The Dallas Cowboys face an unfamiliar division opponent. The Philadelphia Eagles are not the same team they were for 14 years under Andy Reid.
The Cowboys are playing catch-up.
They spent a big chunk of the off-season dissecting Chip Kelly’s schemes at Oregon. They spent part of last week watching tapes of the Eagles’ first five games, according to quarterback Tony Romo.
“You have seen them play six games,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “You have seen an offensive scheme. You have seen a defensive scheme. You have seen what they are trying to accomplish on special teams. It’s a little bit different because we haven’t seen this stuff for years and years and years, so there is a little bit of that.
“It is a little different. Typically, you would know your division opponents a little bit more. It feels a little more like another kind of game, a conference game or a game with an AFC team.”
The Cowboys took care of business against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, winning 31-16. They were outgained 433-213 but got 222 return yards from Dwayne Harris and two takeaways.
Dallas’ scoring drives covered 80, 15, 49 and 3 yards.
“There were obviously a lot of good things we did throughout our football team,” Garrett said. “It was a good team win.”
It ended a two-game losing streak for the Cowboys. It also assured them a winning record at home in the division for the first time since 2009, which not so coincidentally was the Cowboys’ last playoff appearance.
Now the Cowboys will try to put a two-game winning streak together for the first time since they beat the Eagles, Bengals and Steelers in a three-game stretch near the end of last season.
The Cowboys’ last road win came in Cincinnati on Dec. 9. They sport an 0-2 road record this season, losing at Kansas City and San Diego.
First place in the NFC East is on the line this week, with the Redskins (1-4) and the Giants (0-6) looking out of it.
“It’s very important to win on the road and string some wins together,” Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said. “You want to win at home, but the good teams have to go on the road and pull out some of these games.
“It would be good for us to take some momentum and continue on. I have a feeling once we get hot, we are going to be something to deal with around here.”
The Cowboys are expected to be without running back DeMarco Murray and defensive end DeMarcus Ware. Murray sprained his left knee, and Ware strained his right quadriceps on Sunday.
They already are playing without defensive tackle Jay Ratliff and defensive end Anthony Spencer.
The Cowboys, though, have adopted a “next-man-up” mentality.
“We have high standards as a team, and that’s the only way you can win in this league,” Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said. “You have to have high standards.
“We have a bunch of guys waiting on an opportunity. I think every guy who has the opportunity, not one coach said, ‘He can’t do the job.’”