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Final Thoughts and Prediction for Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles

John Williams

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Eagles vs Redskins Tonight; What Outcome is Best for Cowboys?

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

In their previous matchup with the Eagles in week 10, Ezekiel Elliott feasted like it was Thanksgiving Day.

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.

They've been getting good games out of Byron Jones all year and Anthony Brown has shown up a lot as well, but this was by far the best game of the season for Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch continue to put on a show in the middle of the Cowboys defense and the defensive line is figuring out how to get pressure with just four rushers.

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.

Prediction

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

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? 



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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Dallas Cowboys

What Could June 1st Mean for 2019 Dallas Cowboys?

Jess Haynie

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Tyrone Crawford

Some consider June 1st to be a critical date on every year's NFL calendar; it's own new wave of free agency. But will the 2019 Dallas Cowboys add any talent to the pool, and could they be interested in any players who get released by their current teams?

As you likely know already, teams may choose to cut players after June 1st so that they can defer some of the dead money from their contracts to the following season. It allows them to maximize salary cap savings in the current year.

For over a decade now, the NFL has also allowed teams to release up to two players prior to June 1st but still give them that designation. The team doesn't get the cap relief until June, but the player gets a chance to find a new home during the primary free agency period.

There have been almost no early June-1st cuts so far this year by any NFL team. That may lead you to believe that there will be similar inactivity when we actually hit that date on the calendar. But that may not be a very good tell.

Because teams don't enjoy any benefit from the early June-1st designation, except whatever good feeling comes from doing right by a former player, we hardly see it in action. Teams would much rather carry a player until after the draft and see what their need levels truly is before releasing them. It's rendered the early provision almost meaningless.

For the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, the one player whose situation and contract speak to a possible June-1st move is Defensive Lineman Tyrone Crawford.

Tyrone Crawford

Dallas Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford

Crawford's deal runs thru 2020, which is key since you need at least two year's left on the contract to utilize the June-1st deferment. A player with only one year left, like WR Allen Hurns, has the same cap relief regardless of when you cut him.

Releasing Tyrone Crawford either after June 1st or with the early designation would push $1.1 million of his total $4.2 million in dead money to 2020. It would increase the total cap savings from $5.9 million to $7 million for the Cowboys' 2019 salary cap.

Now Crawford is one of those guys, a valued veteran and team captain, who you'd think a team would've cut earlier if that was their intention. But Tyrone's value to the Cowboys has been fluid throughout the offseason.

The value went up when we found out Randy Gregory was suspended again. It remained high while contract negotiations with DeMarcus Lawrence dragged until early April. Crawford's ability to play multiple spots on the line meant he could be back in a starting role at DE in 2019.

But then Dallas re-signed Lawrence, traded for veteran Robert Quinn, signed Kerry Hyder, and drafted Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks. Throw in Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong coming back and there are already plenty of players at DE, especially if Gregory manages to get reinstated.

But even if Crawford isn't needed at end, what about defensive tackle?

Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill

The Cowboys spent their earliest 2019 draft pick, 58th overall, on DT Trysten Hill. He projects to play the same "3-technique" position that Crawford normally would.

On top of Hill, Dallas is bringing back Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, and Daniel Ross form last season. They also signed Christian Covington, a fifth-year veteran from the Texans.

Again, the numbers are pretty tight and the positions are full of younger talent. The Cowboys could easily conclude that they have plenty of DL options at this point and would benefit more from salary cap relief than from Tyrone Crawford's continued services.

Plus, we haven't even gotten into the legal issues that could cause Crawford to get suspended for a few game in 2019.

As far as current talent goes, the June-1st conversation really begins and ends with Tyrone Crawford. Other veterans who may not make it to the final roster, such as Hurns, Jeff Heath, or Tavon Austin, only have one year left on their contracts. June 1st changes nothing for them.

There could be a few interesting names that come available when other teams make cuts. Again, they could have made these moves well before now. But NFL franchises are generally going to do what's best for them, and waiting for the dust to settle from the draft allows for more informed decision-making.

One name we've seen tossed around a lot is DT Gerald McCoy from Tampa Bay, who would be an immediate upgrade over any of Dallas' current tackles. But would losing Crawford to add McCoy really be that cost-effective?

The market to really keep an eye on is at running back. The current free agency pool had dwindled down to Jay Ajayi, who is unlikely to accept a minor role behind Ezekiel Elliott, and a bunch of retreads. Perhaps other teams' cuts could yield a few more desirable prospects to help our RB depth.

For 2019 at least, June 1st may not mean very much. And it may mean even less for the Dallas Cowboys, who already could field a competitive team this year without any additional moves. They may be focusing their cap dollars solely on new contracts for Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Zeke, and others the rest of this offseason.

Outside of potentially releasing or trading Tyrone Crawford, we may not see any major moves in Dallas until final cuts.



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Dallas Cowboys

Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason

Jess Haynie

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Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason

The draft is done, DeMarcus Lawrence is re-signed, and the bulk of free agency activity has passed. The 2019 Dallas Cowboys have more than enough talent to compete this season, but there is still one last move I'd wish they'd make. Veteran kicker Matt Bryant, still one of the NFL's best even at almost 44 years old, could be the final piece to this offseason puzzle.

The Atlanta Falcons' longtime kicker, and franchise scoring leader, was not retained this year despite another standout season. He made 20-of-21 field goals, with a long of 57, in 2018.

Why Atlanta didn't keep Bryant hasn't been confirmed, but perhaps the team was just looking to avoid hanging on one year to late. But Matt, who ranks eight all-time in FG accuracy (86.2%), doesn't think he's done. He tweeted the following from his personal account in February:

"Over this past year I’ve been asked numerous times about retirement and how I feel. Well, I’m not retiring and I feel fine and plan on feeling even better with some changes to my offseason program!

As of now Matt Bryant remains a free agent, and I think the Dallas Cowboys should be very interested.

If you go up and down this Dallas roster, kicker is arguably its biggest liability. Brett Maher had some highlight moments in 2018, and won two Player of the Week awards, but he also was one of the league's worst kickers in overall FG accuracy.

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

The problem with Maher is that you can't teach his best skill; the accuracy from the high 50s and even low 60s is incredible. It's a true weapon that you have a hard time letting go of, which was evident last year when Dallas dumped Dan Bailey for Maher at final cuts.

But Matt Bryant might be the best of both worlds. He's been a 91% FG kicker overall this last three years and has made 18-of-22 attempts from 50 yards out or more.

Maher only made 80.6% of his kicks in 2018. He went from 6/7 from long range, but that tells you how shaky he was from closer in.

Those closer kicks are worth the same three points that the longer ones are, and how'd you like it if Dallas lost a critical game because their kicker couldn't make a 35-yarder?

I get the fear factor with an older guy like Matt Bryant. Heck, the Cowboys let Dan Bailey go when he was still just 30. But Bryant hasn't shown the red flags that Bailey did; he's still kicking as well as he ever has.

If nothing else, Dallas has the cap space and circumstances to bring in Bryant for a true competition with Maher. If Brett has improved his game and keeps his job, then that's awesome. But why not add some pressure now, though a position battle with one of the all-time greats, and see what Maher's really made of?

Seasons have been made, and shattered, by one kick. Unless the Cowboys have good reason for confidence in Brett Maher's development from last year, they could be carrying a significant liability into a year where they're trying to push for a Super Bowl.

If Matt Bryant could provide even a small amount of additional security, isn't he worth it?



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Player News

Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend

Jess Haynie

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Mike Weber

Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.

One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.

Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.

A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.

Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.

If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.

Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys RB Mike Weber

The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.

Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.

This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.

Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.

But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.



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