What are the key stats that could be a major factor in the Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles game this Sunday night? Here are a few.
The Dallas Cowboys offense has averaged 33.3 points per game over the last four weeks. That run obviously coincides with our 3-1 record under Jason Garrett. The Dallas offense is no longer a struggling unit. They are 10th in the league at scoring for the season with a 24.5 points per game average. Philadelphia is second in the league at 28.7 points per game. With the recent improvements on offense, Dallas is now a team that can get in shootouts and still come away with victories.
Where has most of that improvement come from? The running game. 595 yards during that same stretch, or just over 148 yards per game. That's getting it done. In fact, that 595 yards is just 10 yards less than the Cowboys gained through the first 10 games of the season.
All that improvement on offense is nice...and necessary. Because the Dallas pass defense has been giving up 334 yards per game since Garrett took over. Granted, they've played some potent offenses in that stretch, but the Cowboys are going to need to run the ball and keep the Eagles offensive weapons on the sidelines.
Michael Vick has been on fire. He has completed 63.8% of his passes and leads the NFC in passer rating with 105.7. He has a mind-boggling 15 touchdown passes to only 2 interceptions. Dallas likely won't be getting turnovers from Vick, and they can no longer count on him being an inaccurate pocket-passer like he was early in his career. In case that wasn't enough, the Eagles lead the league in total offense at just over 400 yards per game.
One area that can't be overlooked is turnovers. Dallas has definitely improved in this area recently, including the four picks of Peyton Manning last week. But they're still on the negative side of that equation with a -3 turnover differential. Meanwhile, as you might guess from the Vick stat above, the Eagles are very good with turnovers. Their differential is +15, built off Vick's care of the football, and a league-leading 20 interceptions. The Eagles have all those interceptions, but they have still given up 24 touchdown passes on the season. That's just one less than Dallas, who has had a terrible year defending the pass.
And this stat is a good one - according to Bleeding Green Nation, the Eagles are dead last in redzone defense.
Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who leads the NFL's worst red zone defense, met the media this week to talk about the Eagles upcoming primetime matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Right off the bat, he was asked about the struggles in the red zone and didn't really give an answer.
"Well, any time we've played like we have in the red zone, there is more than one problem and it starts with keeping the players in position to make plays and it goes all the way down to making plays. We're hard at work trying to get that problem fixed right now and if we want to make a stretch run here, we need to do a better job in the red zone."
Yeah, sounds like they just don't know what the problem is there.