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Buehler A Difference-Maker For Dallas

The right leg of David Buehler stands between the Eagles and good field position in the Wild Card playoff.

Dallas' rookie kickoff specialist finished the season with a club-record 29 touchbacks, a mark which also led the entire NFL. He forced the Eagles into four touchbacks on five kickoffs last week and will have the home-field advantage on his side again this weekend.

"To kick as many touchbacks as he's kicked this seasion is pretty impressive," Eagles' special teamer Dimitri Patterson said. "Going into the game I didn't know his leg was that strong. Maybe I didn't watch him enough."

And with the roof expected to be closed on Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night, Patterson expects more of the same from Buehler.

"Obviously, he has a strong leg," Patterson said. "You just have to take advantage of the times where he doesn't get it in the end zone."

Last week that happened just once and Philadelphia started that drive at its 19.

Philadelphia's kickoff return unit averaged a 26.2 starting field position during the regular season. Dallas' kicking team ranked second in the league, with opponents' average starting field position at 22.8.

"He did a great job of being able to drive the ball deep," Eagles' special teams coordinator Ted Daisher said. "To do that at this time of the year is a big plus for them. I think that takes some of the pressure off their kickoff team."

Certainly, Buehler gives the Cowboys the edge they were looking for when the team tabbed him with its third selection in the fifth round (172nd overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

"That's tough when you're trying to get some momentum going with your kickoff return unit and he's booming it into the end zone giving his defense great field position," Patterson said.

The Eagles, meanwhile, remain mum on who will be handling kickoff return duties. Quintin Demps is listed as probable for the game despite a nagging ankle injury. Other candidates include rookies Macho Harris and Jeremy Maclin.

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 1:11 p.m., January 8

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