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Position battleground (defense): Cowboys vs. Eagles head-to-head breakdown for defensive positions

A positional head-to-head breakdown on the Week 6 matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles to find the strengths and weaknesses of each defensive position.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Previously we broke down the offense for this week’s upcoming game for the Dallas Cowboys, now we dive back into the position battleground, this time looking at how the defensive positions and special teams stack up against each other.


The identity of the Philadelphia Eagles for the last few years has pretty much been their defensive line. The Eagles defensive front’s greatest ability has been to create pressure without the need to blitz, and this has been one of the team’s best traits for a long time. To no surprise they have one of the lowest blitz rates, yet the forth highest number of recorded sacks in 2022. The top four players in recorded sacks for the Eagles all play on the defensive line, and two of their top four players in team pressures play defensive tackle.

They added to the depth of their line in the draft with Jordan Davis, and for a rookie, he has been managing to get pressure from the 1-tech position pretty well. They do however, have a similar flaw that Dallas fans are used to, the run defense. The lucky part for the Eagles is that a lot of their defensive line issues are masked by the fact that teams they’ve played so far are playing from behind, that means less run plays and more passing. They only allow 105 rushing yards per game, but they have the second fewest attempts against them. On run defense they are allowing five yards per rush attempt, which ranks eigth worst. Attacking them with the run game will be what seizes the day.

For Dallas, they rank second in sacks, with Dorance Armstrong (who is really stepping up his game), DeMarcus Lawrence and Dante Fowler all leading the sack charge outside of Micah Parsons. Lawrence is playing outstanding, and playing more like young Lawrence, getting pressure on the quarterback every game. Rookie Sam Williams is showing his readiness to get more snaps. Williams has now displayed his strength and physicality in the last couple of games, playing from a number of positions up the line, not just from the end position. Trysten Hill is quietly getting it done, and really isn’t getting talked about enough in what he’s achieving. But much the same as the Eagles line, the Cowboys run defense has its problems, more to the point runs on the outside. But what is interesting, for all the yards the Cowboys defense give up on the ground, the only running back to score a rushing touchdown this year has been Saquon Barkley. In game where points matter most, the Cowboys defense is doing it’s job.

Win: Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images


Reddick/Edwards/White vs Parsons/LVE/Barr

If we put Micah Parsons in the linebacker position, then for the Eagles we have to put Hasson Reddick in the same category. Reddick is a little similar to Parsons in that he plays with versatility. Whether down on the line in a three-point stance, or hovering on the outside upright, Reddick is pretty productive as a pass rusher. He leads the Eagles in sacks and forced fumbles, and he’s looking to emulate last year’s numbers when he played for the Carolina Panthers. Next to Reddick is Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J Edwards, who leads the team in tackles, and also ex-L.A. Charger Kzir White. Both doing well in filling out their role for an Eagles team.

The Cowboys, of course, have Parsons. A true testament of a player’s character and willingness to win is when they find ways to play hurt. Not only did the Cowboys “LionBacker” go out there while nursing a groin issue, he was productive. So productive he even ended the game. Leighton Vander Esch is playing closer to his potential and ranks second in team tackles, and last week was playing a strong role in stopping the Rams on third down. Anthony Barr had a good game last week also, that will only increase his confidence in his role as he shares time with Jayron Kearse.

But this battle has Micah Parsons, and until he stops doing Parsons things this will always be a win for Dallas.

Win: Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images


Against the Rams, the Cowboys secondary allowed the big play to Cooper Kupp, and that was it for scoring. Trevon Diggs allowed the 75-yard gain for the score, but he was up against the best slot receiver the NFL has to offer. Having Kearse back was great to see, and he didn’t have a bad first game back, making three tackles and getting a pressure against Stafford. Malik Hooker got his first interception on the year, and what a time to get it. Donovan Wilson continues to find his tackling fuel. Then to add more fire to the secondary for Dallas, Jourdan Lewis comes back and records a sack.

At Philadelphia, James Bradberry and Darius Slay are playing pretty well together, especially given the way opposing offenses have had to play later in games. Their nickel back Avonte Maddox is still injured, and has missed the last two games, so keep an eye on that practice report. The Eagles also have Chancey Gardner-Johnson who is allowing the highest reception percentage, and has a receiving touchdown against him in the last two games. He also allows the most receiving yards agaisnt on the team. But with CGJ, expect a lot of commotion and emotion from the ex New Orleans Saints player, no doubt in a rivalry he will try to stir things up.

Win: Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys defeated the Los Angeles Rams 22-10 during a NFL football game. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images


Brett “Money” Maher. Yes that’s right, we have a kicker back in Dallas. Maher was perfect last week in kicking (when he got the chance to actually kick it), and he now has a 92% field goal completion on fourteen attempts. For kickers with ten or more field goal attempts, this makes him the second most accurate kicker in the NFL. The Eagles they have Jake Elliott, who has yet to make a kick over forty yards, and in his five field goal attempts, he has already missed one.

In the punting battle, Bryan Anger beats out Eagles punter Arryn Siposs in every statistical category.

In both kick and punt returns, KaVontae Turpin has the most production among the two teams returners. And the Eagles return specialist Britain Covey, has already muffed the ball twice while on punt return plays this season.

The Eagles Special Teams in general is a huge weakness on their roster, and the Cowboys should look to exploit this.

Win: Cowboys


Which team has the better defense?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (629 votes)
  • 14%
    Philadelphia Eagles
    (108 votes)
737 votes total Vote Now

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