It’s almost time. Will the Dallas Cowboys pull off a sweep of the Philadelphia Eagles for the second straight season? Will they finally end the streak of no team repeating as division champ since 2004? Are the Cowboys playoff bound for the second straight season, something they haven’t done in 12 years? We will know the answer soon enough.
It’s a big game, and that means players are going to have to step up, but which players will come up with some big games in this huge divisional matchup. The front page writers took a stab at predicting this week’s X-Factor player of the game.
Michael Strawn: Demarcus Lawrence
Lawrence will be going against backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai, so he should have some opportunities. The Eagles rely on their tight ends and running backs to fuel their passing game, which should mean fewer double-teams from those guys. Lawrence has been the best Cowboys’ defender this year, but relatively quiet in terms of big, game-changing plays or dominating games like he had in 2017-2018. This would be good game to change that.
Tom Ryle: Carson Wentz
I’m going to go with the enemy for a change, and choose Wentz. With their offense so gutted by injury, the only likely way for the Eagles to win this game is for Wentz to be the man Dan Orlovsky thinks he is and carry this team. Given the woeful state of their wide receivers, Philadelphia is having to move the ball in small chunks, which requires almost perfect performances from the quarterback. If he doesn’t get better help from his receivers, and hang onto the ball better, the Cowboys should win. But we have seen worse quarterbacks have really good games against Dallas this year, so how they handle Wentz is the most crucial factor in my eyes.
David Howman: Byron Jones
With how banged up the Eagles receivers are, Zach Ertz has become their go to receiving target. In the past, Dallas has used Jones to cover Ertz in short distance situations, so I see them lining him up against the TE a lot more this week. If Jones can lock him up, it’ll make things even harder for an already struggling passing game.
Michael Sisemore: Sean Lee
The Cowboys need Lee to step up again and keep this defense sound in assignment. The Eagles may try and screen the Cowboys to death and Dallas will need to ramp up the instinctual effort in this game. The Cowboys need the defense to create negative plays and they need Sean Lee snuffing these plays out.
Danny Phantom: Jason Witten
This game will be decided by which offense converts the most on third down and with both Dallas and Philadelphia being the top two teams in the league in this department - it’s something to keep an eye on. Wentz is going to use his backs and tight ends to keep the chains moving and hope the Cowboys defense struggle wrapping up. And while the suspect secondary of the Eagles provides great opportunities for Dak Prescott to light them up, a bum wing may cause him to lay up short. Despite a 44-point performance by the offense, it’s not lost on me that not a single Cowboys wide receiver caught more than one pass in that game. Jason Witten led the team with four catches and don’t be surprised if Dak relies on his biggest safety net to keep his offense moving.
Who do you got as the X-Factor in this game?