The Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night and whoever wins will be the only NFC East team to taste victory in Week 3. Needless to say it will be important for Dallas to come out on top.
If we are being honest this is a game that the Cowboys should win on paper. Philly was interesting in Week 1, but they aren’t expected to be serious contenders this year. This is a division game for the Cowboys which carries the added bit of difficulty, but if they are going to be a serious contender themselves then they have to show up in these kinds of games.
We sat down with Louis Riddick from Monday Night Football on the latest episode of CowboysCast on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Listen in to hear how he sees this game going and make sure to subscribe to our podcast network so you don’t miss any of our episodes. Apple devices can subscribe right here and Spotify users can subscribe right here.
There are a lot of reasons to feel confident in the Dallas Cowboys and as a result we can all sit here and outline reasons why we think that they will win, but what about reasons that the Philadelphia Eagles will lose?
Every week we have conversations from the opposing SB Nation blog (you can read this week’s right here), but this week we asked Bleeding Green Nation for three reasons why they could see the Eagles losing this game.
Here are the answers from BGN’s Brandon Gowton.
1 - Andre Dillard is starting at left tackle
The Eagles are down two offensive line starters this week with left tackle Jordan Mailata getting hurt in practice and right guard Brandon Brooks going on injured reserve. There’s concern to be had with both of their replacements. Andre Dillard’s return to the lineup is especially troublesome. There’s a good amount of evidence to suggest he’s not a very good football player. He struggled as a rookie back in 2019, allowing the highest pressure rate of any offensive tackle. He also had the highest blown block rate.
It’s hard to believe that he’s significantly improved since then after watching him mightily struggle in training camp the last two summers. I’ve never seen a player (outside of maybe a camp body UDFA) get rag dolled and pushed around so much. Dillard was regularly wrecked in this year’s practices. I can’t unsee him getting thrown to the ground by this Jets journeyman defensive lineman named Jeremiah Valoaga in back-to-back joint training camp practices. That dude isn’t even on any team’s practice squad right now. Dillard deservedly finished as the Eagles’ Least Valuable Player from our daily MVP/LVP polling in camp.
It’s not impossible that Dillard has a version of the Chaz Green game from Falcons vs. Cowboys in 2017. Then again, he might actually be able to survive with the Dallas defensive line being depleted and the Eagles knowing they need to give him extra help. Even if Dillard plays better than expected, though, right guard could be a weakness. Landon Dickerson struggled in his first NFL action last week with five pressures allowed in just 20 pass block snaps played. In fairness to Dickerson, he was thrown into the fire after only fully participating in just three practices. Having a full week to prep as a starter could help him out. But it’s also possible he’s just not fully ready to play after suffering an ACL tear in December 2020. The Eagles need to decisively win in the trenches if they’re going to pull off the upset. There’s concern about their ability to do as much.
2 - The Eagles’ defense is facing their biggest test yet
The Eagles’ defense has been the strength of the team through two games, allowing just 23 total points and one play over 20 yards. Philly’s 4.3 opponent yards per play ranks tied for third best in the NFL. Perhaps the Eagles’ defense is legitimately good. Jonathan Gannon was a hot commodity this offseason and his unit fared well in training camp. But we’ve yet to see the defense truly tested. Matt Ryan and the Falcons aren’t scaring anyone, especially behind their sieve of an offensive line. Jimmy Garoppolo missed a lot of throws in Week 2 that better quarterbacks would easily make. No one would deny that Dak Prescott is significantly better than those guys. And even if Prescott might not be at 100%, he obviously has a lot of help. You don’t need me to gas up the Cowboys’ offense.
We all know Kellen Moore has gotten a lot of credit as a play-caller. We all know that Amari Cooper has given the Eagles trouble in the past and that CeeDee Lamb will be a tough cover as well. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott are obvious backfield weapons. And so Gannon’s defense will be challenged on Monday night. The defensive coordinator’s life sure wasn’t made easier with Brandon Graham going down for the season. Philly probably isn’t winning this game without coming up with some takeaways. That’s something they’ve yet to be able to do this season. Part of that is bad luck but part of it is not having guys you can count on to make a big play and take the ball away.
3 - The vibes are suddenly off
Listeners of the NFC East Mixtape, which airs on both the Bleeding Green Nation and Blogging The Boys podcast feeds, will know that nothing matters more than vibes. The vibes were incredibly off for the Eagles heading into their 2020 season. Sure enough, the season turned out to be a disaster. By contrast, the Eagles had positive vibes ahead of Week 1 this year. In that vein, it wasn’t surprising when they came out and beat the stuffing out of the Falcons. The vibes still felt good going into the 49ers game. But things shifted once Jalen Reagor had his touchdown called back due to stepping out of bounds. That really sucked the air out of the team. The Eagles had to settle for a field goal attempt, which was blocked. Then they failed to score from 1st-and-goal on their next drive. All the while, Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks got seriously hurt. And the Eagles ultimately lost.
Things didn’t get better for the Birds heading into this week’s game. Mailata getting injured in practice feels like a bad omen. The relative lack of juice for Dallas Week is also a strange feeling. Now, it’s important to note the vibes were feeling off for the Cowboys as well heading into the Chargers game. And Dallas is still dealing with some issues between their injuries and COVID-related absences. The reality is that vibes can change quickly and without notice. But until that happens for the Eagles, it’s hard to love how things are trending for Philly. It just feels like the Birds are going to lose this game.
We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation for taking the time to outline specifically how things could work against the Eagles tonight. BLG joined me on our official preview show on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel if you want to hear his thoughts in further detail.
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