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Week 15 Preview: A Dallas Two-Step?

Posted Jul 13, 2014

Curiously, Week 15 will serve as the regular season finale at Lincoln Financial Field when the Cowboys come to town for the second meeting between these two teams in only three weeks. Of course, there is likely to be much on the line as the Eagles begin a season-ending three-game stretch against division rivals.

The Cowboys have won two straight games at Lincoln Financial Field and four of their last five games in Philadelphia. The Eagles' only victory at home over the Cowboys in the last five seasons came in 2011, when they defeated Dallas 34-7. Prior to that, the Eagles' last win over Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field was the 44-6 thrashing in the 2008 season finale, which propelled the Eagles into the playoffs. Perhaps 2014 will bring more of the same.

The first time the Eagles and Cowboys met in 2013 was a knock-down, drag-out affair in which the Cowboys' defense thwarted the Eagles' high-flying offensive attack. A hard hit at the end of the third quarter resulted in a concussion for a struggling Nick Foles, who had the worst game of his pro career, and forced Matt Barkley into his first-ever NFL action. The rookie performed admirably in a pinch and was able to move the offense down the field, but he ended up throwing three interceptions as the Eagles fell, 17-3.

The second time the Eagles and Cowboys met produced a much more memorable game, which served as the de facto NFC East championship game. Tony Romo was unable to play because of a back injury, but backup Kyle Orton stepped in and nearly piloted the Cowboys to an improbable victory. The game was close throughout, but the Eagles were able to squeak out the 24-22 win on the heels of Cary Williams' pass breakup on a late two-point conversion attempt and Brandon Boykin's interception of Orton on the final drive.

A Cowboys defense that was one of the league's worst in 2013 lost future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware as a salary cap casualty and Jason Hatcher to free agency. The team hopes former Chicago Bear Henry Melton (coming off an ACL injury), Terrell McClain, Jeremy Mincey and second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence can help fill the void along the defensive line. However, linebacker Sean Lee, who was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after the Dallas win in 2013, is lost for the season after tearing his ACL in Organized Team Activities. The Cowboys recently traded for twice-retired former first-round pick Rolando McClain to help out.

Romo is expected to be fully recovered from back surgery and ready for Training Camp, and the offense, which was one of the NFL's most efficient in 2013, will come back with essentially the same cast with one key addition in first-round pick Zack Martin, who is expected to start immediately at right guard.

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