Sole control of the NFC East is on the line in Week 7 as the Dallas Cowboys host the Philadelphia Eagles. One of these 3-3 teams will get the win and the division lead, and both are going to have to do it despite some significant injuries on their rosters.
Which team is going into the this game the most shorthanded? Let’s see what the final injury reports for this week revealed.
- CB Anthony Brown (hamstring) – OUT
- WR Amari Cooper (ankle/quad) – Questionable
- WR Randall Cobb (back) – Questionable
- OT Tyron Smith (ankle) – Questionable
- OT La’el Collins (knee) – Questionable
- C Joe Looney (back) – Questionable
- G Zack Martin (back/ankle) – Questionable
- DE Dorance Armstrong (neck) – Questionable
- CB Byron Jones (hamstring) – Questionable
Things were looking a lot worse earlier in the week when nearly all of these guys, except Armstrong and Martin, missed Wednesday’s practice. But by Friday everyone but Anthony Brown was able to participate in some capacity. Dallas isn’t ruling any of them out until they absolutely have to.
The unfortunate debate here is which absence, if it happens, most hurts the Cowboys. Does Amari Cooper mean more to the offense than Tyron Smith? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
Amari has said he plans on playing this week, and that will be huge if Randall Cobb is out again with his back injury. We saw last week how Tavon Austin and Cedrick Wilson were able to do some work in the offense, but they can only do so much without Cooper drawing that franchise WR attention.
On the offensive line, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins were able to practice both Thursday and Friday. That’s highly encouraging for their chances to play tomorrow. I think Dallas could be okay if Smith starts and Cam Fleming plays right tackle, but obviously having Collins out there is much more preferable.
One guy I’m not worried about is Zack Martin. He’s been gutting it out with nagging injuries for over a year now and didn’t miss a day of practice. He will be out there Sunday, and that’s vital to the Cowboys’ efforts of slowing down Fletcher Cox from the Eagles’ defensive line.
With Brown already out at cornerback missing Byron Jones as well would be a major blow. As excited as we are about Jourdan Lewis getting more playing time, Dallas only goes four-deep at the position. Backup C.J. Goodwin is a special teams stud but not a strong CB option. Hopefully Byron can go and keep the top three solvent.
- RB Darren Sproles (quad) – OUT
- WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen) – OUT
- OT Jason Peters (knee) – OUT
- DT Tim Jernigan (foot) – OUT
- LB Nigel Bradham (ankle) – OUT
- CB Avonte Maddox (concussion, neck) – OUT
- CB Ronald Darby (hamstring) – Questionable
The Eagles have confirmed five starters who will be out this week. As much as we’ve been stressing the Cowboys’ injuries, Philly has its own problems and they should have a major impact on the game.
DeSean Jackson’s return to the Eagles has been frustrated with injuries. He’s only appeared in two of their six games in 2019 and is about to miss this important showdown with Dallas. Philadelphia had hoped Jackson would bring some explosion to their passing game, but they’re going to have to keep waiting.
Another major blow on offense is losing left tackle Jason Peters. While the Eagles do have first-round rookie Andre Dillard stepping in to play, his first NFL start comes against the red hot Robert Quinn. The Cowboys veteran DE has five sacks in just four games so far in 2019.
On defense, a starter at every level is going to miss the game. After already losing DT Malik Jackson to injured reserve, now his backup Tim Jernigan will also be out with a foot injury. As long as Dallas can handle Fletcher Cox’s presence, this could set up Ezekiel Elliott for a big rushing day.
At linebacker, Philly will be very shorthanded with starter Nigel Bradham going out the same week that they cut starter Zach Brown. The rest of their LB group is inexperienced and has been mostly special teams players. The Cowboys are sure to look for ways to exploit this weakness.
Starting CB Avonte Maddox will miss this game as the other starter, Ronald Darby, returns from a three-game absence. That will put third-year players Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas into focus; they were the Eagles’ second and third-round picks in the 2017 draft. It could also means some playing time for former Cowboy Orlando Scandrick, who is currently near the bottom of Philly’s CB Depth chart.