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Surging Eagles clash with Cowboys on Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 10/20/2013  at  4:44:00 AM
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Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
Line: Philadelphia -3, Total: 54.5

The Eagles look for a third straight victory when the hated Cowboys come to town Sunday.

Dallas snapped a two-game losing skid with a 31-16 win over the Redskins last week, but lost starting RB DeMarco Murray to a knee injury. Backup QB Nick Foles threw for 296 yards and 3 TD (two to DeSean Jackson) to lead Philly to a 31-20 victory in Tampa Bay, improving his team to 3-0 (SU and ATS) versus NFC opponents this year. With QB Michael Vick still sidelined with a hamstring injury, Foles will get the call again. These teams are 10-10 SU versus one another in the past 20 meetings, but the Cowboys swept the Eagles last year. They scored 76 points in the two wins behind 512 passing yards, 5 TD and 0 INT from QB Tony Romo, who is in the midst of an excellent season with 14 TD and 3 INT. There are negative trends for both teams in this contest, as over the past three seasons, Dallas is just 4-14 ATS (22%) after an SU win and 8-18 ATS (31%) versus conference opponents. However, in the past two seasons, the Eagles are a woeful 6-15 ATS overall (29%), including a winless 0-9 ATS at home.

Can the Eagles keep their win streak intact facing the rival Cowboys? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 season and playoffs. The experts are heating up in NFL Best Bets, combining for a 60% ATS record (27-18-2) over the past three weeks, including 69% ATS (11-5) in Week 6. StatFox Scott was a perfect 4-0 ATS in Week 6, and is 80% ATS (8-2) in the past three weeks. StatFox Gary was also a perfect 4-0 ATS in Week 6 and is 73% ATS (8-3-1) over the past three weeks.

Dallas ranks second in the NFL with 30.5 points per game, and places seventh in both yards per play (5.9) and yards per pass attempt (7.3). While the total yards are slightly above average (350 YPG, 13th in league), the team has been able to keep point totals high with a 65.2% red-zone efficiency (4th in league). Because the Cowboys have gained just 85 YPG on the ground, reaching 100 yards just once all year, the loss of top RB DeMarco Murray isn't a huge blow. However, unproven rookie backup RB Joseph Randle may not be ready for a full workload having just 11 carries for 17 yards this season, which all came last week against Washington. Dallas will continue to air out the football with QB Tony Romo whose 108.6 passer rating ranks third in the NFL, as does his career-best 70.2% completion rate. Helping Romo carve up the Eagles last year was star WR Dez Bryant who caught nine passes for 185 yards and 3 TD in the two victories. This season, Bryant already has 34 catches for 459 yards and six scores. TE Jason Witten (340 rec. yards, 3 TD) has also enjoyed facing the Eagles over the years, tallying his fourth career 100-yard effort against them last December when he recorded a game-high 108 receiving yards on six catches. The defense has not kept pace with the offense in 2013 though, allowing 413.2 total YPG, the third-highest number in the NFL. A poor third-down defense (42.3%, 25th in NFL) has led to the club allowing 23.8 first downs per game (4th-worst in league). Dallas has also struggled to stop the run, surrendering 4.4 YPC (25th in NFL). The unit needs to do a better job creating turnovers too with just six takeaways over the past five games, but it won't be easy with a thin D-Line unit that could be missing DEs DeMarcus Ware (quad), George Selvie (shoulder) and Edgar Jones (groin).

New head coach Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense continues to wear down opponents with 179 rushing YPG on 5.4 YPC, both NFL-leading numbers. However the lack of huddles has led to a poor time of possession (26:22, 3rd-worst in NFL), and this club has been terrible in the red zone with a 45% efficiency rate (T-27th in NFL). QB Nick Foles has done a nice job under center this year, completing 67.2% of his passes for 542 yards (8.9 YPA) with 6 TD and 0 INT. More than 30 percent of the Eagles' targets have gone to dynamic WR DeSean Jackson, who has 34 catches for 589 yards (17.3 average) and five touchdowns already. Jackson has averaged 77 receiving YPG in eight career meetings with Dallas, but has found the end zone only once. The NFL's top rusher, RB LeSean McCoy (630 rush yards in 2013), has run for 624 yards in six career games against the Cowboys, but has failed to score a touchdown in five of those meetings. In addition to his running prowess this season, McCoy has also shined in the passing game with 16.1 yards per catch (tops among all NFL running backs) on his 15 receptions. While the offense has done its fair share of gaining gobs of yardage, the defense has been torched all season. Philly is surrendering 420 total YPG and 25.3 first downs per game, both of which rank last in the entire league. The unit's third-down conversion rate is weak (42.5%, 26th in NFL), which has contributed greatly to its 33:37 defensive time of possession (4th-most in league). The Eagles have had a positive turnover margin just once in the past four games, but that was against the turnover-riddled Giants. The only new significant injury to Philly's defense is S Patrick Chung, who is questionable with a neck ailment.

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