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Game Notes

By the Numbers: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

John Williams

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Predicting Cowboys Team Leaders for 2017
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) come to town in what is a pivotal game for your Dallas Cowboys (5-4). The teams have reversed roles from the 2016 season and Dallas is looking at the real possibility of missing the playoffs if the injury woes continue to hit them at key positions.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

November 13th, 2017: - Eagles are 8-1 - Cowboys are 5-4, after a loss in Atlanta A year ago today? November 13th, 2016: - Cowboys are 8-1 - Eagles are 5-4, coincidentally after a win against Atlanta A lot can change in a year.

The most important stat I can give you now is that the Dallas Cowboys sit three games behind the Philadelphia Eagles with seven games to play.

An insurmountable lead?

Not typically, but with the way the Eagles have played this year, it's difficult to see a scenario where they don't win the NFC East. For the Cowboys to have a chance at winning the division, they have to win this game. Dak Prescott and company can't afford to fall four games back in the division.

In the wild card standings, America's Team is one game behind the Seattle Seahawks for the second wild card. So don't let the naysayers tell you that the Cowboys are finished. It's further from the truth.

On a positive side, Dallas leads the all-time series with a record of 65-51 (56%). Jason Garrett's record against the Philadelphia Eagles as the head coach is 7-7, which is pretty Jason Garrett like.

The Dallas Cowboys have work to do. With that, lets look at the statistics surrounding this all-important matchup.

Takeaway Tuesday: 2

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

1

At 8-1, the Philadelphia Eagles have the best record in the NFL, let alone the NFC. Quarterback Carson Wentz is leading the NFL in touchdowns, is second in touchdown percentage, and third in quarterback rating. He's having a tremendous season.

2

The Philadelphia Eagles, led by quarterback Carson Wentz are the second highest scoring team in the NFL, second only to the Los Angeles Rams. After a season in which the 2016 NFL Draft's first and second overall picks struggled, Jared Goff and Wentz now have their teams leading the NFL in scoring.

Further evidence that we shouldn't overreact about a bad quarter, bad game, or even a bad season.

3.6

Philadelphia's run defense is only allowing 3.6 yards per carry, which is fourth in the NFL. They've only allowed one 100 yard rusher this season and have held seven of their nine opponents under 80 yards on the ground.

4

As impressive as Wentz has been in the passing game, the running game has been equally impressive, led by LeGarrette Blount. As a team they've rushed for the fourth most yards in the league. They were a plodding rushing team with Blount, but have received a boost from former Cowboys draft crush Jay Ajayi, who ran for 77 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. They are a balanced team.

Dak Prescott Should Be In The MVP Conversation

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

5

Dak Prescott's five rushing touchdowns are the most at the quarterback position and only two off the lead of Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, and Mark Ingram.

Quarterbacks Cam Newton and DeShone Kizer, who sit behind Dak with four rushing touchdowns, are only averaging 4.9 and 5.0 yards per carry. Dak is averaging a robust 7.4 yards per carry on 32 attempts.

Carson Wentz is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 44 carries.

6

Philadelphia's +6 turnover differential sits sixth in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys' +2 is good enough for 12th in the league. Both Carson Wentz (5) and Dak Prescott (4) have done well to not throw it to the other team.

8

Eagles CB Patrick Robinson is eighth in the NFL in passes defensed with 11. He's only two off the leader. Jourdan Lewis, who leads the Dallas Cowboys in the same category, has only registered six.

9

Philadelphia has allowed the ninth most passing yards in the NFL this season, but they've only allowed 14 passing touchdowns, tied for 15th in the league.

10

In points allowed, the Eagles sit 10th in the NFL having given up 179 or an average of 19.88 points per game. Dallas has now dropped to 18th after giving up 27 to the Atlanta Falcons and are giving up an average of 22.78 points per game.

11.5

DeMarcus Lawrence regained the top spot in the NFL with his sack of Matt Ryan on Sunday. With 11.5 sacks through nine games, Lawrence is on pace for 20.44 sacks this season. He'll have a good shot at picking up a couple more this Sunday. As I mentioned above, Philly has allowed the eighth most sacks in the NFL this season. If Lawrence wants to keep the single season sack record within reach, he'll need to pick up the pace a bit.

21

Zach Ertz, who is the leading receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles coming into this game--and has more receiving yards than Dez Bryant--ranks 21st in the NFL in yards and 17th in receptions overall. Among tight ends, only Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots have more receiving yards. Only Jack Doyle from the Indianapolis Colts and Kelce have more receptions.

Byron Jones, you're up.

23

While Wentz has done a number on opposing defenses, those defenses have also sacked him 23 times, which is good for the 8th most in the NFL. Time for David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence to go to the buffet.

29

The Eagles' 29 first downs allowed in the running game are the fewest in the NFL. This doesn't bode well for a team that is hampered on the offensive line and missing All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Cowboys Defense Better Or Worse Then Last Season?

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

35

Dallas allows 35 points per game when Sean Lee is inactive. After he left the game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Cowboys allowed 27 points. Let's just say that without Sean Lee, the Dallas defense struggles a bit.

42

Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are tied for the team lead in receptions with 42, though Dez has had 28 more targets than Witten.

53.1

At 53.1 yards per game, wide receiver Dez Bryant leads the Dallas Cowboys. That's a pretty low number for a team leader. He and Dak haven't been able to connect downfield, but they are getting more comfortable underneath.

61.4

Philadelphia has allowed a completion percentage of 61.4%. They've allowed the most attempts and the most completions in the NFL. This looks like one of those games where Dak will be asked to throw the ball 40 times.

Looking on the Bright Side of an Ugly Dallas Cowboys Loss

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

76.4

Among players with 40 or more receptions, Jason Witten's 76.4 catch percentage ranks seventh in the NFL. The only non-running back that is in front of the future NFL Hall of Famer; wide receiver Golden Tate of the Detroit Lions.

96.3

Dak Prescott's passer rating has him 11th in the NFL at the moment. He's been trending up for more than a month. Hopefully, Tyron Smith is back this week so Dak can get back to slinging it around comfortably, because the run game is going to have some difficulties.

Bonus Stats

  • The Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys are neck and neck in offensive yards per play at 5.7 and 5.6, which put them sixth and seventh respectively in the NFL.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, again, they are nearly identical with the Philadelphia Eagles at 5.1 yards per play and the Dallas Cowboys at 5.2.

If there were ever a midseason game that is a must-win, this seems like one. They can do it, but they'll need a little health to be on their side. Don't forget to check out our Staff Picks later this week.

With that, Let's Go Cowboys!!!



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.

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons

The Dallas Cowboys are returning home for Thanksgiving with a 5-5 record, needing to earn road wins at Philadelphia and Atlanta in the last two weeks to do so. Sunday's revenge win at the Falcons did not come easy, as the Cowboys conceded their first touchdown in the final two minutes of regulation to tie the game.

Missed opportunities in the red zone and penalties all had a say in the Cowboys needing a walk off Brett Maher field goal to win. Running Back Ezekiel Elliott once again sparked the offense in the second half, as the Cowboys defense assured this game wouldn't be a shootout in the first 30 minutes.

Here are my observations on the Cowboys latest thrilling win, greatly increasing their chances at reclaiming the top spot in the NFC East considering the Redskins home loss to the Texans.

  • A great down-the-line play from rookie Dorance Armstrong on the Falcons' opening possession to set up DeMarcus Lawrence's first sack.

The Cowboys came into this game thin across the defensive line. Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins and Defensive End Dorance Armstrong really took advantage of the opportunity, pushing the pocket against Matt Ryan and freeing up the Cowboys linebackers to be themselves.

Lawrence's sack was the play that got the Cowboys off the field on third down, but Armstrong meeting Ito Smith in the hole for no gain was as big of a play on second down. The Falcons were smart to test the interior of the Cowboys defense and use the power run to set up their vertical passing game, but Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard simply had their guys ready to play.

If Collins and Armstrong can sustain their high-energy level of play with Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross working their way back into the Cowboys rotation at DT, this defense can reach a new level of play given their speed in the back seven and ability to give opposing offensive lines fits with just four up front.

  • Cole Beasley did more than enough to make up for it, but his drop in the end zone on the Cowboys first scoring drive is one he'll want back for a while.

The Cowboys play calling on their first goal-to-go situation left a lot to be desired, but Beasley was still able to make a scoring play with the ball in his hands at the pylon. Beasley bobbled the ball going to the ground and couldn't come up with it.

On the next play, the Cowboys finally targeted Amari Cooper, although without Ezekiel Elliott on the field. It was the combination of Cooper on the outside and Elliott in the backfield that provided a boost to the Cowboys offense last week at the Eagles, and for whatever reason they went away from it consistently against the Falcons.

Beasley's 19 yard catch and run on the Cowboys final drive set them up to run Elliott and kick the game winning field goal, giving Prescott an easy target on a crossing route. These are the types of inconsistencies the Cowboys will have to happily live with as they review this win and prepare on a short week for the Redskins.

  • Head Coach Jason Garrett should be questioned about how his offense handled the last drive of the first half.

Trailing by three in a game still looking for its first touchdown, the Cowboys came out firing with 29 seconds left in the first half before shutting the drive down themselves. After Elliott advanced the ball to the Cowboys 35 and prompted a timeout, his catch and run for eight yards was the final play of the half.

I have no problem with the Cowboys getting the ball safely into the hands of Elliott, but after gaining positive yards on two receptions it's inexcusable to sit on a timeout without attempting a pass to the end zone.

  • The Cowboys play calling improved in the second half, evident on Dak Prescott's rushing touchdown to give the Cowboys a 12-9 lead.

Again, taking the good with the bad, the Cowboys did go to this zone read look one too many times in the second half. From four yards out against a defense playing without one of their most talented players in Linebacker Deion Jones, Prescott faking to Elliott and keeping himself is as smart and safe a play as Linehan could have called.

Prescott's score was followed by Leighton Vander Esch's second interception in as many weeks, allowing the Cowboys to go right back to hammering the football. It took just two carries for Elliott to cover 31 yards and put the Cowboys ahead 19-9 off the turnover.

His 23-yard touchdown was sprung by Right Guard Zack Martin, who deserves a ton of credit for not only dealing with an injury sustained last week but seemingly finding an even higher level of play since then to motivate his teammates.

Joe Looney filled in well for Travis Frederick once again, and Xavier Su'a-Filo replaced a now-healthy Connor Williams for the second straight game, making Martin's elite level of play much more important.

Martin's lone mistake in this game came at a costly moment though, as a false start penalty backed the Cowboys up before punting it back to the Falcons for the tying score. Although the penalty created a third and 13 that Dallas used to keep the clock running on a dump off to Elliott, their second down play call to go with another zone read was costly as well.

Prescott lost two yards on a play that didn't fool the Falcons in the slightest, creating the original third and eight situation.

  • Chidobe Awuzie was actually in good position on Julio Jones' fourth quarter TD, but as has been the case all season he reacted late and was beat with the ball.

Awuzie ran stride for stride with Jones, doing his best to force the Falcons best receiver towards the sideline. To Jones' credit, he was able to stay true to his route and run under a perfect pass from Matt Ryan.

Awuzie's fate was sealed on the play when he failed to react in time to jump with Jones, who simply elevated over the Cowboys struggling cornerback to give the Falcons new life in this game. Awuzie has been given every opportunity to be the Cowboys starter across from Byron Jones, trusted by Kris Richard to be a valuable part of this defense.

Quarterbacks in need of a completion have been able to pick on Awuzie far too much this season. The Cowboys don't appear to be in any rush to change this, as Cornerback Jourdan Lewis is designated to handling jet sweeps for the Cowboys offense while Anthony Brown remains the starter in the slot.

It was Brown that struggled through all of 2017 before finding his form again this year, perhaps giving Awuzie some hope that he can respond sooner rather than later.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The early slate of games proved to be a massive one for NFC East implications. The Cowboys escaped Atlanta with a win, and minutes later the Texans put the finishing touches on a win at the Redskins. Much earlier in the afternoon, unbeknownst to the Cowboys fighting for their life at the time, the Redskins also lost Quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith broke his tibia on a hit from J.J. Watt, and will need season ending surgery according to his Head Coach Jay Gruden.

This division has been waiting for a team to seize control of it all season. Realizing this, the Cowboys didn't sulk through their poor start and made the right moves to play into contention - playing as the desperate team that often achieves a lot in this game through their last eight quarters.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

DAL 22, ATL 19: Elliott, Maher Carry Cowboys to Season-Saving Win

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott

A last-minute field goal by Brett Maher lifted the Dallas Cowboys to a 22-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. On the strength of 201 yards of total offense out of Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas improved to 5-5 and arguably saved their 2018 season.

Elliott had 122 yards rushing and 79 receiving today, plus scored one touchdown, to make up well over half of the team's offensive production. Dak Prescott was also solid, throwing for over 200 yards and committing no turnovers.

Dallas and Atlanta traded field goals in the first half, and the Falcons took a 6-3 lead into the locker room. But the Cowboys answered with a tying field goal on their first second-half possession, then scored a touchdown on their next drive.

Maher was 3/3 on his field goals today, which included a 50-yarder. A missed extra point created concern, but the Cowboys kicker delivered in the biggest moments.

Once again, Dallas' defense was impressive and played a major part in the win. The Falcons never got into the endzone until their last possession.

Game Notes

  • Leighton Vander Esch had another interception, securing a tipped ball that lucked its way into his grasp. He also made some big tackles and continued last week's exceptional play.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence was credited with 1.5 sacks, getting him back among the league leaders with 8.0 on the year.
  • Elliott was Dallas' leading receiving today. Next up was Cole Beasley with five catches for 51 yards, and Cole's day could've been better if not for a dropped touchdown pass.
  • Jeff Heath nearly had his second interception of the year, but Falcons WR Julio Jones made an impressive play to hit Heath and break up the catch.
  • Tyron Smith left the game on the final drive with an injury, but Cam Fleming came in and the team didn't suffer for it. We'll have to see what the short Thanksgiving week means for Smith's status against the Redskins.
  • Speaking of Washington, the NFC East leaders fell to 6-4 today at home against the Houston Texans. Even worse for them, QB Alex Smith suffered a nasty ankle injury is almost assuredly out for weeks to come. Colt McCoy will be their starting QB on Thursday against Dallas.
  • If Dallas wins next week, they will pull even with Washington in overall record, division record, and split the head-to-head series. With the Eagles facing a tough road game today in New Orleans, and with Alex Smith going down for Washington, the NFC East may have just become the Cowboys' to control.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Snap Julio Jones’ Hot Streak

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Wishlist: Snap Julio Jones' Hot Streak

The Dallas Cowboys will try to get their second road win of the season against another inconsistent Atlanta Falcons team. As both try to get back to .500, this game will be filled with interesting matchups and implications. After upsetting the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 last Sunday, the Cowboys need to get another upset win to keep being relevant in the league this year.

Here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist! I hope you enjoy and I encourage you to let me know what your wishes are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Stop Julio Jones' 100-Yard Game Streak

With the Atlanta Falcons sitting at 4-5, many have overlooked Wide Receiver Julio Jones' hot streak. In each of his last four games, Jones has accounted for more than 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Totaling 476 yards in his last four games, Jones is ready to face Cowboys' Cornerback Byron Jones.

Byron has certainly been a pleasant surprise in 2018, playing at a great level right now. He has faced Odell Beckham and DeAndre Hopkins this year and made a good job of defending these "Tier 1" pass-catchers. It's worth noting the Cowboys are not making him "travel" with these players but rather keep him on a specific side of the field. That shouldn't change against the Falcons.

Wish #2: Contain WR Calvin Ridley

Back in April, Cowboys Nation eyed Calvin Ridley as a prospect who could end up wearing the Star on Sundays. However, Dallas passed on him and the Alabama product fell right unto the Falcons' lap. He's had a pretty good season and despite sharing the field with Julio Jones, he's done a great job as a rookie averaging 14 yards per reception.

The Cowboys need to contain him. While Dallas should feel comfortable with Byron doing his job, the truth is Chidobe Awuzie has struggled at times. Not that he's suddenly a bad player, but he needs to step up his game. Lining up against Ridley today will be a great test and one I wouldn't expect him to pass easily.

Takeaway Tuesday: CB Awuzie Hasn't Met Expectations in 2018

Wish #3: Score 28+ Points

The Cowboys have the huge advantage of going against a defense that ranks 29th in scoring defense. They did a nice job on Philadelphia last week and should continue to build on that success to do something they haven't done much this year: score a lot of points.

Scott Linehan's unit needs to do a better, more consistent, job. They've shown us they're capable of scoring, but they've also shown us their remarkable ability to seemingly forget how to do so. Blame it on play-calling, QB play, poor offensive line or whatever you prefer, it's a flawed unit.

They need to capitalize versus a poor defense like the Falcons' to find a steady rhythm.

Wish #4: Dak Makes This Falcons' Game a Turning Point

Last year, when Dak Prescott was sacked six times in Atlanta (five times by Adrian Clayborn) something changed for the Cowboys' young quarterback. Missing RB Ezekiel Elliott and LT Tyron Smith that day, Prescott had one of the worse days in his career. It was a turning point for him as a QB and the public eye.

Now he has a chance at redemption. A shot at putting the Cowboys at .500 and reviving playoff hopes, as unlikely as it sounds.

I wish that's the case for the Cowboys young passer in Atlanta. As flawed as he is, I'm a fan of his. The kid leaves it all on the field.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Snap Julio Jones’ Hot Streak" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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