Eagles vs. Cowboys 2012 game preview: Two disappointments collide

Chris Trotman

Philadelphia and Dallas meet with the Cowboys trying to get back in the playoff picture.

On Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium in a battle between two NFC East rivals.

Neither team is remotely close to where it wanted to be heading into December. The Eagles are woefully out of the race at 3-8, coming off a Monday night loss at home against the Carolina Panthers. Dallas is 5-6 and desperate after being beaten on Thanksgiving by the Washington Redskins.

If the Cowboys can pull this game out of the fire, they will still have some hope to make the playoffs as a wild-card team. For Philadelphia, it's all about respect at this point.

Meet the Dallas Cowboys

Same story, different year for Dallas. Once again, the Cowboys were touted as a team to watch in the offseason, only to come out and be exactly who they have been for years.

Tony Romo has been inconsistent, but really can't be blamed all that much. His offensive line has been nothing more than a heavy, padded turnstile all season, leaving Romo to run for his life. Just two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns, Romo was sacked seven times. Seven times, against the Browns.

He has also received no help from a rushing attack that ranks dead last in the NFL with 78.7 yards per game. Some of that has to do with a lack of blocking, while the rest of the blame falls at Jason Garrett's feet. It's hard to gain rushing yardage when you throw the ball 50 times a game.

On the positive side, Rob Ryan's defense has played much better in 2012 after shoring up the secondary with Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in the offseason. The unit ranks 9th against the pass and 13th versus the run despite middle linebacker Sean Lee missing considerable time.

Meet the Philadelphia Eagles

No team has been a bigger train wreck in 2012 than the Eagles. The season started out cloaked in tragedy when Andy Reid's son, Garrett, took his own life during training camp.

Then, it appeared as though Philadelphia was inspired to begin the regular season, starting 3-1 after beating such foes as the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens. However, nothing has gone right since.

The Eagles have been absolutely brutal, losing their last seven games while watching Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson all go down to injuries. On top of that, Jason Babin was released after failing to live up to expectations and generally ticking off the fans with short-sighted comments.

Without question, Reid is looking at the final few games as Eagles head coach before moving on. It was a mostly successful ride for Reid, with one glaring omission.

Local Takes: Dallas Cowboys

Dave Halprin from Blogging The Boys says Dallas can still make the playoffs if it takes care of business:

So, if the favorites win this weekend, Dallas will be in a tie for the last wild card spot. Yeah, that's a very rosy scenario, and there's no way you can count on Dallas winning any given weekend. But the fact remains, the Cowboys have a real shot if they can get on a roll and stack some wins on top of each other.

Local Takes: Philadelphia Eagles

Eliot Shorr-Parks from Bleeding Green Nation says fans have reason to look forward following the most annoying season in Eagles history:

The good news is that change is coming. The Eagles are about to enter one of the most exciting off-seasons in recent history as they likely will enter next season with a new head coach, a top draft prospect, and even a new quarterback. The frustration and disappointment that had been all over this year of football in Philadelphia could finally be over.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Blogging The Boys and Bleeding Green Nation, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BleedingGreen

@BloggingTheBoys

@HowardEskin

@clarencehilljr

Prediction

"The Cowboys aren't that good, but they are certainly better than Philadelphia at this point. Dallas is impossible to predict because of its Jekyll-and-Hyde nature, but it usually plays well after getting beat, especially at home. Jason Garrett has proven to everyone outside of himself that coaching isn't his calling, but even he can't find a way to lose this game.

"Andy Reid is trying to guide a team with McCoy, Jackson and Vick to a win on the road against an average team. He has no chance, especially considering the rest of the team has absolutely quit on him. On top of all that, Philadelphia can't get any hint of a pass rush going, leaving them vulnerable to Romo airing it out.

"It's been a sad narrative in Eagles' country, unless you're a Cowboys fan this week. In that case, it's been a fun unraveling to watch."

The pick: 38-13, Cowboys

Odds

The Cowboys are favored by 11.5 points, according to Odds Shark.

Next Week

Dallas will travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals while the Eagles also hit the road to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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