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                   === Cowboys and Eagles tangle in Texas ===
 
 (Sports Network) - Jeremy Maclin has played on some successful Missouri teams
 during his college days and even some good ones with the Philadelphia Eagles.
 
 But this season is a new experience for Maclin and the sputtering Eagles.
 
 "This is something that I have never experienced before," Maclin said after
 Monday night's 30-22 loss to Carolina. "Last year we were in same position,
 but this season feels a little different. As a football team and organization,
 we have to stay strong and stay together."
 
 The Eagles will test their mettle when they invade the Lone Star State to take
 on a Dallas Cowboys team that added to their misery with a 38-23 victory a few
 weeks ago on Nov. 11 at Lincoln Financial Field, where Philadelphia lost for
 the seventh time in a row to Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Eagles rallied
 from a 14-3 deficit to take the lead, but costly turnovers, poor tackling and
 indecisive play from rookie quarterback Nick Foles reared its ugly head.
 
 Philadelphia is riding its longest losing streak since finishing the 1994
 campaign with seven consecutive defeats and hasn't lost eight in a row in one
 season since opening the 1968 campaign with an 0-11 mark en route to a 2-12
 finish under head coach Joe Kuharich.
 
 Current Eagles coach Andy Reid, the longest tenured in the NFL, could be
 counting down the days of his dismissal. Owner Jeffrey Lurie said an 8-8
 finish, which the Eagles had last season, would not suffice. Well, the Eagles
 need to match last year's mark by winning the final five games and that
 doesn't appear to be in the cards. Not with quarterback Michael Vick and
 running back LeSean McCoy dealing with concussions, although Vick is
 progressing in his recovery. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is done for the
 season with fractured ribs suffered on Monday.
 
 Reid was asked if Vick could start against the Cowboys, who took him out of
 the game a few weeks ago.
 
 "We've got to get him healthy here, see where he's at," Reid said Monday. "He
 took another test today, didn't pass it. I'm not going to put him at risk,
 that's not where we're going with this thing."
 
 Vick failed another test taken on Wednesday and is still not able to practice.
 
 The Eagles don't seem to be headed anywhere and have allowed at least 28
 points in five straight games for the first time in team history. For how bad
 the offense has been, the defense hasn't done much either. Falling behind
 early has been a trend and the same goes with failing to pressure opposing
 quarterbacks. One defender won't be sporting midnight green anymore, as
 defensive end Jason Babin became another scapegoat to the Eagles' demise and
 was released on Tuesday.
 
 The veteran was claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars the following
 day.
 
 Babin, who had a career-high 18.0 sacks last season and just 5 1/2 in 2012,
 was reportedly becoming a cancer in the locker room and his departure opens
 the door for some of the younger guys. Babin said when he saw Reid's number go
 across his caller id, he knew it wasn't going to be good news. But at least
 the Eagles can evaluate some younger talent in Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham and
 Phillip Hunt. The high-priced Babin was criticized for giving up on the team
 and not going at it 100 percent on every snap, something fellow DE Trent Cole
 is known around the league for doing. Cole, though, is struggling, too.
 
 "I just feel bad for these guys," Curry said. "Look around. These dudes work
 hard. We're just not reaping the reward. It hurts."
 
 The Eagles, who haven't had a losing record under Reid since a 6-10 finish in
 2005, have lost four straight road games since a season-opening win against
 the Cleveland Browns.
 
 Dallas didn't do itself any favors in their pursuit of a playoff berth and
 were beaten 38-31 by the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving.
 
 The Cowboys have had plenty of time to adjust and focus on the Eagles. Head
 coach Jason Garrett gave a peek as to what the Cowboys will try to do Sunday.
 
 "We've got to run the ball better," Garrett said. "We've got to run the ball
 more. We have to be effective running it more early on in the ballgame so we
 don't get behind. DeMarco (Murray) has been a big part of that, but we have to
 be able to run the ball if he's not able to go."
 
 Murray has been out since Week 6 at Baltimore because of a foot problem and is
 listed as questionable this week. At least the Cowboys have Felix Jones, who
 ran for 71 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards and a score in the first
 matchup with Philadelphia. Jones, though, was bottled up for 14 yards on six
 carries on Thanksgiving because Dallas was behind early and forced to pass.
 
 Dallas has been plagued by injuries up front, but what team hasn't? The
 Cowboys can look across the field and see Philadelphia's banged-up o-line,
 which is missing four of its starters. Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith is nursing
 an ankle injury and is questionable. Jermey Parnell would get the start if
 Smith is still bothered by the problem, while centers Phil Costa and Ryan Cook
 were inactive with separate injuries. Mackenzy Bernadeau was moved from guard
 to center and Derrick Dockery started at guard.
 
 Cowboys QB Tony Romo will need protection if he wants to pull off a miraculous
 comeback toward the postseason. Romo was sacked three times against the Eagles
 and has been taken down 12 times in the past three weeks. Romo threw for 441
 yards with three TDs and two INTs last Thursday.
 
 Dallas had lost two straight and three of four meetings with Philadelphia
 before its win a few weeks ago. The Eagles have won two straight as the
 visitor in this series, but are 2-3 in the last five at Dallas, including a
 playoff setback on Jan. 9, 2010.
 
 
 WHAT TO WATCH FOR
 
 Since the Cowboys have been without Murray, they have been handing the ball
 off much less and relying on Romo. In the loss to the Redskins, Jones had six
 carries for 14 yards and Lance Dunbar had one carry for eight yards.
 
 So what's up with Murray this week? Since the running game has been
 nonexistent for almost a month, Dallas was happy to see Murray return to
 practice. Murray was back at practice Wednesday in pads and a helmet, giving
 the team hope he'll be back versus the Eagles. If he's unable to go for some
 reason, receiver Dez Bryant can carry the load. Bryant has posted back-to-back
 games with 145 yards receiving and has a touchdown catch in three straight.
 
 Garrett wasn't falling for the bait.
 
 "For us to say Dez Bryant has it all right now I think would be an injustice
 to him and it wouldn't be real good coaching," Garrett said. "It wouldn't be a
 real good approach by him. He's got to get better at everything he does just
 as every player on our team and certainly every member of our coaching staff
 has to get better. So we don't live in the world of 'we got it all down pat.'"
 
 Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley played well last week after Miles Austin left
 the game in the first half with a hip injury. Kevin Ogletree, who blew up in
 Week 1 against the New York Giants, was out with a concussion. Austin took the
 field in pads and a helmet on Wednesday and was working with a trainer.
 
 To prove the Cowboys have been passing a lot, Romo has thrown for 1,721 yards
 in the previous five games. Get those legs ready Sunday, Dallas receivers. As
 they should because Philadelphia's secondary has been playing below average.
 
 With McCoy more than likely to sit out another week, the Eagles will hitch
 their wagon to rookie Bryce Brown. Brown had a team rookie-record 178 rushing
 yards and two touchdowns versus the Panthers, but two costly fumbled spoiled
 possible scoring drives. Brown was making his first start since high school
 and still needs some polishing before people go overboard on what he can do.
 
 "My performance doesn't mean anything to me at all. The important thing to me
 was for us to get a win and that didn't happen tonight," Brown told the team's
 official website. "I feel like a lot of that has to do with my two turnovers
 that happened to really cost us.
 
 "You get caught up in the moment. You're trying your hardest. You're going out
 there trying to do it all and just fight for your team. When you're doing
 that, you have to remember the little things count. Protecting the ball is
 key."
 
 Brown's 65-yard touchdown was the seventh-longest rushing score by an Eagles
 rookie. He also was one of seven first-year players in the starting lineup.
 
 Brown was told before the Carolina game he would see plenty of carries to help
 Foles out, leaving many scratching their head as to why the Eagles didn't do
 that with a healthy McCoy. Foles needs some help and hasn't lived up to the
 hype from his preseason debut. Remember, Foles was playing against fellow
 third and fourth-string players in the preseason and not No. 1 defenses that
 are designed to stop him.
 
 Foles came in against the Cowboys a few weeks ago and played well despite some
 bad breaks. Dallas came into the first meeting prepared to face Vick, but a
 concussion forced Reid's hand to go with the rookie. Dallas stud LB DeMarcus
 Ware has 9 1/2 sacks in his last four games against the Eagles. Foles better
 have his chin strap buckled for this one.
 
 
 OVERALL ANALYSIS
 
 Dallas' playoff hopes are on life support and another loss would pull the plug
 on any chances of making a postseason run in the crowded NFC. That said, the
 Cowboys must keep Philadelphia's tumultuous season spinning on its lopsided
 axis. Much like in real estate where location, location, location is key, the
 Cowboys' path to success Sunday will be defense, defense, defense. Foles, the
 possible future of the Philadelphia franchise, may have thought the 2 1/2
 games in which he's played in were tough, but now things will get even worse
 in his first trip to Big D.
 
 Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cowboys 24, Eagles 10
 
 
 11/30 16:27:09 ET

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