB Lito Sheppard should be the most productive spot to throw and Sheldon Brown's two interceptions last week likely will have Bledsoe look away from Keyshawn Johnson this week. Patrick Crayton should have another decent game here since there has only been three passing scores by receivers this year against the Eagles and two of them went to the slot man.