Let's go ahead and say this ahead of time. This is a big game. There is always a debate after the fact whether Tony Romo has played well in big games. Although this is just the 7th game of the season it feels like this game could be a turning point for the Dallas Cowboys. Win and the Cowboys could be at the start of a big winning streak. Lose and we could be looking at a team that will be up and down all season long.
It is hard to know exactly what to expect heading into the game. The Cowboys have been very good on defense this season. But they have been inconsistent on offense. The Eagles have been bad defensively and inconsistent offensively. But Andy Reid is 12-0 with his team coming off of a bye.
I don't think I am going out on a limb thinking this is going to be another close game. The recent history of the Cowboys tells us that we should expect to see a close finish. The Cowboys have been horribly inconsistent in close games this season. The Eagles have been terrible in close games. But it is hard to believe that the Eagles aren't going to get their season going in the right direction at some point.
I think the Cowboys are going to win this game. And I'm not just going on a gut feeling. The Cowboys are good at everything that has given the Eagles trouble this season. The Cowboys do a great job confusing the opposing quarterbacks with the multiple defensive looks. Michael Vick struggles to decipher the opposing defensive scheme. That is a big advantage for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have turned a corner with their running game. In both games that the Cowboys played with Tony Fiammetta at fullback they have been very good running the ball. He is playing this week. The Eagles have had a very difficult time stopping the run. With DeMarco Murray providing a more physical running style I think the Cowboys will be able to control the time of possession and get first downs consistently.
The Eagles have the number one running offense in the NFL. The Cowboys have the #1 running defense in the NFL. Something has to give here. Remember that the primary reason that the Eagles are rated so high with their running game is due to their quarterback. I think we are going to see Michael Vick get knocked out of this game with another concussion. He has been hit so much this year that there is real concern that Vick isn't going to finish the season. I don't think he'll be out for the season after this game but I'll be surprised if he finishes the game.
The Eagles' kicker has been wildly inconsistent kicking field goals. The Cowboys kicker has made 16 consecutive field goals. Again, advantage Cowboys.
Even if this game somehow turns into a shootout I think the Cowboys have plenty of offensive fire power to keep up with the potentially explosive Eagles offense. But do the Eagles have the type of team that can win a physical, hard-hitting battle? I don't think so. The Cowboys can win the game in many more ways than the Eagles can.
I'm picking the Cowboys to win in a close game. The difference will be the defense of the Cowboys and the reliability of Dan Bailey. In a close game you have to be able to come away with points every time you get an opportunity. Dallas will get their points. The Eagles will not get points from their kicker every time. And the biggest moment in the game will come when Vick gets knocked out of the game. I'm picking the Cowboys to win 27-21. I might be fooling myself but it feels like the Cowboys are at the beginning of a big winning streak.