A couple veteran players return this week, but a couple others are still a no-go.
On Saturday, the @dallascowboys:— Dallas Cowboys Public Relations (@DallasCowboysPR) October 31, 2020
- Downgraded QB Andy Dalton (TCU) from DOUBTFUL to OUT. Dalton will not be traveling with the team to Philadelphia today.
- Activated LB Sean Lee (Penn State) and C Joe Looney (Wake Forest) from Reserve/Injured-Designated for Return.
Lee (sports hernia) returns to a linebacker group that has disappointed in 2020. Leighton Vander Esch just recently returned to the roster after missing most of the season so far with a broken collarbone, and Jaylon Smith, despite his high tackle numbers, hasn’t played up to his potential either. Lee’s best days are well behind him, but the savvy veteran should be a an important depth piece as he is still one of the most intelligent and studious players in the whole league.
Looney played both center and guard for Dallas before a knee injury landed him on the short-term IR. The Cowboys offensive line has struggled to find any continuity, and has shuffled numerous times out of necessity. Like Lee, Looney isn’t necessarily a game changer these days, but his experience, both in the NFL and in the Dallas system, should allow him to be a steady and versatile piece on an otherwise unproven offensive line (besides Zack Martin, of course).
Reports were that cornerback Chidobe Awuzie could be ready to travel to Philly, but it looks like the fourth year corner needs just a little more time to heal from his hamstring injury. DB Savion Smith was promoted from the practice squad to the game day roster.
A look at what type of arrangement to expect on the offensive line with the return of Zack Martin.
3. Offensive line for Sunday night
The good news for the Cowboys is All-Pro right guard Zack Martin returned to practice after missing all of last week with a concussion. While many believe Dallas would be better off with Martin moving to right tackle and Connor McGovern playing right guard for the rest of the season, the Cowboys are keeping Martin at guard. The expected starters at Philadelphia are Cam Erving at left tackle, Connor Williams at left guard, Tyler Biadasz at center, Martin at right guard and Terence Steele at right tackle. Joe Looney returned to practice and could be active on Sunday, but he’s likely to be a backup at center and the two guard positions. McGovern is also expected to be active. The other active offensive lineman will be whichever tackle the coaches are more comfortable with — Greg Senat or Jordan Mills, who is on the practice squad.
Weekend Water Break: 10 stories (and more) to enjoy while snacking on Halloween candy - Chris McPherson, Philadelphia Eagles
Come down from your sugar high by digesting these 10 stories from Eagles headquarters, including a matchup we once were heavily anticipating.
6. Darius Slay is no stranger to Amari Cooper
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro looked at one of the key individual matchups on Sunday night – Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay vs. Cowboys Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper: Cooper had four catches for 42 yards on 12 targets in games against Detroit in 2015 and 2019 – and Slay gives a scouting report: “Going against guys like him, Keenan Allen (Chargers wide receiver), Davante Adams (Packers wide receiver), some of the best guys that kind of release off the ball, prepared me for a guy like him. Definitely Davante and Keenan Allen and Amari are the best guys off the ball with their releases … I knew I had to do good at the line of scrimmage. … It’s hard. You’ve got to be out there patient and understand that guys like that are going to win a couple off the line of scrimmage. They’re going to win some routes. You’ve just got to keep fighting.”
The Cowboys front office have been parting ways with some of their offseason acquisitions; however they said no bueno to dealing away Smith.
Smith not only has the four sacks, but ranks as the No. 8 edge defender according to Pro Football Focus’ pass-rush productivity metric. Combined with DeMarcus Lawrence (No. 25), they form one of the league’s better duos. The issue is that there is no semblance of a pass rush from the interior of the defensive line, allowing quarterbacks to step up and get away far too often.
Another offseason signing, Gerald McCoy, was meant to be the fix at the 3-tech position, but a quad injury in training camp led to his release. Trysten Hill, a second-year pro and second-round pick, tore his ACL early in the year and is done for the season as well.
If Garafolo’s report is accurate, the Cowboys are looking to have their core of pass rushers together for the next few seasons. Randy Gregory was recently added back to the roster and played his first game in Week 7, he, 2018 fourth-round pick Dorance Armstrong and 2020 fifth-round selection Bradlee Anae are all looking to take advantage of the 40 snaps a game vacated by Griffen.
Base camp over in Philly give their three keys to an Eagles win, including an area that has plagued the Cowboys this season - giving the ball away.
1. In the two wins for the Eagles this season, the defense produced six takeaways, evenly divided in the victories over San Francisco and New York. That’s not a coincidence. In this game, against a Dallas offense that has staggered since quarterback Dak Prescott was injured, the Eagles need to pressure the line of scrimmage, shut down the running game, and make the Cowboys a one-dimensional attack. The Eagles have a huge advantage with their defensive line. They have to dominate and create havoc and give the back seven players a chance to get their hands on the football.
The staff over at the Mothership offer up their gut feeling to tonight’s game.
Nick Eatman: For starters, the Cowboys need to show a different attitude, swagger and overall mindset from what we’ve seen the past two weeks, especially last Sunday. That was about as bad a game as I can remember. There’s no excuse for a game like that. Ok fine, Dak Prescott is hurt and he’s not coming back. And now, the backup quarterback is out and likely won’t play. That doesn’t mean this team can’t press forward and fight. And that’s what I think everyone wants to see – more fight. And it’s not just us saying it. Mike McCarthy said it after the game. DeMarcus Lawrence did as well. They all want to a much better effort this week. I would think being embarrassed for two straight weeks was bad enough. But we’re about to find out what kind of response they have. I do have a feeling there will be some scrappiness. It always seems to even out somewhat when the Eagles and Cowboys play. However, Philly knows who its quarterback will be, and he’s actually played before. The Eagles are also playing better and they’re much more rested. So add all of it up and this game seems to favor Philly. I’ll take them in a 27-16 win.
Expert predictions for Cowboys-Eagles: Does Dallas even stand a chance in Philly? - Staff, Dallas Morning News
The staff writers over at DMN provide their game-score predictions for Sunday’s contest.
In recent days, Cowboys coaches introduced new wrinkles into their offense, elements partly designed to take advantage of rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci’s mobility and increase his overall comfort level. But obviously, Sunday could go bad in a hurry. If nothing else, this is a chance to see how creative Mike McCarthy and his staff can be under daunting personnel challenges. Eagles 31, Cowboys 10.
Sunday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Prediction and Preview - Jake Rose, Athlon Sports
Three things to watch as well as a final analysis and game-score prediction.
The Cowboys are no longer favored to win a single game for the rest of the season. How’s that for encouragement? Despite the tight-knit race to the bottom in the NFC East, the loss of Prescott has proven to be a death blow for the Cowboys, and they might actually be the worst team in the division. If Wentz can continue to improve as the positions around him get healthier, I think this division is Philly’s for the taking and so is Sunday night against the Cowboys
Prediction: Eagles 25, Cowboys 17
More game-score predictions.
Ray Didinger (3-4)
I guess it wasn’t all Jason Garrett’s fault after all. After years of falling short of expectations, Jerry Jones fired Garrett as coach and replaced him with Mike McCarthy. Guess what? Things got worse.
The players are ripping the coach, the coach is ripping them for not sticking up for Andy Dalton and Jerry is getting snippy with the Dallas media. The Cowboys have been outscored by 50 points in the last two losses to Arizona (38-10) and Washington (25-3). They didn’t even put up a fight in Washington.
They have a ton of injuries but so do the Eagles. At least the Eagles are still playing hard. The Cowboys look like a team that has quit. The Eagles aren’t so good that they can afford to be overconfident but they should have their way in this one.
Eagles 27, Cowboys 12
Somebody is a little lighter in the wallet...and deservingly so.
Washington Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic has been fined $12,000 for his brutal hit on Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton last Sunday, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Bostic was ejected from the game after he hit Dalton in the head as the QB was sliding to the turf. Dalton exited the game and did not return after sustaining a concussion.
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