Rookies DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner combined for 284 rushing yards on Sunday, Tony Romo announced his wife was pregnant on Tuesday, and the Cowboys are going to go to Philadelphia and upset the Eagles this weekend. How’s that for a seven-day span full of pleasant surprises, Cowboys fans?
Though Dallas talk radio would have had you thinking the Cowboys were done and dusted after their loss to the Patriots two weeks ago, the ‘Boys are 3-3 and right in the thick of things in the NFC East. They’re unbeaten (1-0) in the division; the Redskins are riddled with injuries and coming off two straight losses; and the Giants haven’t exactly played a Herculean slate of opponents on their path to a 4-2 start. A win over the Eagles in Philly on Sunday night could very well bury the Cowboys' longtime rivals from the playoff picture, too. Dallas would be 4-3, a half-game behind the Giants, with wins over two of their three division rivals.
There’s a lot working in the Cowboys’ favor heading into this one. That young, inexperienced offensive line? It’s finding its sea legs, now six games into the season, and giving Tony Romo some time to breathe.
That non-existent running game that plagued the Cowboys in the first few weeks? It’s alive and well, with two unfamiliar faces leading the way. DeMarco Murray rushed for a franchise record 254 yards last weekend and even backup Phillip Tanner played a role in the fourth quarter, gobbling up 36 yards and a TD in garbage time.
The defense has been fantastic. There were tremendous fears about the defensive backfield heading into 2011, but in the last two weeks, the Patriots and Rams combined for just 27 points. Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme is an amped up version of Wade Phillips’ version, and every single player on the unit seems to be playing at a higher level this year.
As for the Eagles? I suppose a win over the ailing Redskins is something, but that Week 5 victory wasn't exactly a statement “We’re Back!” game. The Eagles pass defense struggles against running backs and tight ends in the middle of the field, partly because of one of the worst linebacker corps in the league.
Romo can and will hit Jason Witten all day long, while Miles Austin and Dez Bryant demand the attention of Philly’s much-hyped corners. And let’s not look at that Eagles win over the Redskins and think all is well on the defensive line. Like it has been all season, the Eagles’ run D was a sieve against the ‘Skins, giving up 140 yards and 5.3 yards per carry. I’m not putting DeMarco Murray’s bust in Canton after one big game, but watching the Philly D on tape, there’s no reason to think he won’t shatter the 100-yard mark once again.
Sure Philadelphia’s coming off a bye week and has had more time to prepare, and yes, Michael Vick’s had success against the Cowboys in the past. And of course, I’m aware that The Linc could be a “house of horrors” Halloween weekend for the young Cowboys.
But I’m going with the better team right now. I’m going with the expecting father and his two rookie running backs.I'm going with the Cowboys.
Trick or treat, Eagles fans. There’s always the NFL Draft to look forward to.