The NFC East, or currently the NFC Beast, has two teams with a 4-1 record, and another team being the only unbeaten team (5-0) in the NFL (and then there’s one win Washington). This week the Dallas Cowboys have a huge matchup against one of its most hated rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season the Cowboys shoved both divisional games down the Eagles’ throats, scoring 92 points on them over both meetings. The Cowboys currently are on a three-game winning streak against the Eagles, and in the last ten matchups the Cowboys have won seven. Overall in the history of these two teams, the Cowboys lead the series 72-54-0, and another win against them this weekend will end the Eagles current unbeaten record in 2022.
So how does each offensive position on both teams fare in a head-to-head battle?
Jalen Hurts vs Cooper Rush (Possibly Dak Prescott)
If you’re a big fantasy football fan, then Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts will be a popular name people know, and this season he’s delivering for those fantasy teams as well as the Eagles. The dual-threat signal caller is currently ranked sixth in passing yards, but has only four passing touchdowns on the year, the exact same as Cooper Rush. Right now Hurts is a top ten passer in terms of accuracy, and his seventy first downs among quarterbacks ranks fifth. Where Hurts is getting it done with huge efficiency though is on the ground. He’s snapping at Lamar Jackson’s heels in rushing yards, but his six rushing touchdowns are the most of any player in the NFL that doesn’t play running back. Looking to slow his pocket mobility, as well as getting to him quickly when he escapes the pocket, will be key to stalling this offense this weekend.
For Dallas, it looks as though Dak Prescott will really need to show significant improvement to his throwing hand, and his grip will be scrutinised by coaches, in order to be cleared to play this week. So the expectation will be another game of cool hand Coop to hold the fort for another week. Rush had a slow game versus the Rams but his recievers also dropeed a few key passes in that game to keep drives alive. Rush is on a hot winning streak, and he only needed to throw for 102 yards last week to get the job done. One way to look at his low pass attmept numbers is that if it’s not in the air, the opposition can’t intercept it. Sustaining drives is becoming a problem for Dallas, and they will need to find a way to do this at Philadelphia, against a QB that’s helping its offense score the third-most touchdowns so far this year
Sanders/Gainwell vs Elliott/Pollard
Running the ball effectively is the easiest way to win ball games. The Cowboys running duo last week faced the seventh-best run defense in the L.A. Rams, and managed to rush for 164 yards. The Rams, up until they faced Dallas, were averaging just 93 yards per game against running backs. In fact, the Cowboys backfield was running so hot, that 68% of their offensive yardage was achieved on the ground, and that’s a huge lean in game plan when facing Aaron Donald. Pollard rushed eight times for 86 yards, which included his exhilarating 57-yard run for touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott logged 22 touches for 78, with an average of 3.5 yards per carry. Both backs complemented each other well in this game with sturdy play-calling.
As for the Eagles, we’ve already mentioned the running threat that Hurts poses. Next to that is Miles Sanders who’s having a good start to the season. His 414 yards on the ground is the most on the team, and third most in rushing yards in the NFL. Sanders is showing good breakaway potential, and his twelve runs of 10+ yards is a testament to that. Add his 21 first downs that rank second among backs in the league. Beyond the two main threats mentioned on the ground, the Eagles also have a Memphis product in Kenny Gainwell. He has yet to get to a hundred rush yards on the year, but he has managed to tally two touchdowns, so he’s a player worth watching for.
Based on the actual running backs though, the Cowboys pair is more threatening than the duo of Sanders and Gainwell. But the threat of Hurts as a runner will always be a big defensive problem.
AJ Brown/Smith/Watkins vs Lamb/Gallup/Brown
This week is a stark difference in offensive weapons than the previous week. The Eagles have A.J. Brown, who is fifth in receiving with 436 yards, and they have Heisman-winning receiver DeVontae Smith, who has managed to rack up 353 yards receiving, the second most for the Eagles, and the 13th most in the NFL. And to add more options for Hurts, they have Quez Watkins that plays from the slot, and he’s scored a touchdown this year as well.
On the Dallas side, CeeDee Lamb leads the team in receiving with 341 yards, but he only got 53 yards against the Rams last week. There was hope for Lamb to solidify the WR1 conversation by going out there and winning against a guy like Jalen Ramsey. That would have slowed critics down. But here we are again. Let’s see what a rivalry game can bring, although last year he failed to score a touchdown against the Eagles in both meetings.
Michael Gallup had a deep catch that hit highlight reels instantly. And social media soon took to having a nice repeating GIF of that special catch. Since coming back from injury, Gallup has really helped the Cowboys offense. In two weeks, he has six catches off seven targets, and has a team high of 146.7 rating when targeted, a trend we hope continues this week. As practice start this week though, let’s hear what coaches say when addressed about the dropped passes situation.
Dallas Goedert vs Dalton Schultz
So let’s put this simply. Among tight ends, Dallas Goedert is second in receiving yards, fourth in yards per reception, first in YAC yards with 280, and he has 24 catches off 28 targets, giving him one of the highest percentage of receptions caught. He hasn’t allowed a sack this year so far, so it’s fair to say Goedert is having a good season.
Dalton Schultz failed to be effective in the passing game last week but only played ten snaps. He took a bang to the knee early in the game, and this week his health will need to be observed to know the depth of the injury.
A lot of people will talk about Tyler Smith and the struggles in his game last week. But how many times have we heard of offensive linemen struggling against Aaron Donald? Smith gave up two sacks to Donald and was getting handled in the run game. The Cowboys generally have exceeded expectations on the offensive line. The big run last week from Pollard was great work from Connor McGovern to clear the lane against Donald, and Zack Martin just continues to do his thing.
Unfortunately for Dallas, the Eagles offensive line may be even better. So far they’ve allowed two sacks on the season, and are ranked third best in pressures allowed. But watch this week in the practice report, as their starting center Jason Kelce and left tackle Jordan Mailata may appear with issues, which could be a concern for Philadelphia. Until we know more though it will have to wait. But the Eagles line is doing its job better than Dallas right now.
Which team has the better offense?
This poll is closed