Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 NFL Playoff Preview: Wild Card Weekend – Eagles at Cowboys

The 2010 NFL playoffs begin this Saturday. I’ll gaze into my crystal ball and try to predict the outcome of each game, while also providing you with an in-depth preview and broadcast information. Saturday’s coverage starts at 4pm with NBC’s Football Night in America before a doubleheader on the network.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, 8:00pm, NBC
Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in the booth. Andrea Kremer on the sidelines.

Coming into last weekend’s matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys, I thought the Eagles were the best team in the NFC and my favorite to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Then the Cowboys squashed Philadelphia.

While the Cowboys have shaken their December ghosts, they still haven’t won a playoff game since Troy Aikman was under center. Tony Romo’s playoff memories include botching the hold on a field goal attempt, which is once again a duty of his this year, and tossing a crucial interception against the Giants two seasons ago. But this Cowboys team is different than any in the last few years. It’s not about their big stars, like Roy Williams and Marion Barber. It’s been more, this year anyway, about guys like Miles Austin and a team effort.

The Eagles are also a bit different. Brian Westbrook hasn’t been what makes the team go. For a good chunk of the season, Westbrook was injured and the Eagles shifted their game to more of a big play offense. Desean Jackson added an explosiveness that Philadelphia hasn’t had, both returning kicks and as a wide receiver. Michael Vick, while receiving plenty of media coverage, was mostly a non-factor but has been a bigger part of the Eagles’ offense in the latter parts of the season.

The Cowboys have beaten the Eagles twice this season. The old adage claims that the hardest thing to do in football is beat the same team three times in a season. I think that will hold true and the Eagles come out on top in the House That Jerry Jones Built.

Prediction: Eagles 34, Cowboys 27

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