Date & Time: December 27th – 4:25 P.M.
Location: Arlington, TX – AT&T Stadium
Philadelphia: Fletcher Cox (Questionable), Cameron Johnston (Questionable), Duke Riley (Questionable), Josh Sweat (OUT), Richard Rodgers (OUT), Kevon Seymour (OUT), Derek Barnett (OUT)
Dallas: Ezekiel Elliott (Questionable), Leighton Vander Esch (OUT), Antwaun Woods (OUT), Xavier Woods (OUT), Rashard Robinson (OUT)
It’s another installment in storied Eagles-Cowboys rivalry. Earlier in the year the Eagles defeated Dallas, 23-9. Since that week 8 matchup so much has changed with these two teams, most importantly, both teams have different starters under center. Let’s get into the matchup preview:
The Eagles have found rhythm over the last two weeks with Jalen Hurts at QB. The team looks as if they’ve found a pulse. They’ve moved the ball with fluidity both on the ground and through the air. Hurts threat as a runner has caused opposing defenses to key in on him as a runner which has opened up things for Miles Sanders who’s rushed for a combined 179 yards over the past two games. The offense as a whole had it’s 2nd best day of production on the season with 422 yards gained (305 – passing/117 – rushing). Against Dallas, this offensive production should continue as Dallas ranks 23rd in yards allowed per game and 30th in total defense. As an extension of this, the Philadelphia pass catchers have come alive. Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, and Greg Ward have all seen an uptick in production. The Eagles will also get DeSean Jackson back in this game.
Against a Dallas defense that ranks 32nd against the run, this should be a centric Miles Sanders game and the threat of Jalen Hurts will only add to the potential production that Sanders should have.
Defensively, the Eagles will be without both Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett in this game. Expect Malik Jackson to get some looks at defensive end and Joe Ostman, Genard Avery and Vinny Curry to rotate and the DE spot opposite Pro-Bowl DE Brandon Graham.
The first time these two teams matched up this season, Ben DiNucci was the starter for Dallas. DiNucci had never started a game and that in fact, would be his only career start. Andy Dalton has returned and is now in command of the Dallas offense. Since returning to the lineup, Dalton has led Dallas to a 3-2 record. They rank 12th in passing yards and have averaged 29.3 points over their last 3 games which ranks 8th in the NFL. On the year, Dallas has also allowed the 14th highest pressure rate and 12th most sacks in the NFL. This Eagles defense has the ability to get after quarterbacks. Andy Dalton gets a bit gun-shy when dealing with pressure and this game could get ugly. For the Dallas defense, as stated, they’re ranked 32nd against the run and they’ve struggled all year defending mobile QBs. Lamar Jackson had 13 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown in week 13, Kyler Murray had 10 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown in week 6, and Russell Wilson had 6 carries for 22 yards in week 3
Darius Slay will be back in the lineup this week and he will likely follow Amari Cooper all afternoon. In their previous matchups, Slay has held Cooper to just 4 catches for 42 yards. Opposite of Slay, Michael Jacquet will likely draw the speedy Michael Gallup in coverage and Nickell Robey-Coleman will be tasked with covering CeeDee Lamb.
This game, like last week, has to potential to turn into a shootout. It will be a much different matchup than it was the first time around. A lot has changed and a lot has improved on both sides. Both teams strengths are areas of weakness for the other.
The Eagles need this win to stay alive in a potential playoff hunt (as well as a Carolina win over Washington) so the motivation is there on their side and Dallas isn’t totally out of it but they do rank last in the division. More than likely, they are just trying to play spoiler to a division rival. Ultimately, I think that looking at the way the Eagles have moved the ball on the ground the last two matchups will translate and lead them to a win.
Bold Prediction: An Eagles cornerback gets an interception
Pick: Eagles 28, Dallas 21