NFL Game of the Week: Eagles vs. Cowboys
Rivals in the NFC East battle in Week 11’s game of the week, as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
One of the most historic rivalries in the NFL, the Cowboys and Eagles have faced off 116 times, with Dallas leading the series 65-51. These teams have matched up on Sunday Night Football 10 times, with the series being currently tied at five. Games between Philadelphia and Dallas has had a history of getting chippy and physical which has a possibility of happening again this week.
The Eagles enter Week 11 as arguably the best team in the NFL, as they hold the best record at 8-1. Philadelphia is coming off a bye, but last played the Broncos in Week 9, where they won 51-23. Philly is currently sitting with a three-game lead in the NFC East.
Against Denver, the Eagles’ offense was dominant as Carson Wentz led the way with 199 yards and four touchdowns. Trade deadline addition Jay Ajayi added 77 yards and one touchdown in his Eagles debut. Philly’s defense forced two turnovers and sacked Brock Osweiler three times.
Dallas is currently 5-4 and sitting at second in the NFC East. After winning three in a row, the Cowboys got dominated by Atlanta last week 27-7. Dallas will look to make a dent in Philadelphia’s division lead this week.
The suspension of Ezekiel Elliott and injury to Tyron Smith played huge roles into why Dallas’ offense struggled greatly against Atlanta. Dak Prescott got sacked eight times in the game, including six times alone by Adrian Clayborn.
The Eagles look like the best team in the NFL, but Dallas always plays Philadelphia tough especially at home. Look for this to be a tough and competitive game.
Eagles Offense vs. Cowboys Defense
Philadelphia’s offense is led by MVP frontrunner Carson Wentz. Wentz has made great improvements from his rookie year last season. He is leading the league with 23 touchdowns and is 11th in yards with 2,262.
Wentz has plenty of weapons to throw to. Receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have been reliable targets for Wentz this season. But, the No. 1 receiver has been tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz is leading the team in yards (528) and touchdowns (6).
The Eagles made a splash at the trade deadline when they traded for running back Jay Ajayi from Miami. Ajayi made quite the debut against Denver when he ran for 77 yards and one touchdown. LeGarrette Blount was the No. 1 running back before trading for Ajayi, and Blount has totaled 504 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
The Cowboys defense has been decimated by injury this season, as they have lost four players to injured reserve and another is suspended. But, the injury with the biggest impact is linebacker Sean Lee. Lee is the heart and soul of the Cowboy defense and has had trouble with a hamstring injury over the past couple weeks. If Lee is unable to go on Sunday, that could be a huge blow to an already devastated Dallas defense.
Dallas’ defense has been average this season as they rank No. 15 in the NFL in yards allowed per game. The Cowboys defense lacks star power but has been able to be successful as a unit.
The star of the Dallas defense has been defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has been one of the best pass rushers in the league this season as he leads the NFL in sacks with 11.5. He is widely considered one of the frontrunners for defensive player of the year.
Cowboys Offense vs Eagles Defense
The Dallas offense runs through running back Ezekiel Elliott, but with his six-game suspension finally kicking in, the Cowboys’ offense struggled greatly last week. Quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked eight times which led to a rocky day for the passing game.
Dak Prescott is the leader of the Cowboys and is now their best player with Elliott suspended. Prescott doesn’t throw for a lot of yards as he only ranks No. 17 in the league, but ranks No. 6 in touchdowns with 16. He has also added five rushing touchdowns.
With Elliott out with a suspension, the Cowboys will rely on Alfred Morris and Rod Smith to pick up the slack. Both backs only combined for 67 yards last week against Atlanta, but Dallas needs better performances out of them if they expect to beat the Eagles.
Philadelphia’s defense has been strong this season as they rank No. 10 in yards allowed per game. Led by Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox, the Eagles rank No. 10 in sacks with 25 on the season. Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks have been strong at linebacker this season.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins is the leader of the Eagles defense and is one of the best safeties in the league. He ranks second on the team with 47 tackles. The return of Ronald Darby to the secondary will be a big boost to a team that ranks 7th-worst against the pass in the league.
Injuries have taken a toll of the Cowboys and this is not the team you want to play hurt. The Eagles are on a roll and have the look of a Super Bowl team.
Even though this is a rivalry and these games seem to be close, the Eagles are a much better team than Dallas. I think Philadelphia goes into AT&T Stadium and comes away with a solid win as Carson Wentz further strengthens his MVP case.
Prediction: Philadelphia 28, Dallas 17
Camden Tofil is a freshman majoring in advertising/public relations. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.