It’s Dallas week.
And with the Cowboys coming to Philly, it’s time to make a stand for 1st place in the NFC East, and maybe the NFC.
The 7-1 Eagles enter their 3rd division matchup against the 5-2 Cowboys. With a bye week around the corner, pulling out a win this week would set the Eagles up for what is the roughest stretch of any teams schedule this season.
With Weeks 9-15 being against the following opponents:
Vs Cowboys (5-2)
@ Chiefs (6-2)
Vs Bills (5-3)
Vs 49ers (5-3)
@ Cowboys (5-2)
@ Seahawks (5-2)
The Eagles will face a 7 week stretch where their strength of schedule is .689%.
While things can definitely change on a week by week basis. Four of these games are against NFC opponents who could quickly catch ground on the Eagles.
Since the Eagles won’t play in Week 10, this gives the NFC an opportunity to close the gap on the Eagles current minimum 2 game lead on the 1st seed.
A win against the Cowboys would send the Eagles to 8-1 on the Bye. With a 3 game lead on the Cowboys who would fall to 5-3, as well as a 2 game lead on the Lions and Seahawks barring the results of the next 2 weeks worth of games.
With an important matchup on the line, let’s take a look at the last few Eagles Vs Cowboys matches. Specifically in the Hurts/Sirianni era.
Don’t let the Eagles 26-17 win against the Cooper Rush Cowboys be nullified by the excuse of a backup QB. Rush entered the game 4-0 without throwing a single interception. He left Philadelphia with 3INTs. The Eagles held a 17 point lead early in the 2nd quarter, and they didn’t give up a touchdown until halfway through the 3rd quarter.
We’ll bring up the other Cowboys game because it happened.
A 34-40 Loss in
Dallas Arlington that was a 3rd&30 away from the Eagles potentially ending the game. Gardner Minshew played better in this game against a more formidable opponent than he did the following week against the New Orleans Saints.
Here’s a look at the QB stat lines from Week 16 last season:
Gardner Minshew: 24/40, 355 Yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Dak Prescott: 27/35, 347 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
The defensive breakdowns for both teams made this game more entertaining than it should have been. Just imagine the result and storylines had Jalen Hurts played this game.
The Week 18 Cowboys @ Eagles is barely a game worth mentioning. Sure the Cowboys won 51-26, but the majority of Eagles starters had rested this game as the Eagles had locked up their playoff position the week before against the Commanders.
While this Eagles team barely had a reason to be in the playoffs following their disastrous 4-11-1 season the year prior. They made it in and found themselves playing a meaningless game against the Cowboys who wanted to boost some egos heading into the playoffs. (Un)fortunately, both teams seasons ended the following week in the Wild Card round.
Guess it was a good thing Dak threw for 5 touchdowns in Week 18?
And of course, the other game that season.
Was there high expectations for the 1-1 Eagles in 2021? Unlikely with Jalen Reagor putting up 299 Yards in a WR2 role. And that disastrous Carson Wentz dead cap hit. But, the Eagles still lost 41-21 in Week 3 of the 2021 season. The one game in their careers that Jalen Hurts and Dak Prescott officially played against each other.
That is, until Sunday.
The Eagles have seen a very quick turnaround in being a perennial contender once again. Already set up with a 7-1 start, the Eagles find themselves with 73.7% odds to win the division, and 99.% to make the post-season. It’s only week 9 and they are in a comfortable position to end the season.
Finding ways to win the difficult games (see Dolphins Week 7), this team could see themselves clinching the NFC East as early as the 1st Giants game. Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas present?
Although we can’t look that far ahead quite yet, as they’ll need to make it through this divisional game before we can start pulling out the wrapping paper.
What is your score prediction for the Eagles first time playing the Cowboys this season?
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher / USA Today Sports