Eagles look to avoid longest losing streak in 44 years
Updated On: Dec 01 2012 07:28:14 AM CST
As bad as things are going for the Dallas Cowboys, it's that much worse for the Philadelphia Eagles.
These injury-plagued NFC East rivals meet Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium, with the Eagles out to avoid their longest losing streak in 44 years.
Dallas (5-6) is tied for second place in the division with Washington, two games behind the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The Cowboys went 6-10 two years ago and 8-8 last season, and haven't shown any improvement in 2012.
"I knew that we were in a league that has a lot of competition, but I thought we'd be better," owner Jerry Jones said.
At least Dallas still has playoff hopes, with the last wild-card team in the NFC currently holding a 6-5 record.
The same can't be said for Philadelphia (3-8), which has lost seven straight for the longest slide of coach Andy Reid's tenure. Reid is doing his best to avoid speculation that he will be fired.
"I'm coaching to get ready to get after the Cowboys," Reid said. "That's what I'm coaching to do and I don't go beyond that."
Reid once again won't have his full complement of stars as Philadelphia seeks to avoid its longest losing streak since an 0-11 start in 1968.
Michael Vick has missed the last two games with a concussion and LeSean McCoy sat out Monday's 30-22 home loss to Carolina as he tries to recover from a concussion. DeSean Jackson was placed on injured reserve after he sustained multiple rib fractures against the Panthers.
With Vick out, rookie Nick Foles will likely make his third straight start. Foles has thrown for 542 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in three games since replacing Vick during a 38-23 home loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 11.
"The big thing is you just look at games and I feel like we've run the offense well and we've just got to eliminate mistakes," said Foles, who had two turnovers in the first meeting with Dallas.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox injured his tailbone and offensive lineman King Dunlap sprained his knee Monday. Neither practiced Wednesday.
The Eagles signaled that change may be underway when they released two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin on Tuesday. Younger players like former high draft picks Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham are expected to get more playing time now.
Dallas has also endured plenty of injuries, although running back DeMarco Murray returned to practice Wednesday, and Jones says it "looks like'' he'll play Sunday. Murray has missed the last six games with a sprained right foot, and the Cowboys rank last in the league with 78.7 rushing yards per game.
"It shouldn't matter who's back there," offensive lineman Mackenzy Bernadeau said. "We should be able to make it clean for them to make the read and hit the holes."
Now the Cowboys' defense has sustained another injury, with linebacker Bruce Carter out for the season with a dislocated left elbow. Carter was a replacement for Sean Lee, out for the year with a big toe injury.
Veteran Dan Connor will now call the plays for a defense that will also be missing cornerback Orlando Scandrick, out with a broken right hand.
The Eagles' defense, meanwhile, has allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for 13 touchdowns and no interceptions over the last five games. Tony Romo had two touchdowns in the first meeting and needs one Sunday for his 166th to break a tie with Hall of Famer Troy Aikman for the most in franchise history.
While Philadelphia faces a short week to get ready, Dallas has not played since turning in one of its worst defensive efforts in last Thursday's 38-31 home loss to Washington. The Cowboys allowed rookie Robert Griffin III to throw for four touchdowns - the first time a quarterback has done that against them since Rex Grossman accomplished the feat two years ago, also with the Redskins.
The Cowboys once again struggled at home. They have faced deficits of 24, 23, 13 and 25 points in their last four games at Jones' $1 billion stadium.
"I think we're not consistent," Jones said. "You have to create some consistency really at any part of what you're doing, special teams as well as offense and defense."
Dallas allowed its second-highest rushing total of 149 yards on Thanksgiving, but may not catch a break if McCoy is out. Bryce Brown was one of the few bright spots Monday for the Eagles with a club rookie record of 178 yards rushing and two scores in his first career start.
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