Nobody really knows just who exactly will play in the Cowboys and Eagles game, or how long they will stay on the field. Due to an ever-changing landscape of injuries and COVID, plus the low stakes of the game in terms of the playoffs, we could see a glorified exhibition game.
Making accurate roster adjustments was impossible, so we said forget that and instead we ran a simulation of the rosters at full strength, even including players like Miles Sanders and Michael Gallup, two guys we know will be out.
Still, we have some takeaways from the game that was a 27-10 Eagles win.
Jalen Hurts was efficient and took what the defense gave him
Jalen Hurts completed 19 of his 23 pass attempts for two touchdowns and no turnovers. He rushed for a touchdown and continually took what the defense gave him, which was often underneath throws which his receivers, most often Miles Sanders, turned into bigger plays. By protecting the ball and never getting greedy, he outplayed his counterpart, Dak Prescott, leading the Eagles to a big win in the process.
Miles Sanders eviscerated the Cowboys run defense
Sanders was, simply put, the unstoppable force of this game which most determined its outcome. Rushing comfortably for more than 100 yards on just 19 carries while hauling in another 50 or so through the air, he continually moved the chains and took pressure off of Hurts to offset the Cowboys’ pass rush.
There was seemingly nothing Dallas could do to contain the back, and when they did sellout to stop him, they were bludgeoned through the air by big competitions to Jalen Reagor and Devonta Smith. Anthony Brown, who won’t actually play Saturday night, was targeted regularly and helpless to stop either receiver he lined up across.
In all, the Eagles rushed for more than 150 yards on the day, nearly tripling the Cowboys’ output. Considering Hurts also outplayed Prescott, this left little room, if any, for Dallas to overcome the odds and score its 12th win of the season.
When Dak plays with impatience, things go south for the Cowboys
Dak Prescott turned the ball over three times on the day, throwing interceptions twice while targeting CeeDee Lamb and once targeting Amari Cooper. He was intercepted by a linebacker, a safety, and a cornerback, showing that even in defeat he’s great at spreading the love around. All right, bad joke. The point is that Dak continually pushed the ball down the field in this game and, with the exception of a 30-yard strike to Michael Gallup on Dallas’s final drive of the simulation, it never went well for the Cowboys.
When Dak took what was there, as Hurts did, Dallas moved the ball well. They scored on their second drive of the game and seemed to indicate they were in for a quality day of production. Sure, he’d been intercepted on the team’s first drive, but that had been a deep shot to Lamb down inside the Eagle 10 – a glorified punt. The problem was that, as the game got further and further out of reach, Prescott was left with no choice but to uncork the deep ball again and again.
We’ve seen that Prescott can become impatient in the latter parts of games, whether Dallas has been up or in a tight game. This has resulted in costly fumbles and interceptions like the game in Washington where a pick-six took what was a blowout and turned it into a bit of a late nail-biter. In that way, this may have been the most realistic depiction we’ve found in a Madden simulation this season. Who knew?
You can watch our entire simulation right here:
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