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Inside The Numbers: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles for NFC East

The Dallas Cowboys (7-7) have a win and clinch opportunity today as they face the Philadelphia Eagles (7-7). Of the Cowboys win, they’ll clinch the NFC East. If they lose, they’ll have to win next week against the Washington Redskins and hope either the Eagles lose or they win the tiebreaker over the Eagles.

The Cowboys have been really good against the Eagles since the beginning of 2018 winning three in a row. They won the season finale in 2017, but the Eagles were resting a lot of their starters as they already had the NFC East and a first-round bye locked up. The Cowboys swept the season series last year, helping them go 10-6 and win the NFC East.

The seasons have gone oddly for both teams. The Dallas Cowboys hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record until week 15 against the Los Angeles Rams. The Philadelphia Eagles have beaten four teams that the Cowboys failed to pick up a win against; the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills.

Much of how this game goes will come down to the effectiveness of the two quarterbacks; Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz. Because the Cowboys and Eagles share one of the most heated rivalries in the NFL and the two quarterbacks were drafted in the same 2016 draft class, the debate continues to rage over which quarterback is better.

This game, likely the biggest of Carson Wentz’s career at this point, will be huge for the reputation of both quarterbacks despite the NFL being the most “team reliant” sport there is.

Here’s how the two quarterbacks stack up.

Take of the Tape: Dak Prescott vs Carson Wentz

Mike White on Twitter

Fixted for the culture

1

On Sunday, Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur will pass Tight End Jason Witten for most consecutive games played for the Dallas Cowboys with 236. Ladouceur’s active games played streak is the longest such streak in the NFL. Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers has the second-longest active games played streak at 223 and Punter Sam Koch is third at 222.

2

If the Dallas Cowboys are able to win today in Philadelphia, they’ll clinch the NFC East for the second consecutive season. This will mark the first time since it won the NFC East five straight seasons from 1992 to 1996.

It will also mark the first consecutive winner of the NFC East since the Philadelphia Eagles won four straight in the early 2000’s.

3

Among quarterbacks with at least 319 dropbacks in 2019, Dak Prescott has the third fewest sacks this season. Each of the quarterbacks in front of Prescott, Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes, have missed games this season due to injury. Drew Brees has only played in nine games this season and Patrick Mahomes has played in just 12 games this season.

If you look strictly percent of dropbacks in which they’ve been sacked, Dak Prescott is behind only Drew Brees in sack rate. Prescott has been sacked on just 3.2% of his dropbacks while Drew Brees has been sacked on 2.8% of his dropbacks.

That’s a tremendous improvement from Dak’s 2018 when he was sacked 56 times. That was the second-highest sack total in 2018. He was sacked on 9.1% of his dropbacks last season.

There are several things you can point to when discussing Dak Prescott’s year to year improvement from last season, but perhaps the most important one is the sack rate.

4

Even after a really good game week 15 against the Los Angeles Rams, Quarterback Dak Prescott dropped to fourth in the NFL in QBR. Brees played a near-perfect game to pass Prescott.

The other two quarterbacks ahead of Brees and Prescott are MVP front runner Lamar Jackson and 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes.

5

When running the football, Ezekiel Elliott is the fifth highest-graded running back per Pro Football Focus in 2019. He sits behind Nick Chubb, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs, and Dalvin Cook.

6

Since 2016 Ezekiel Elliott has recorded six games of 150 total yards and two touchdowns, tied with Carolina Panthers Running Back Christian McCaffrey.

The Dallas Cowboys have won six of the eight games they’ve played in Lincoln Financial Field since 2011, the most by any opponent on the Eagles’ home field.

7

Amari Cooper’s seven touchdown receptions of 20 or more yards since week nine of 2019 ranks second in the NFL to Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cooper’s played excellent and has found an ability to make plays down the field against the Eagles secondary.

7.4

You probably have heard that the Dallas Cowboys have led the NFL in third down conversion rate for much of the season. What you probably don’t know, is that they lead the league in yards per play on third down with 7.4.

8

Carson Wentz has the eighth-most sacks in the NFL this season with 35.

10

Among quarterbacks with at least 319 dropbacks in 2019, Carson Wentz is 10th in the NFL with his seven interceptions thrown. Only nine players have thrown fewer interceptions.

14

Since 2010, only Luke Kuechly (18) has more interceptions at the linebacker position than Sean Lee’s 14.

21

In three games since coming to the Dallas Cowboys, Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has recorded 21 receptions. He’s had some excellent games against the Philadelphia Eagles secondary, including a 10 catch, 217 yard, three touchdown day against the Eagles in week 14 of last year, which essentially clinched the NFC East for the Dallas Cowboys.

Regular Season Table
Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
Rk Year Date Week Tm Opp Result Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Ctch% Y/Tgt
2 2018 2018-11-11 10 DAL @ PHI W 27-20 10 6 75 12.50 0 60.0% 7.50
3 2018 2018-12-09 14 DAL PHI W 29-23 13 10 217 21.70 3 76.9% 16.69
4 2019 2019-10-20 7 DAL PHI W 37-10 5 5 106 21.20 0 100.0% 21.20
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/21/2019.

Cooper’s been up and down this year, but he’s been dealing with injuries this year. Perhaps facing a team that he’s had so much success against will help put any doubts about his ability and what he means to the offense to rest.

34

The number of Dak Prescott’s passes dropped by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019, which leads the NFL. Carson Wentz is third in the league with 30 dropped attempts.

40.5

The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL in yards per drive with 40.5. The Eagles, however, are 20th in the NFL with 30.4 yards per drive.

42

The Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to do something they haven’t done in 42 years, lead the NFL in total yards.

Their 11 games of at least 400 yards of offenses a Dallas Cowboys record and leads the NFL in 2019.

56

No team in the NFL has allowed fewer negative plays on offense than the Dallas Cowboys’ 56 negative plays.

Dak Prescott has been excellent avoiding the sack and Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best runners in the NFL at turning a potentially negative play into positive yardage gained.

61

With 61 yards over the next two games, Jason Witten can become the 19th player in NFL history with 13,000 yards.

Dak Prescott’s 61 completions of more than 20 yards is second in the NFL in 2019. He’s third in the NFL in touchdowns of 20 yards or more with 11.

84

That’s the difference in the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles’ point differentials this season. When the Dallas Cowboys have won this year, they’ve won handily going 7-0 in games they’ve scored more than 30 points and 0-7 when they’ve scored fewer than 30 points. The Eagles are 5-1 when they score more than 30 points in a game and 2-6 when scoring fewer than 30 points.

113.4

Per the Dallas Cowboys Public Relations office, the Philadelphia Eagles are allowing a passer rating of 113.4 when blitzing the quarterback.

More Numbers

  • With four sacks on the season, Cornerback Jourdan Lewis is tied for first with the most sacks at the cornerback position this season.
  • Running back Ezekiel Elliott is second in the NFL in runs for first downs and third in the NFL in runs of 10 or more yards in 2019.
  • Michael Gallup needs 89 more receiving yards to hit 1,000 yards on the season. If Gallup is able to achieve that landmark yardage total, it will be the first time the Dallas Cowboys have had two players with more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Dez Bryant and Jason Witten accomplished that feat in 2012.
  • Dak Prescott is 12-5 in his NFL career when playing on natural grass. In Philadelphia, Dak Prescott the Dallas Cowboys are 2-1 with Dak Prescott at quarterback.
  • If the Dallas Cowboys are able to beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, it will be the fourth time in the last six years that the Dallas Cowboys have won the NFC East.
  • Linebacker Jaylon Smith is third in the NFL in tackles and eighth in the league in Pro Football Focus’ “stops,” which measures plays made by the defender that prevents the offense from gaining the necessary yardage for it to be considered a “successful play.”

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

In what amounts to an NFC East title game for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon, it’s a game that’s there for the taking. In many ways, they’re the better team especially considering the number of injuries the Eagles have been dealing with on the offensive side of the ball. Between Nelson Agohlor and Alshon Jeffrey at wide receiver and Lane Johnson at right tackle, the Eagles will be missing a lot of important pieces. At the same time, the Dallas Cowboys are as healthy as they could be, though they’ll be missing Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

For the Cowboys, all it takes is playing to the level that they’re capable of on both sides of the ball.

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John Williams

Written by John Williams

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.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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