Free NFL Pick: Philadelphia at Dallas 12-12-2010

December 12, 2010

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Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Sunday December 12th, 2010 8:20 PM EST

Line: Philadelphia -4

Overview:

This matchup is much more appealing now that Jason Garret is at the helm. The Cowboys are 4-8 on the season, but 3-1 under the new coaching regime. Last week, they beat the Colts in Indianapolis. The Cowboys have seemingly turned their team around. It’s a shame they couldn’t have done it eight weeks ago, before they had already driven themselves out of playoff contention.

The Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East. They are one of the most explosive teams in the league and their scores have the potential to get out of hand on any iven Sunday. A big win over Dallas this week could give them some much needed breathing room on top of the division.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Cowboys need to make Michael Vick slow down. The Bears had relative success against Vick because their front was able to keep him inside the pocket. Demarcus Ware is one of the best edge rushers in the NFL, but he needs to play with controlled aggression this week. Over pursuit invites Vick to make plays with his legs and extend the play by rolling out where the vacancy lies.
  • Tashard Choice and Felix Jones are both improving week to week. They each had big games last week in the victory over Indy and will look to repeat those performances this week when they take on the Eagles. Jones has blazing speed and if he can break contain, the Eagles could be in for a long day. It appears as though the duties will be split; however, Jones is the bigger threat, despite the recent production of Choice.
  • DeSean Jackson stretches the field and gives the Eagles offense a few big plays a game lately. Jeremy Maclin is their number one guy right now. Maclin will be crucial in developing the passing game early on. The Eagles are built to use the entire football field. Having an efective passing game makes or breaks their offense, and Maclin has to step up and get everything going out of the gate.
  • LeSean McCoy is not only a threat on the ground, his screens are lethal. McCoy is one of many Eagles on offense who has the potential to take any given play to the house. He makes his presence felt and Vick loves to draw in a defense and let McCoy go to work on a bubble screen. McCoy can be extremely effective in a number of different ways, so it is key that the Cowboys keep a watchful eye on him at all times.

Key Matchup:

Jon Kitna Vs. Trent Cole

  • Kitna has played much better with the new coaching staff in place. He has always had the receivers there, but with the run game getting going, it is easier for Kitna to succeed. HE has always had the receivers to get it done, but with no Dez Bryant, he will have to be even sharper than he has been in recent weeks. The success of the Cowboys is largely dependent on the success of Kitna.
  • Trent Cole will try to get into Kitna’s head by applying an obnoxious amount of pressure. He has nine sacks this season and will look to add to his total this week. Kitna is a veteran presence, but he is still vulnerable to mistakes when he gets pressured. IF the Eagles can force Kitna to crack, it puts less pressure on the offense to succeed.

Wrap Up:

The Cowboys have had an incredible turn around since Wade Phillips left Dallas, but I don’t see them knocking out the Eagles on Sunday Night. Michael Vick leads one of the most exciting defenses in the NFL and I see the Eagles breaking away in a major way. The Cowboys might not retract to their old form completely, but they are going to be faced with adversity early on in this game. I’m going with the Eagles because I don’t think the Cowboys are going to be able to keep up defensively.

Free NFL Pick: Philadelphia -4


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