Eagles-Cowboys Preview

With sole possession of first place in the NFC East on the line, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys haven’t had much time to prepare for a Thanksgiving showdown.

In the first of two meetings across 18 days, the Eagles look to remain unbeaten in the division and improve to 6-0 on the holiday when they try to deny the Cowboys a third consecutive victory.

"It’s going to be a great game," Philadelphia defensive end Fletcher Cox said of the matchup between 8-3 teams. "I’m really excited, man. I’m looking forward to it. We’re ready to roll. We’re ready for Thursday."

Although the rivals enter the contest in a first-place tie, the Eagles have a slight advantage with a 2-0 mark in the East, while Dallas is 2-1 with the loss coming 20-17 at home against Washington on Oct. 27.

Philadelphia recovered from a blowout loss at Green Bay in Sunday’s 43-24 home win over Tennessee. Mark Sanchez had a team record-tying third straight 300-yard passing day, while LeSean McCoy ran for 130 yards and a touchdown.

"We had to stay focused on Tennessee all week," linebacker Trent Cole said. "That was the next game. And we were coming off a bad game. So there was no reason to think about Dallas. But now we can. Now, it’s all about Dallas. If you can’t get excited for this game, you shouldn’t be playing football."

The Eagles have dropped three of their last four on the road, but they’ve won three of four at Dallas following a 24-22 victory last season that clinched the NFC East title in Week 17. Tony Romo did not play in that contest two days after undergoing back surgery, and Brandon Boykin picked off a Kyle Orton pass with 1:49 remaining to seal the win.

Romo now appears to be playing at his best, throwing for seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games. He completed 18 of 26 passes for 275 yards and four scores – including the winner to Dez Bryant with 1:01 left – in a 31-28 comeback road win over the New York Giants on Sunday night.

"Everybody knows that we won, but when we land in Dallas, that game no longer matters," said Bryant, who had seven catches for 86 yards with 2 TDs.

After losing their last two at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys have answered with back-to-back road wins – though they didn’t exactly face a hostile crowd while beating Jacksonville in London on Nov. 9. They haven’t dropped three straight at home since losing four straight to open the 2010 season.

Jason Witten, who has a touchdown grab in his last two games, has a combined 18 catches for 243 yards in his last two at home versus Philadelphia. He also has more catches than anyone on Thanksgiving as he gets ready for his 12th game on the holiday with the Cowboys, who are 29-16-1 all-time in those contests.

"I think the excitement and adrenaline can override how tired you are," Witten said about playing 90 hours after Sunday’s game ended. "It’s a great opportunity for us. You can’t worry about anything else. Just get through it and move forward."

League rushing leader DeMarco Murray posted his tenth 100-yard game with 121 on 24 carries against the Giants, while Bryant is tied for the most touchdown receptions since Week 8 with six.

The Eagles have been vulnerable through the air, ranking 30th with 266.3 yards allowed per game. They limited Tennessee to 52 rushing yards Sunday after allowing an average of 110.0 over their previous three games.

"We want to win our division," Philadelphia cornerback Cary Williams said. "They are a great opponent. They have a great team and are playing at a high level right now."

Romo has thrown for at least 300 yards with eight touchdowns and two picks while winning each of the last three home meetings he’s finished. He was knocked out with a right hand injury in the opening series of a loss to the Eagles in 2011.

Dallas will have to account for linebacker Connor Barwin, who is tied for second in the NFL with a career-high 12 1/2 sacks after recording 2 1/2 of the team’s five against the Titans.

The Cowboys have allowed 160 rushing yards in the last two, but they’ve had their own issues against the pass, allowing an average of 278.3 yards over their last four games.

Sanchez has thrown for an average of 328.3 yards with five touchdowns since taking over for injured starter Nick Foles, but he’s also thrown four picks in his last two games. Dallas has pulled down an interception in each of its past four.

Jordan Matthews has been Sanchez’s top target with 18 catches for 322 yards and three scores in his last three games.

"We’ve got a pretty good understanding of what (the Cowboys) are right now," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "They play extremely hard on the defensive side; and then, obviously, offensively they are running the ball at a very, very high rate."

Dallas safety Jeff Heath and defensive tackle Jack Crawford each have a broken thumb that will require surgery, though they’re still hoping to play. Receiver Terrance Williams has a broken index finger but is likely to go with the aid of a splint.

Philadelphia linebacker Emmanuel Acho may be sidelined due to a groin injury.

The teams will meet again at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 4.