Matt Cassel hasn’t sparked the offense as hoped in place of Brandon Weeden. Not even Dez Bryant’s return to action could get the offense going against Seattle. But the Cowboys are sticking with Cassel in hopes he can get things turned in the right direction this weekend.
Protecting the ball
The Cowboys have turned the ball over seven times in their five-game losing streak, including a four-turnover day against the Giants two weeks ago. The Cowboys protected the ball better last week against the Seahawks, and must do so again against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s defense has produced the most takeaways in the league (19).
The Cowboys parted ways with running back Joseph Randle, who had been expected to fill most of the void left by DeMarco Murray. That didn’t work out. Darren McFadden is the lead runner with Christine Michael as the backup. Despite the carousel in the backfield, the Cowboys must continue to establish the run.
The unsteadiness of the Cowboys’ running game is due in large part to the departure of DeMarco Murray, who returns to AT&T Stadium for the first time in a different uniform. Murray has only one 100-yard rushing game in his first six contests — he went over 100 yards in his first eight games with the Cowboys a year ago. But expect Murray to carry extra motivation into this game, particularly after the Cowboys held him to 2 yards on 13 carries in Week 2.
The NFC East ranks as one of the, if not the, worst divisions in the league. That gives the Cowboys some hope that they can survive their stretch without Tony Romo. But, as Stephen Jones has already said, it’s hard to picture a scenario where the Cowboys can go 0-fer without Romo and make the postseason. So far it’s 0-5. This game is critical, especially considering it’s a division game. The Cowboys also have to find a way to win at AT&T Stadium, where they are 5-9 over their past 14 games.