The Dallas Cowboys enter the final week of the 2021 NFL season having clinched the NFC East and at worst the four seed in the playoffs with an 11-5 record. It's a possibility they could go up the three seed, and with a mini-miracle, reclaim the two seed they squandered in Week 17 by losing to the Arizona Cardinals.
Dallas hits the road in Week 18 to face their hated rival the Philadelphia Eagles who have also clinched a playoff spot. The Cowboys planned for their starters to play to get some continuity before the postseason. Cornerback Trevon Diggs, Safety Jayron Kearse, and backup Running Back Tony Pollard won't be on the field though as all three were ruled out on Friday.
#Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs (illness), S Jayron Kearse (hamstring) and RB Tony Pollard (foot) will not travel with the team to Philadelphia, and all have been ruled out for the game.
Diggs missing this game means he won't get a shot to break the franchise record for interceptions in a season. However, it's been a season to remember for Diggs as he's snagged a league-leading 11 interceptions and registered 21 passes defended which rank second. Also, Diggs has returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Kearse has been a godsend to the Cowboys' defense. Once looked at as a depth signing, Kearse has brought stability to the safety position with his leadership and consistent play. He leads the Cowboys in tackles with 101 (career-high) and set career highs in interceptions (2) and passes defended (10).
The six-year veteran is on a one-year deal and will certainly be one of the top priorities for the Cowboys in free agency.
Pollard is the Cowboys' homerun threat in the running game. His electric burst and open field speed have been the perfect complement to Ezekiel Elliott and his bruising style of running. Pollard has averaged 5.5 yards per attempt this season and he also provides another weapon in the passing game.
The former fourth-round pick has gained over 1,000 all-purpose yards (719 rushing, 337 receiving) which is rare for a backup running back.
Left Tackle Tyron Smith, Linebacker Micah Parsons, and Cornerback Anthony Brown will also miss the Cowboys' season finale after testing positive for COVID. Fortunately, every player who will be out on Saturday is expected to be ready for the postseason.