Monday Night Football Preview: Eagles at Cowboys

Kickoff: 8:30 PM ET
Records: Eagles (1-0); Cowboys (1-0)
Spread: Cowboys –7

Donovan McNabb
Game Outlook:
The Cowboys face a different challenge this week than they did in the opener in Cleveland. The Browns had some success getting to QB Tony Romo, but Dallas took the lead and was able to pad it by keeping the ball on the ground. Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Johnson loves to blitz and will do plenty of it Monday night in effort to make Romo uncomfortable in the pocket. Philly has to be careful though, because Romo is usually at his best while rolling out of the pocket and allowing his receivers to break off their routes. And it’s always dangerous to leave Terrell Owens and Jason Witten in one-on-one coverage. Philly also has to contain Marion Barber and Felix Jones and not allow the Cowboys to establish any kind of rhythm offensively.

Donovan McNabb presents a different challenge to the Dallas defense than Browns’ QB Derek Anderson did last week. Anderson wasn’t good in the face of the Cowboys’ pressure, but McNabb has the ability to get the ball out of his hands quicker and use his legs to buy himself more time if he needs it. McNabb also has had great success spreading the ball around, so the fact that he doesn’t have any standout wide receivers isn’t a concern. The Cowboys’ linebackers will have to be on full alert, as Philly likes to sneak RB Brian Westbrook out of the backfield and into the flats. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the Eagles use explosive rookie DeSean Jackson more in the passing game, too.

Dallas has the better overall talent and home field advantage, but you can usually throw both of those things out the window when breaking down this intense division rivalry. The Eagles are going to be relentless in blitzing Romo, but the key will be whether or not their front seven can stop the run. If the defense can do its job, McNabb should be able to find success in the passing game. I’m expecting a shootout…and an upset. Eagles 33, Cowboys 30.

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