NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas (8:30 PM ET, ESPN)

NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas (8:30 PM ET, ESPN)



ESPN gets the NFC's most anticipated matchup of the week for its Monday night feature, as NFC East rivals Philadelphia and Dallas collide.


2008-09-12

ESPN gets the NFC's most anticipated matchup of the week for its Monday night feature, as NFC East rivals Philadelphia and Dallas collide. Both teams are 1-0 after convincing week 1 wins, with the Eagles trouncing the Rams and the Cowboys easily turning back Cleveland. With difficult schedules lying ahead and the early division lead on the line, this game means a lot for both clubs.

If history means anything, Philadelphia could be in good shape, as they are 14-8 SU & 13-7 in the L22 meetings between these teams, and the road team has gone 15-8 ATS in the L23. In fact, the visitor has won outright in the last three games and four of the last five. Dallas (-7.5) is on a 6-12 ATS run in division games, while Philly has gone 8-1 ATS in its L9 as a road dog.

Even though the Eagles have captured five of the last seven NFC East titles, few prognosticators pick them to finish anywhere but third or fourth in 2008. Philadelphia won the division each year from 2001-04 and again in '06, but even with victories in its last three games last season it brought up the rear with an 8-8 record.

The first of the Eagles' three wins down the stretch in 2007 came in Dallas, 10-6, as Philadelphia became the first team to hold the Cowboys without a touchdown in more than three years. Six weeks earlier, the ‘Boys romped in the first meeting 38-17.

Dallas, which hosts this season's first meeting between these long-time rivals, won its first five games a year ago and never looked back in winning the division crown. Last week it emerged victorious for the third time in its last four openers, knocking off Cleveland 28-10. The Browns, a trendy pick to take the next step and be a playoff team, had few answers for an offense spearheaded by Tony Romo (320 yards), Marion Barber (two touchdowns) and Terrell Owens.

One of the Eagles' strengths should be their secondary, as long as disgruntled Lito Sheppard does his job and leaves his trade request to the front office. Sheppard is serving as the backup to starters Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, though he'll be on the field often in nickel situations according to renowned defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
In one of the early games last Sunday, Philadelphia steamrolled its way past St. Louis, 38-3. Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook led a big-play offense that amassed 522 yards. McNabb threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, including a 90-yard hookup with Hank Baskett, and Westbrook added 91 yards and a score. Baskett, rookie DeSean Jackson and Greg Lewis all surpassed 100 yards receiving. Maybe it's not a bad thing starting wide receivers Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown missed the contest with a hernia and strained hamstring, respectively. Curtis probably won't return until October, but Brown, who scored the only touchdown in the team's win over Dallas a year ago, could be ready on Monday night.

Last year marked only the second time this decade one of these teams didn't sweep the two-game series. Including playoffs, the Cowboys lead all-time by a 54-44 margin. The rematch in Week 17 at Lincoln Financial Field will be the 100th meeting.
PREDICTION
Dallas has only eight different names on its roster compared to last season—the fewest of any team in the league. The Cowboys are not only hungry and have a lot to prove, they're cohesive and confident. And they remember what the Eagles did to them here last November.
DALLAS 31, PHILADELPHIA 20

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