Cowboys vs. Eagles 2013 game preview: Showdown for the lead in the NFC East

The Eagles will host the Cowboys in Week 7.

The battle for the NFC East continues as the Cowboys and Eagles face off in Week 7 for the lead in the division. Both squads are coming off impressive wins and are 3-3 on the season. The Eagles may be without starting quarterback Michael Vick in Week 7, but backup Nick Foles has proven to be a more-than-qualified fill-in and was terrific against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. The Cowboys are a bit banged up, as well, with defensive end DeMarcus Ware and running back DeMarco Murray expected to miss the divisional showdown.

Meet the Eagles

The Eagles will host the Cowboys as they look to increase their win streak to three games. Vick has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, but Foles has been excellent in relief. He has thrown for nearly 500 yards and five touchdowns in six quarters this season and is expected to continue as a starter for at least another week.

The Eagles' defense has been very up-and-down this season, but luckily for Chip Kelly, his offense has been outstanding. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson and running back LeSean McCoy are both on pace to have career years. While the defense may give up a ton of points, the offense has been steady in putting up plenty of its own.

Meet the Cowboys

The Cowboys come into the game with a win over the Redskins in Week 6. Dallas has been solid at moving the ball with quarterback Tony Romo, along with running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Dez Bryant. However, Murray is banged up from the Week 6 win and is not likely to play.

The Dallas defense has been a work in progress, with a change from a 3-4 to a Tampa 2. The defensive line has suffered several injuries, including defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff. Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware has been the latest defensive player to be struck by the injury bug, as he is expected to miss a couple of weeks of action with a strained quad. The defense will need to look for other ways to get to the Eagles quarterback, whomever that may be in Week 7.

Local Takes: Eagles

James Keane of Bleeding Green Nation believes Foles should start at quarterback as long as he is productive:

If we can illustrate that momentum exists on a small scale, let's turn our attention to the Philadelphia Eagles and apply it to a larger one. Michael Vick won the starting quarterback battle in the preseason then lost it due to injury. In turn, Nick Foles looked impressive in a victory against a tough Tampa Bay defense. If healthy, should Vick regain his role and start against the Dallas Cowboys? If momentum truly exists, I think not. There have been payoffs in such situations (see 2010 Philadelphia Eagles, 2012 San Francisco 49ers).

Local Takes: Cowboys

Tom Ryle of Blogging the Boys believes the injury to Murray creates questions for the Cowboys running game:

The question now is what will the Cowboys do at running back? With Lance Dunbar still uncertain, the Cowboys are down to Joseph Randle and Phillip Tanner, neither of whom were exactly overwhelming in relief of Murray against the Redskins.

Dallas only had 48 yards rushing against Washington but that number is deceptive. A closer look at the numbers shows that the running game was actually delivering at key moments. Dallas got 15 first downs not counting penalties and seven of them were on the ground. The game plan was clearly to use Murray heavily before he went down. And on two third-and-one plays before he went out the team put the ball in his hands and he converted, as well as scoring the first touchdown of the game from the four-yard line.

Follow the Fun

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

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BrandonGowton

@BloggingTheBoys

@Mike_E_Kaye

@JIckesBTB

Prediction

From Week 7 picks:

The NFC East refuses to play competent defense this year. And with these two teams facing off, the best bet is probably whatever the over is on the number of missed tackles. Dallas has looked like the best team in the division, thanks to a Week 5 pickup basketball game against the Broncos.

Philadelphia is 3-3 against the spread, and Dallas is 5-1. However, Dallas is just 1-4 against the spread in its last five meetings with the Eagles.

The NFC East is football purgatory, without any of the contemplation.

The pick: Eagles

Odds

The Eagles are listed as 2.5-point favorites at home against the Cowboys, according to OddsShark.

Next Week

The Eagles will host the Giants in Week 8, while the Cowboys will travel to Detroit to face the Lions.

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