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Scouting The Eagles: What You Need To Know About This Week’s Opponent

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Scouting The Eagles: What You Need To Know About This Week’s Opponent

The Cowboys return from their bye this Sunday to take on the 4-2 Philadelphia Eagles with first place in the NFC East on the line.

As the leaders in both the NFC and NFC East at 5-1, it is easy for us Cowboys fans to get overconfident. Especially when a rookie quarterback who isn’t Dak Prescott will be under center for our next opponent.

These pivotal games against the Eagles are almost always a dog-fight however, so it is important to understand who these Eagles are.

Two-Faced In The Red Zone

The strength of this Eagles team is unquestionably their defense, particularly their front seven. Fletcher Cox and company do a great job of rushing the passer, tallying up 20.0 sacks through 6 games.Cowboys Headlines - Scouting The Eagles: What You Need To Know About This Week's Opponent 2

In the red zone, this stingy defense gets even better. Sitting at 5th in the league in red zone defense, they are only allowing touchdowns on 45% of their opponents opportunities. On the other hand the Cowboys are 14th in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns 52% of the time.

The story is completely different for the Eagles offense, however. When their offense finds a way to get inside the 20, they are only converting for touchdowns 50% of the time. While Philadelphia has struggled mightily in terms of red zone offense, the Cowboys have found their rhythm, scoring on 65.22% of their trips.

Takeaways and Special Teams

Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz may have been given all of the glory of the Eagles early success, but it has truly been their ability to take the ball away and create big plays on Special Teams which has led to their winning ways.

Philadelphia is currently 5th in the league in turnover differential at +6 and 8th in the league in defensive points per game at 1.5.

Cowboys Headlines - Scouting The Eagles: What You Need To Know About This Week's Opponent

In the return game, Josh Huff and Wendell Smallwood have each returned a kick for a touchdown in the past two weeks. Darren Sproles remains a serious threat as well, and has a few long returns on the year. As a unit the Eagles are 2nd in the NFL in Special Teams points per game at 2.3, behind only the Minnesota Vikings.

This does mean the Eagles are nearly dead last in football in terms of offensive point share percentage at only 85.3%, though. Only the Chiefs and Vikings have worse percentages.

The Eagles are banged up

While their defense has been the strong point so far, two important contributors to this unit will be missing on Sunday.

Defensive tackle Bennie Logan will in all likelihood miss his 2nd straight game this week, forcing Beau Allen into a starting role. Allen played 51 snaps last week and made just 2 tackles.

In the secondary, starting slot cornerback Ron Brooks is out for the season with a ruptured right quad. Trying to guard Cole Beasley has been hard enough this season, so it is hard to imagine a backup corner being able to get that job done.Cowboys Headlines - Scouting The Eagles: What You Need To Know About This Week's Opponent 1

His absence forces the Eagles to slide Safety Malcolm Jenkins down into the slot. While Jenkins is in all probability their best defensive back, moving up to corner takes away the Eagles ball-hawking ability in the back-end of their defense. With a healthy Dez Bryant looming, the Eagles have to be worried about how their secondary matches up with the Cowboys prolific offense.

So, how’s it going to go?

I really like the Cowboys in this game. Of course, I won’t make my official pick until Sunday, but when I examine who the Eagles are and why they have been so successful, they don’t fear me as much as other Eagles’ teams in the past have.

The Cowboys match up well with Philadelphia, and should be able to continue to control the ball and the line of scrimmage on offense this week.

If the Cowboys can eliminate Wendell Smallwood, Josh Huff, and Darren Sproles in the return game, continue to not make mistakes with the ball, and force Carson Wentz to beat them, they should come out of this game with a “W.”

Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the ‘boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • Eric Welly

    Personally I think this Dallas offense is a absolute nitemare to defend, a true SwissArmy knife, pick your poison, you choose your demise.

    Since you can’t double everybody and rushing Dak with your DBs back turned is going to allow him pick his way for big runs. But I think they will force the Eagles into chase mode early, forcing them to take a LB off the field and DBs for Zeke to maul them for 200yds and 2TDs. Can they cover TEs or RBs yet? Did they find a answer for Dez, ‘theSauce’ or the ‘old man over the middle? If JG channels JJ this could be a beatdown all over for the Eagles.

    I’d really like to see them come hard after Dak, just to see what I saw when he played LSU, put on a true clinic.

    Just go see the SeniorBowl write ups on him and Wentz way before the draft, amazing when you put his entire football career from HS to SEC in writing, just amazing. Only 2 votes for Heiseman….go figure.

    This could be Daks game to put who’s the better QB to rest, don’t doubt no matter how well he does accolades will go to the OL\RB\TE\WR making plays.

    Dak attack,Zeke and Deztroy, go Cowboys’

    • Kevin Brady

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Eric. I totally agree with you that this Cowboys offense is just too much for most if not all teams to deal with. Want to try to stop Zeke and this rushing attack? Fine, then deal with all of these weapons in the passing game. Oh, and the odds are they won’t be able to stop the Cowboys run game either. It’s a lot of fun to watch.

  • John Williams

    This is one of those games where it’s going to be important to get the ball out early against their front four. A lot of Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant underneath to keep the defense from blitzing Dak a ton. I think we are going to see the Dallas offensive line play well again and make this Eagles front seven look like they did Cincinnati and Green Bay.

    • Kevin Brady

      The Eagles defensive line has given the Cowboys some trouble over the last two seasons, so I’m excited to see how that match up goes Sunday. I agree that they will have to get the ball out quick, and keep the defense off balance with Beasley and Dez. I am confident that the Cowboys will be able to run the ball effectively, and can come out with the win.

  • Tommy

    Logan out is huge. The space eater helps the LB corp go free to ball. I do wonder if Eagles will abandon wide 9 if Zeke starts carving up the defense?

    • Kevin Brady

      His absence would really help the Cowboys running game!

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