Who: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
What: Sunday Night Football
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, South Philly
When: Sunday Night, 8:20PM, NBC
Why: Someone has to win the NFC East, right?
Line: Eagles (-430) vs. Cowboys (+330) Philly (-9) O/U (43)
Sunday Night Football
The Dallas Cowboys limp into Lincoln Financial Field to take on division rival Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. The two teams meet in a familiar setting as it seems their first meeting each season occurs on Sunday Night Football. Philadelphia leads the division at 2-4-1 after winning in dramatic fashion last Thursday against the New York Giants. The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing 25-3 loss at the hands of that football team in Washington and falling to 2-5 on the season. The butt whooping by Washington has Cowboys fans hoping this season would end today. Meanwhile, Eagles fans are holding out hope that last week was the beginning of a mid-season turnaround in which the Eagles can reel off some wins. The battle for the NFC East crown starts Sunday. Who will emerge victorious?
Battered by Injuries
The injury Bug has infested the NFC East, and each team has been affected in some way this season. The Eagles and Cowboys have felt the impact dramatically, mainly on offense. The Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the season with a nasty ankle injury. Dallas has also seen a revolving door on the offensive line losing Tyron Smith and La’el Collins for the season. There’s a small glimmer of hope for the O-Line as they welcome back RG Zach Martin this week. Dallas will also return Sean Lee, Chidobe Awuzie, Joe Looney, and Xavier Woods to the 53 man roster. Finally, after a brutal hit he suffered last week, Andy Dalton will most likely be held out of action this week. This opens the door for rookie Ben DiNucci to get the start this week for Dallas.
The Eagles have been battered and bruised all season, mainly on the offensive side of the football. Last week, the Eagles lost Desean Jackson to injury for a significant amount of time after a brutal late hit while fielding a punt. Alshon Jeffery was set to make his long-awaited return to the field until he suffered a calf injury in practice. Miles Sanders is also sidelined with a knee injury and will likely return after the bye week.
Moving to the trenches, Philadelphia suffered the same fate as Dallas on the offensive line as the unit was decimated with injuries. The unit has lost notable players such as Brandon Brooks, Issac Seumalo, and Andre Dillard. However, the injury bug seems to have left Philly, and good news is on the horizon. Jason Peters is set to return on the offensive line after being out a few weeks (Markdown one false start now). The skill positions will get a nice boost this week with the return of Jalen Reagor to the wide receiver position. We may even see the return of Dallas Goedert, but that’ll likely be a game-time decision.
Cowboys Players to Watch
With the loss of Dak Prescott, Zeke is now tasked with being the Cowboys offensive engine. The running game needs to be effective for Dallas to be successful. The last few games for Elliott are games he’d like to forget. Zeke has failed to eclipse 50 yards in either of the previous two games and is averaging under 4 yards per carry. However, Zeke has always been an Eagles killer since he entered the league. Look at his stats vs. Philly:
- Rush: (19/151/1) Rec: (6/36/1)
- Rush: (28/113/1) Rec: (12/79)
- Rush: (22/111/1) Rec: (6/36)
- Rush: (13/47) Rec: (7/37)
Those are pretty good stats for Zeke against the Eagles. He’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry and has four total TD’s. Elliott has caught at least six receptions in every single game against Philly. Zeke also leaped the birds into embarrassment last year on an incredible play. Bottom Line: The Eagles must focus on Ezekiel Elliott and shut him down this week.
CeeDee Lamb / Michael Gallup
I’m going to assume that Darius Slay will have a visitor to lockdown island on Sunday night, and his name will be Amari Cooper. However, the other two receivers will be the responsibility of Avonte Maddox, Cre’von LeBlanc, and Nickell Robey-Coleman. The Eagles cornerbacks opposite Big Play Slay will need to step up and shut down these young talented receivers.
A Nominee for Comeback player of the year is putting together an excellent season for the Cowboys. Aldon Smith hasn’t played a snap in 5 years and returned to the field without missing a step. He leads the Cowboys with four sacks on the season. The Eagles offensive line will be tasked with keeping him out of the backfield and far away from Quarterback Carson Wentz.
Eagles Players to Watch
Jason Peters returns to the field after missing a few weeks with a toe injury. This week at practice, the bodyguard was taking snaps from his old home at left tackle. Say what? Where’s Jordan Mailata? Well, Coach Peterson decided it was best for the younger Mailata to sit this one out and learn from his mentor on Sunday. Jason Peters will assume his role at left tackle while Lane Johnson will hold down the right side. Jason Peters will need to look much better than he did in his previous starts this season. The future hall of famer has shown his age this season. The bodyguard needs to protect Carson Wentz at all costs. My appreciation is there for the bodyguard, but I think Father Time has come for Mr. Peters.
Welcome back, Kid! Jalen Reagor is set to return on Sunday night under the bright lights on national TV. Earlier this week, the Eagles opened up the 21-day window for Reagor to return to the field. It’s been all but officially reported that Reagor will return to the field for this week’s matchup with Dallas. He’ll be a breath of fresh air for the Eagles offense. Jalen can do everything on the field for the Eagles. Doug can get creative will his play-calling, put Reagor in open space, and let him make plays! We might see a glimpse of what the future of the Eagles offense looks like with the wide receiver corps of Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, and John Hightower on full display with Carson Wentz.
Keys to the Game
Eagles Rushing Game
The Eagles need to establish the run game early and often. Dallas may think that without Miles Sanders, The Eagles will rely on the air attack. Doug must attack the Cowboys defense on the ground. Dallas has given up at least 100 yards rushing in 6 out of 7 games this year. Boston Scott is more than capable of carrying the ball 10-15 times this week. Don’t forget, there was a guy who debuted on the field for the Eagles last week. The running back was a former member of the Detroit Lions practice squad. The name is Jason Huntley, and he looked good in limited action. He carried the ball twice for 13 yards last week against the Giants. The Eagles are reaping players’ benefits on the Lions practice Squad this year (Fulgham, Huntley). I have one message for Doug Peterson this week: RUN THE BALL!
Defensive Front Four
The defensive front four of the Philadelphia Eagles will play an integral role in Sunday’s contest. The best position group on the Eagles is arguably the defensive line. Fletcher Cox and company must take advantage of a banged-up Dallas offensive line and put pressure on Rookie QB Ben DiNucci. The defensive front should feast on the Cowboy’s O-Line, and pressure the Quarterback all night long. My prediction will be that this week is the Javon Hargrave coming out party!
The Eagles have tended to start slow in games. That mindset must change! It’s mandatory that Philadelphia deals the first blow and keeps attacking their opponent. Don’t let the foot off the gas pedal. Doug needs to get back to being aggressive in his play-calling and exploit the defense. The killer instinct mentality will go a long way in determining if you will win close games throughout the season. Time for the Eagles to develop that mentality Sunday night and beat the teams you’re supposed to beat!
The NFC East showdown in South Philly on Sunday evening carries heavyweight into determining who wins the division in 2020. While the records are mediocre, a division title stills grants you a home playoff game with a chance to enter the dance. That’s what the Eagles are playing for this week. The season starts this weekend for the Birds, and they must announce themselves as the alpha of the division. Let’s face it, the Cowboys are on a downward spiral, and the Eagles are on the upswing. Philadelphia is starting to get healthy and should start connecting as a unit on the field. The Eagles should dominate in this game from beginning to end. Take a look below and start getting used to it. The Reagor bomb is back, and Wentz will connect for a big TD Sunday. The Eagles win this one in a blowout 37-13.