DALLAS WEEK! Eagles vs Cowboys! The Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1) host the Dallas Cowboys (2-5) at Lincoln Financial Field for Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team. The Eagles squeaked out a late 4th quarter comeback win versus the New York Giants. Both teams are ravaged by injuries but still find each other in a game for first place in the weak NFC East. What are the Keys to the Game?
Eagles Defensive Line vs the Cowboys Offensive Line
The once great Dallas Cowboys offensive line is no more with the combination of age and injuries. The only familiar name is Zach Martin, returning from injury this week. The Eagles are tied for third in the league in sacks led by Brandon Graham (6 sacks) who is on his way to a pro-bowl year. He should be matched up with undrafted rookie, Terrence Steele. The Philadelphia Eagles defensive line as a strong advantage here across the board here. The Cowboys offensive line filled with rookies and inexperience could be in big trouble Sunday Night.
It is very likely that seventh-round rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci will make his first NFL Start on Sunday Night. The Cowboys offense has sputtered with Andy Dalton at the helm so I don’t know that this is the worst thing for Dallas. The offensive line has major pass protection issues in an offense that wants you to get the ball out quick. Ben is clearly no Dak Prescott but does provide some mobility that Dalton doesn’t have at this point of his career.
Jim Schwartz has had great success with the Eagles against rookie quarterbacks going 6-1-1. I think the Cowboys offense could be better with Ben compared to Dalton. Could it get any worse? Dallas has scored 13 points in two games. The Cowboys have too many weapons on offense to stay that bad.
Cowboys Run Game
The only shot the Cowboys have at winning this game is establishing the run. In the 2 games without Dak, Ezekiel Elliot has a total of 24 carries for 99 yards and 2 fumbles. He looks like an aged veteran though only 25 years old. The best way to help a a bad defense and an inexperienced line is to run the football and take time off of the clock. If they get can get Zeke going this changes the big game in a big way. The 25th ranked Eagles rushing defense giving up 4.5 yards a pop. The Eagles linebackers have major issues reading run vs pass and filling gaps. Lucky for them the Cowboys do not run any misdirection stuff. It would be smart for Mike McCarthy to install some of that for Sunday Night.
Eagles Run Game
The Cowboys have the worst rushing defense in the NFL giving up 1,248 yards on the ground with teams averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season. The Eagles average 5 yards a carry but are tied for 21st in the league in attempts. Their offensive line has injuries and has looked awful at times as well. Rumor has it the Jason Peters will start at left tackle and I am not sure if that is good or bad for the Eagles. Mile Sanders is listed as questionable as of today but it shouldn’t matter who the running back is against this defense. Doug Pederson and his group of offensive game planners need to run the football and not try to get too cute. The Redskins ran for 208 yards last week and they don’t really have a running back either.
The Eagles have been as high as 9.5 point favorites and as low as around 7 so the clear favorite here is the Birds. I do think after the embarrassment of not sticking up for their quarterback and a blow out loss that the Cowboys will actually show up this week. The Cowboys have big play receivers that will make plays against the Eagles back 7. This will be closer then Eagles fans think but the Eagles pull out the W.
Eagles 27 – Cowboys 20
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