The 4-1 Dallas Cowboys hit the road this week to take on the undefeated (5-0) Philadelphia Eagles. This divisional matchup could very well weigh heavily on who ends up winning the NFC East division, and as such be one of the more interesting, entertaining, and important games either of these two teams have played to date this season.
Today, we’re going to take a look at a few of the key matchups in this game that could help determine who sits atop the NFC East and who hangs their head in shame after Week 6.
Cowboys’ pass rush vs. QB Jalen Hurts
This is the premier matchup to watch between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles this week. Jalen Hurts is arguably the best dual-threat QB in the entire league right now and definitely the best the Cowboys have seen so far this season. His development as a passer has increased by leaps and bounds from just a season ago, which makes his scrambling ability even more dangerous.
Thankfully for the Cowboys, they have arguably the best pass rush in the NFL right now to combat Jalen Hurts as both a passer and runner. Dallas’ pass rush, headlined by Micah Parsons, has been outstanding at applying consistent pressure and sacking opposing QBs this season with basically just a four-man front. They are currently second in the league in QB sacks with 20, only the 49ers have more (21), and will be looking to improve those numbers this week against a very mobile Hurts.
Jalen Hurts will have to keep his head on a swivel this week because Dallas’ pass rush has proven they can apply pressure from anywhere. On the flipside, the Cowboys pass rushers have to be careful as well. They can’t just pin their ears back and rush with reckless abandonment. They have to maintain their gap discipline and containment, otherwise, the Eagles QB could hurt them with his legs.
Cowboys’ offensive line vs. Eagles’ defensive line
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line is very much still a work in process. The revolving door at left guard so far this year and Tyler Smith’s up-and-down play at left tackle, albeit mostly good play, is more than likely where the Eagles defensive line tries to attack/exploit in this first meeting with the Cowboys in 2022. Look for Fletcher Cox to try to take advantage of whoever the Cowboys start at LG, whether it’s Connor McGovern or Jason Peters, and expect to see Josh Sweat trying to do the same with Tyler Smith. If Dallas’ OL can hold up well on the left side in Week 6, the chance of earning another “W” increases.
Cowboys OC Kellen Moore vs. Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon
Let the chess match begin. How these two opposing coordinators navigate this Week 6 matchup could end up determining which team walks away with the victory and which one doesn’t.
For Kellen Moore, he has to figure out some way to create more explosive plays for the Cowboys offense. Through the first five weeks, Dallas has just 12 completions of 20+ yards, which is tied for the fourth-lowest in the NFL this year. They are also averaging just 8.8 first downs per game this year, which is fifth-worst in the league. Not so surprisingly, most of their explosive plays have come from Tony Pollard.
Longest plays so far this Cowboys season: a 45-yard catch, 46-yard run and a 57-yard run. All by Tony Pollard.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 9, 2022
On the flipside, Jonathan Gannon’s game plan against the Cowboys shouldn’t be all that difficult to figure out. Philadelphia is more than likely going to pin their ears back and try to fluster Cooper Rush as much as possible in the hopes of forcing him into making a mistake or two. That’s something other defenses this year haven’t been able to force Rush into committing (0 INTs, 0 lost fumbles), however, there have been a few close calls that have thankfully bounce the Cowboys way.