(SportsNetwork.com) - There should be no shortage of points when the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles battle for sole possession of first place in the NFC East Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Cowboys and Eagles have proven they can score, but they also have trouble keeping opponents off the board. Dallas is second in the NFL with an average of 30.5 points per game and Philadelphia is fourth with 27.2 ppg.
On the contrary, the Eagles are 29th in points allowed (29.8) and Dallas is 21st (25.3). Defense should be at a minimum between these NFC East rivals, especially for the Eagles, who are 31st against the pass (314.5) and dead last in total yards allowed (420.2).
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is probably chomping at the bit to get after the Eagles' secondary. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said his unit must be aggressive in disrupting Romo and Dallas' offensive game plan.
"When you study him on film, he's either really hot or really off, and sometimes it's through the course of one single game," Davis said. "He can be hot in the first half and second half cold, and vice versa. You've got to play him all the way through four quarters. You've got to challenge the receivers and challenge him to find the opening, and keep moving in on him. I think he'll make some plays and I think that he'll make some mistakes."
Romo wasn't at his best his last time out, a 31-16 win over the division-rival Washington Redskins Sunday night. He had his lowest rating of the season at 72.9 and completed 18-of-30 passes for a season-low 170 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. Romo, of course, was coming off a record performance in a heart-breaking 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos in which he threw for a franchise-record 506 yards and five TDs. However, his interception late in the game enabled the Broncos to march into scoring position for the win.
The reason why the Cowboys are in first place is because of Romo, who is tied for second in the NFL with 14 TD passes. But besides scoring points, the Cowboys' offense still needs some work. The Cowboys are 11th in passing yards (265.0), so Romo has to be more consistent there, and 13th in total yards (349.8). The Cowboys have three pass catchers with more than 300 yards receiving in Dez Bryant (459 yards, 6 TD), tight end Jason Witten (340 yards, 3 TD) and Terrance Williams (309 yards, 2 TD).
It's good to have threats across the field, but a running game is necessary to keep defenses honest. DeMaro Murray was doing that through the first six games until a sprained left knee versus the Redskins ended his night. Murray, who has 428 yards rushing and three touchdowns, is expected to miss Sunday's game in south Philly.
"We'll miss him certainly this coming week," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, according to the team's website. "But we'll see from there."
Murray, though, didn't rule himself out.
"I'm preparing like I'm playing this week, the way I'm preparing mentally in the classroom, physically on the field," Murray said. "We haven't said which way, what we're going to do yet. It all depends on how comfortable I am. We were able to do some things today, and I felt good."
If Murray does miss the game, rookie Joseph Randle will most likely handle the load in the backfield. Randle posted 17 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in relief of Murray against the Redskins.
The Eagles are allowing 105.7 rushing yards per game, and defending the run is actually their calling card on defense. But don't count on them for much else. They are struggling to get to the quarterback as evidenced by 13 sacks through six games and have just six interceptions.