Date & Time: September 27th – 8:15pm
Location: Arlington, TX – AT&T Stadium
– Philadelphia Eagles Injury Report (Friday)
- S Rodney McLeod (knee)
- OT Jordan Mailata (knee)
- RB Boston Scott
- LB Davion Taylor (calf)
– Dallas Cowboys Injury Report (Friday)
- DE Dorance Armstrong (ankle)
- OT Ty Nsekhe (illness)
- DE Carlos Watkins (knee)
- S Donovan Wilson (groin)
The Philadelphia Eagles are set to to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in a battle of 1-1 teams. This divisional game could prove to be a defining matchup for the Eagles in terms of the course their season will take. After this week the Eagles schedule gets tough. The next 4 weeks they take on the Chiefs, the undefeated Panthers, the defending super bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and travel to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders.
The Eagles come into this Monday Night matchup off a home opening loss to the San Fransisco 49ers, in what was a very winnable game for Philadelphia. This game will be a test of this team’s resolve. Can they correct mistakes from a previous week and battle back against adversity?
The Cowboys come into this game fresh off a last second road win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
What the Eagles have to do to win?
Last week there was a bit of an emphasis placed on the deep ball for the Eagles. If you remove Quez Watkins 91-yard reception (which resulted in zero points), No Eagles pass catcher had over 26 yards receiving. That is a losing recipe. The things the Eagles offense excelled at in week one (screens, RPOs, short passes to receivers in space) were no-where to be found in week 2. Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz combined for 3 catches for 31 yards. Whether it was a lack of chemistry, timing issues, or simply lackluster play calling from Nick Sirianni, the offense struggled tremendously.
This week they are matched up against a Dallas pass defense that has allowed the 3rd most passing yards in the league. This should be a game that allows the Eagles offense to get back on track. In addition to this, the Cowboys injuries on defense furthers this point. In this game, Dallas will be without their best coverage linebacker, Keanu Neal and their best pass rusher, DE DeMarcus Lawrence. The achilles heel of this Dallas team is undoubtedly their pass defense.
Jalen Hurts has to be better as well. Much has been made this week about Hurts’ arm strength and whether or not he has the strength to push the ball down the field. As we saw on the 91 yard completion to Quez Watkins, he can get the ball where it needs to go.
In week one, Hurts went from having the lowest average intended air yards to the highest in week 2. I truly believe it’s a timing/mechanical issue more than arm strength. Hurts’ decision making with the ball must be better as well. Throws over the middle or out in the flats for easy completions have to be made. Every play doesn’t have to be a homerun.
Offensively, the Eagles have to get back to playing complementary football and placing their players in positions to succeed.
Defensively, a major key will be the continued pressure from defensive tackles, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox, along with the secondary limiting the big play like they’ve done in the first two games.
4 Storylines to Watch
1) Eagles OL vs Dallas DL
One of the things that has been talked about ad-nauseum in the lead up to this game has been the fact that the Eagles offensive line maintains a 50 pound advantage over the Dallas defensive line.
Dallas’ defensive line is made up of two rookies (DT Osa Odighizuwa and DE Micah Parsons), as well journeymen, DE Tarell Bashem and DTs Quinton Bohanna/Brent Urban. In other words, the Eagles should be able to protect Jalen Hurts. Along the Eagles offensive line, they will be without starting LT Jordan Mailata who is out with a lower body injury and starting RG Brandon Brooks who left last week’s game with an upper body injury. In their places, LT Andre Dillard and G/C Landon Dickerson will get the start(s).
If there was any game for an OL to get acclimated and settled in, it’s a game like this one where the opposing DL isn’t that big of a strength for them.
2) Eagles Weapons vs. Dallas Pass Defense
Just looking around the Eagles depth chart, there is a ton of talent that can excel with the ball in space. Kenneth Gainwell, DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert, Quez Watkins, Miles Sanders, etc. are all players that can excel when used correctly. It is almost malpractice to not utilize these players to their strengths, which we saw a ton of in week 1.
Against a pass defense with lackluster pass coverage outside of starting CB Trevon Diggs, the Eagles weapons should feast in this one and they should be able to keep pace with the weapons Dallas has on the outside.
3) Nick Sirianni vs. Himself (and Dan Quinn)
This will be a bit of a sort of ‘get back’ week for Nick Sirianni. Last game wasn’t his best showing as an offensive play caller. Almost every decision was questioned and the result on the field left a lot to be desired. The Eagles defense kept them in the game but the offense failed miserably to capitalize on the numerous opportunities they were awarded. Majority of that blame can be placed at the feet of Nick Sirianni.
In this game, the involvement of tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz must be of the utmost importance. Overall, Sirianni has to allow deep shots to come within the flow of the game rather than, continuously forcing them. Allow Jalen Hurts to settle in on offense with some quick and intermediate level throws to his receivers in space (utilize mesh concepts, rub routes, WR screens, levels concepts and crossers).
Against a new defensive system in Dallas with Dan Quinn at the helm, Sirianni must be on top of his game as Quinn’s defense sits atop the league with a +4 turnover ratio through the first 2 weeks of the season.
4) The Eagles pass defense
This unit has limited the big plays in a major way. Primarily utilizing a two high zone look, opportunities for deep passes have not been there for opposing offenses. While this is the greatest matchup the unit has seen to date in this young season, the facts are the facts. They’ve allowed just two plays over 20 yards through two games. But they are matched up against a duo, in Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb who have the wherewithal to absolutely wreck games. Darius Slay and Steve Nelson will have their hands full.
Cooper is dealing with a rib injury, so it may be something to watch in this one.
I’ve truly struggled with this game all week. I’ve gone back and forth all week long. The Cowboys have an explosive pass catching duo and a dynamic running back duo in Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard, but the Eagles have stifled both the run and pass early on. The Eagles have shown that they can control games and play good enough defense to keep games close. Dallas has looked explosive on offense but the Eagles have shown they can somewhat contain an ‘explosive’ offense.
The biggest thing in this game for me comes down to the resolve of this Eagles team. I believe in the gumpshun of Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. I think they battle back and win their first divisional game in a bit of a shootout.
Pick: Eagles, 28 – Dallas, 24
Bold Prediction: Darius Slay picks off Dak Prescott twice