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Embracing The Meaning Of Today

Posted Dec 29, 2013

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The time ticks past slowly, and the rest of the NFL plays its games as an appetizer leading into the main course: Eagles at Cowboys, with the NFC East on the line ...

We've all been thinking about this game since the Eagles controlled Chicago last Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, and the level of obsession is overwhelming now. There is a huge contingent of Eagles fans here for the game, and the energy that the fans had greeting the team upon its arrival at the team hotel on Sunday was off the charts.

When it comes down to the game, though, it's all about football. It's about all the things that we see on a weekly basis. So, let's talk football ...

  • There is some thinking out there that the Cowboys offense could be better with Kyle Orton at quarterback than it was with Tony Romo. That could certainly happen tonight, and Orton could have the game of a lifetime in his first start since 2011. The Eagles are prepared for his best performance. At the same time, think about this: Orton has practiced for only a very short time with star receiver Dez Bryant, who missed two days of practice and was limited on the third day this week. Timing is very important in the passing game. How in the world could those two be on the same page?

  • It still seems likely that Dallas wants to run the football a lot with DeMarco Murray and have Orton throw to tight end Jason Witten to move the chains. Is that enough to offset the Eagles offense?

  • Maybe it's just me, but I think the Eagles are steamed that they lost on October 20 to Dallas. The taste from that loss is still very much present in this locker room. Had the Eagles beaten Dallas heading into this game, it would be different.

  • What is the plan on offense? I don't think the Eagles have to do anything out of the ordinary. They've been pretty darn successful conducting business their way all year, and that's going to continue. Spread 'em out and find the favorable matchups and look for big plays. Not a bad formula for success.

  • This game comes down to the line of scrimmage, as it usually does. The Eagles have the advantage here. A solid performance will give quarterback Nick Foles a chance to set up and throw and the offensive line has it going in the running game. Dallas is good up front on offense, so the Eagles' defensive front has its work ahead. Let's see what kind of energy the defense has. If it is like the performance against Chicago, forget about it. The defense was awesome that night.

  • Dallas has an explosive return man in Dwayne Harris, so the coverage units have a challenge here. Harris returns from his hamstring injury and is looking for some big returns. The Eagles want to give Dallas long fields on offense.

  • "Deception and creativity. That's what a Chip Kelly offense is all about." Ron Jaworski is on his "A" game on ESPN this morning. Jaworski also said that the Eagles' offensive line is the best in the NFL right now. We kind of expected that, right?

  • DeMarcus Ware is expected to play, but he's also bothered by a back injury and an elbow injury. He is not 100 percent and has not been close to his peak this season. Where do the Cowboys generate their pass rush? I expect Dallas to dial up some blitzes here and take some chances to try to get Foles off of his game tonight. Foles, by the way, is the best in the NFL statistically against the blitz.

  • How do you describe the Eagles' offense when you are asked? I describe it this way: "It's a spread offense that stretches defenses vertically and horizontally. The tempo is fast and the ball is moved around to every weapon in the offense. It's based on finding favorable matchups and taking advantage. The Eagles are just as dangerous running the football as they are throwing it." I'm not sure that is in-depth enough, but that's the idea from what I see and know.

  • We're all watching Foles in this setting, of course. It's a huge moment in his career. How does he respond? He has certainly seemed loose and confident all week. Foles is excited to be here, and he talks about having "fun" on the field. "We're having fun. We want to keep playing because we're enjoying this," he said. Just have fun, kid. Foles is playing great football.

  • And this as a close (I'm writing later today as I watch as much football as possible): There aren't many Cowboys jerseys on the streets here. Have seen only a couple of Cowboys hats. If the Eagles can start fast, they can really take a crowd that is already sour on the Cowboys completely out of the game at AT&T Stadium tonight.

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