With the Dallas Cowboys set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, we are getting ready for yet another big game in the Dallas Cowboys plans for the 2018 playoffs. Like we've discussed every week for the last four weeks, this game is a must win as well.
If the Cowboys, who are only a game up on their biggest rival, can pull out the win, they'll be two games up on the Eagles with three games to play. And having the tie breaker over Philadelphia would essentially give the Cowboys a three game lead in the division. That's how big this game is for both teams. The Eagles win and they're still in the thick of the NFC East race. The Cowboys win and they have all but clinched the division. Dallas would need just one more win in their final three games after Sunday to clinch the division.
With the way they're playing right now, that seems like a foregone conclusion.
With that, here are some final thoughts on the game. Make sure to leave us your predictions for the game in the comment section.
Defensive Back Disaster
The Philadelphia Eagles, like they did in week 10 continue to struggle in the secondary due to injuries to a lot of their defensive backs. Corner Back Jalen Mills is questionable for Sunday's game with a knee injury, but they are already missing starting corner Ronald Darby who left the week 10 matchup with a knee injury as well.
From week 10 to week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, and the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles allowed an average of 310 passing yards per game. They were better in week 13 against Washington, but the Redskins were trotting out a combination of Colt McCoy and Mark Sanchez in the Eagles win this past Sunday.
Dak Prescott threw for 270 yards on 26 of 36 passing with a passer rating of 102.8. Prescott was only sacked four times as he threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown in their previous meeting.
With Amari Cooper better acclimated than he was in his second game with the Cowboys and Michael Gallup coming on strong, it should be a good day for the Dallas Cowboys passing attack on Sunday.
Ezekiel Elliott Dominating the Buffet Table
Elliott carried the ball 19 times for 151 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 36 yards and another score. Since Amari Cooper came to the Cowboys, Elliott is the second leading receiver on the team and the running game has been awesome.
Since the Dallas Cowboys trades for Amari Cooper and promoted Marc Colombo to offensive line coach five weeks ago, Elliott is averaging 106.2 yards per game rushing on 21.6 carries a game with three rushing TDs. He's added an average of 5.6 receptions per game for 49.6 yards and has another two receiving touchdowns. Prior to the by week moves, Elliott was averaging 88.4 rushing yards per game and 25 receiving yards and had only scored four total touchdowns in those seven games.
The Dallas Cowboys formula is a simple one. Get the running game going and then be efficient in the passing game. They've been both of those things over the four game winning streak and I see another big day for Elliott coming in this one. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have an answer for Ezekiel Elliott then and won’t have an answer on Sunday.
Defensive Dominance Remains Key
I don't think there were many Cowboys analysts or fans who saw the Cowboys defensive dominance of the Saints coming on Thursday Night Football. It was the definition of cautious optimism. Even if you thought the Cowboys could beat them, there wasn't much certainty. During the game as the defense was painting a masterpiece, I kept waiting for Drew Brees to perform a miracle like he's done so many times and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Cowboys defense just didn't allow it.
Getting pressure with four will be another key this week as the Eagles trot out some serious weapons in the passing game with Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffrey, Golden Tate, and Nelson Agohlor. The Cowboys linebackers and secondary will have a tough task covering those guys for an extended length of time if they’re unable to get consistent and significant pressure on Quarterback Carson Wentz.
Troy Aikman on the FOX postgame: You look at this game and what Dallas has been able to do… they're a better team right now than they were when they beat Philadelphia a few weeks ago.
Troy Aikman really hits the nail on the head with this one. The Dallas Cowboys are playing really good football on both sides of the football.
The offense is trending in the right direction, even if they only scored 13 against the Saints, they moved the football. The defense was downright dominant in their 13-10 win and has begun to create turnovers with greater regularity.
The Eagles are still a decent offensive team but are struggling on defense. They’re giving up a lot of yards in the ground and through the air and that doesn’t bode well when taking on a team that’s as good as it gets running the ball and is finding more explosive plays through the air.
Divisional games are always a bit strange, but I don’t see the Eagles hanging with the Cowboys this week.
Cowboys 27 – Eagles 17
Who you got?