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Eagles-Cowboys: Key Matchups

Dallas week is here and it's time to look at some of the key matchups that will help decide this NFC East matchup ...

*LB Stewart Bradley vs. RB Felix Jones *
Felix Jones has been more of an integral part of the offense since Jason Garrett took over as head coach. He's rushed for just 229 yards in the last four games, but he's received at least 10 carries in each of those four games. Jones only had two games with double-digit carries prior. But last season, Jones played arguably the best back-to-back games of his career in Week 17 and the wild card round. He had 91 rushing yards, including a 49-yard touchdown run in the Week 17 clash. In the wild card game, he rushed for 148 yards with a 73-yard touchdown scamper.

CB Asante Samuel vs. WR Miles AustinThe Eagles should be getting the league's leader in interceptions back at just the right time. Asante Samuel has missed the last two games with a knee sprain, but despite missing three games total this year he leads the league with seven picks. Samuel will line up against the 6-2, 215-pound Austin, who is a very good route runner and has tremendous lower body strength. Austin was the breakout player in the league last season with 81 catches for 1,320 and 11 touchdowns. Austin scored two touchdowns in the three games against the Eagles last season.

C Mike McGlynn vs. NT Jay RatliffJay Ratliff doesn't fit the classic mold when it comes to a space-eating defensive tackle. In fact, he's 6-4 but only 303 pounds. But Ratliff is a dominant centerpiece to the Cowboys defensive line with his ability to wreak havoc and provide pressure up the middle. Ratliff was drafted as a pass rush defensive end, but was moved inside and has made consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Mike McGlynn must solidify the interior of the line and limit the pressure up the middle so that quarterback Michael Vick will be able to step up in the pocket. Plus, with Ratliff's height, he could pose a problem batting down passes at the line of scrimmage if he can get some pressure.

TE Brent Celek vs. LB Keith BrookingThese two got into a war of words at the end of last season. Keith Brooking called the Eagles' playcalling "predictable." Brent Celek disagreed and simply said that he couldn't wait to go against the Cowboys. Well, the battle is finally here. Over the last two weeks, Celek has found the end zone and provided one of the season's highlights in his effort to get the first down on a third-and-19 against Texans. Brooking, one of the leaders on the Cowboys defense, had 16 tackles in the Oct. 25 game against the Giants and is still a force in his 13th NFL season.

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-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:01 a.m., December 8

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