Coming off their bye week, the Philadelphia Eagles at 4-4 are hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in a pivotal divisional matchup. The Cowboys are coming off of a dreadful loss on Monday night to the Tennessee Titans, 28-14. Once again Dak Prescott struggled, throwing a momentum-shifting interception in the Titan’s end zone and lost a fumble late in the second half. Dallas has struggled offensively all year trying to get their running game started with their pro bowl RB Ezekiel Elliott. Their depleted offensive line with injuries and question marks has affected the running and passing game this season.
Defensively, Dallas has been stout most of the year riding DE Demarcus Lawrence, LB Jaylon Smith and LB Sean Lee for careers years. Sadly, for Dallas, Lee will be out for about a month with a hamstring injury. Lee has been bruised up most of his career and it’s a gut punch to the Cowboys that they will lose him for a long stretch. At 3-5, Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott said this game is a “must-win” for them. It’s a tall task for Dallas to go into a hostile environment for a primetime game and face a red hot QB in Carson Wentz who has a sleek new weapon.
General Manager Howie Roseman struck gold at the NFL trade deadline last week as the Eagles acquired pro bowler WR Golden Tate from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a third round pick for next year’s draft. Golden Tate is known as a great “after the catch” WR who can make game changing plays with his feet. Tate on the year has 517 receiving yards and 44 catches which lead his former team in both categories. Tate will fit in perfectly with the Eagles’ current weapons, playing the outside WR position across from Alshon Jeffery.
There are three major keys to this weekend’s game that will hopefully propel the Eagles to their fifth win. First, Carson Wentz against the Cowboys linebackers. Wentz is once again having a career year and statistically speaking, better than last year. In his six games, Wentz has 13 touchdowns, only two INTs and a whopping 70.7 completion percentage. Even though the team’s record doesn’t reflect the third-year QBs success, it’s still really fun to watch his play. It is not even a question anymore if he would be able to return to MVP form.
The young LB Jaylon Smith for Dallas has played very well so far this year, especially covering running backs out of the backfield. It’s always a chess match between QBs and LBs and it’s going to be a big one on Sunday night.
Second, Dak Prescott versus the injury riddled Eagles secondary. The Birds will be missing two starting cornerbacks Jalen Mills (foot) and Sidney Jones (hamstring), being forced to start second year CB Rasul Douglas and rookie CB Avonte Maddox.
Thankfully, the Cowboys passing game ranked in the bottom of the league. Dak ranks 33rd in the NFL is passing yards per game. It has been a steady decline for Prescott ever since his magical rookie season two years ago. This matchup will be key for the Eagles and being able to stop the air game downfield.
Finally, Ezekiel Elliott versus the Eagles’ run defense. Even through the struggles, the Eagles’ stout run defense has been great this year, ranking second in the NFL with 84 yards per game allowed. Now they face the task of facing a strong powerful RB in Elliot, who ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and the number one weapon for this Dallas offense.
My Prediction for the game:
The Eagles coming off their bye week added a very talented WR in Golden Tate to hopefully boost their offense to the same level as last year. This game sets up very well for the Eagles; coming off a bye, adding a supreme talent and having the home field advantage. I believe the Eagles will win this game by a wide margin because this Dallas team doesn’t match with the Eagles talent-wise. I say Eagles win 31-13
Conner Gabe is a second-year student majoring in media and culture and minoring in communications. CG864458@wcupa.edu