In just over 24 hours, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will be kicking off at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, and all eyes will be on this matchup. The Eagles sit atop the NFC East, NFC, and entire NFL with a record of 8-1. The Cowboys are at 5-4. The team to beat two weeks ago won't be the team to beat tomorrow.
After a rocky start, the Cowboys strung together three wins in convincing fashion, against the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, and Kansas City Chiefs. Then, last week, Ezekiel Elliott lost his suspension battle and LT Tyron Smith was ruled out for the game.
You could say things were expected to get a little rough for our 'Boys, but nobody expected it to be THAT bad. Sean Lee injuring his hamstring was just icing on the cake.
One potential saving grace for Dallas this week is the Eagles are fresh off a bye week. When a team in the NFL starts a season as hot as they have, a bye week can destroy momentum and cohesion.
Another potential saving grace is the Eagles' schedule this year. They've had an awfully easy schedule, based on their finish last year, and have enjoyed the confidence that comes with beating weaker teams regularly.
However, the Eagles are not to be trifled with.
Don't forget, they're a division team and division teams have a way of going after each other like no other. That's something the Cowboys can look forward to just as much as the Eagles, as every game between the two is a bit of a tossup.
S Jeff Heath and LB Sean Lee have already been declared. Heath is technically listed as questionable but it is highly unlikely that he'll be active at game time since he wasn't even cleared to practice. Tyron Smith is also listed as questionable. If there is any way the Cowboys can get Smith on the field, even in a limited role, their odds increase. That's how terrible Chaz Green and Byron Bell were at LT against the Atlanta Falcons in week 10. But I suspect they'll save the risk with the short week and let Tyron rest before Thursday's Thanksgiving tilt.
We need Tyron Smith for the next four games more than this game tomorrow.
The Cowboys are starting off hamstrung by injuries at crucial positions. The Eagles are hoping the hot hand hasn't cooled off. This is going to be an interesting game, if not a complete blowout.
As always, I encourage you to add your own predictions for the game in our comments section below.
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Lee Proves to be Invaluable, Once Again
I think the Cowboys will go out there and fight. The importance of this game for them, the rivalry, the stage on Sunday Night Football will give this team a shot. However, without Sean Lee on the field, the Eagles will be too much for Dallas. This would be a tough game even if the entire team was healthy (or not suspended). Even if Tyron Smith plays, I'm picking the Eagles to win this Sunday Night. Sigh. Mauricio Rodriguez – @PepoR99
Cowboys 20 – Eagles 27
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Offense Rebounds, but Defense Struggles
The offense rebounds from its poor week 10 showing, but can't overcome the poor play of the defense without LB Sean Lee. John Williams – @john9williams
Cowboys 24 – Eagles 31
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No Lee, No Chance
Until they prove otherwise, Dallas' defense can't be trusted without Sean Lee in the lineup. The Eagles are coming off their bye week and have had this game circled on their calendar all year. It won't be pretty. Jess Haynie – @CowboysAddicts
Cowboys 23 – Eagles 34
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Cowboys Steal One From Eagles
Moving the ball is going to be a struggle for the Cowboys. Especially if Tyron Smith doesn’t play. I do think the Cowboys somehow pull this out. Philadelphia is coming off a bye and sometimes that can hurt teams who have been on a roll. I would expect to see the coaching staff make a lot of adjustments to help get the ball out quick and put some early points on the board. Connor Livesay – @Connorx147
Cowboys 17 – Eagles 16
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Fly Eagles Fly, Back To Philadelphia Without A Victory
I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but I think the Dallas Cowboys have a good chance to win this game. Yes, the Eagles are 8-1 and coming off their bye week, but they are not completely dominating their opponents. I expect the Cowboys to play angry after their embarrassing performance last week and do just enough to outlast the Eagles at home. Brian Martin – @BrianMartinNFL
Cowboys 27 – Eagles 24
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Bailey, Come Back
A classic NFC East scratch and claw game that stays close throughout. Dez comes up big with two touchdowns and the defense is able to force a few punts. Even though the Eagles had a lead, Dak drives in the last minutes, but Nugent shanks another field goal. Wentz kneels on the hearts of Cowboys fans to kill the clock. Christopher Wätjen – @SingForTheDay
Cowboys 17 – Eagles 20
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This has been a rough week for Cowboys Nation, and a win over the Eagles would go such a long way in collectively reinstalling hope for this 2017 season, while keeping the division race alive. Unfortunately, I see a spirited performance by the short-handed Cowboys falling three points short, as Carson Wentz's Eagles are just too much for a Rod Marinelli defense to handle without Sean Lee. Sean Martin – @SeanMartinNFL
Cowboys 31 – Eagles 34
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Dallas' D Can't Stop the Hot Hand, Eagles Ball Out
I still don't trust Alfred Morris, and I definitely don't trust him if the offensive line plays anything like last week. Add to that Awuzie's first game of the season, and missing Heath and Lee, and this is just too much of the wrong pressure for Dak Prescott. The offense will struggle, have a bright spot or two, miss a field goal, make a few more. The defense will be gassed by halftime. And I really hope I'm wrong. smh. Bryson Treece – @BrysonTreece
Cowboys 16 – Eagles 31
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The Eagles may not be an absolutely dominant team this year, not play-by-play, but they're finding ways to win and that's a hard thing to stop when a team finds it. This Cowboys team is a shell of its former self without Zeke, Smith, and Lee. Like I said before, this is going to be interesting, if it's not a total blowout.
Share your game picks below and, as always, Go Cowboys!
Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3
Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.
A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.
However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.
That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.
With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.
One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.
Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.
HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.
The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.
Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.
The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.
Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.
Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.
Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.
Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.
Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition
In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.
Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!
Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot
Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.
If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.
Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting
The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.
His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.
Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again
Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard
stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.
While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.
Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer
Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.
But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.
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