It’s one of the most important games on the schedule for both teams, and with the NFC East race heating up it could help decide the division. The Dallas Cowboys face the Philadelphia Eagles and the stakes couldn’t be higher. In a head-to-head battle which team has the better offense by each position group?
This is where the rubber meets the road this week for both players. The winner of this battle takes home more than just the win but also the main talking point post-game. Last week, Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts both threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Dak looked confident as he worked his way around the field while targeting multiple receivers, which was a huge positive note from last week’s game. His diagnosis of the L.A. Rams defense helped carve the way to victory.
This week, Dak faces a division rival on their turf which is a tough place to get victories. But going in his favor is the fact the Philadelphia Eagles defense is allowing 247 passing yards per game, that’s the seventh-most in the NFL. The Eagles defense has only made four interceptions this season, that’s the second-fewest in the league right now. With Dak finding first downs with his legs, this replicates one of the factors that helped the New York Jets to beat the Eagles over three weeks ago.
Jalen Hurts has to face one of stingiest defense’s in the NFL, one that is near the top in total pressures. The turnovers the Cowboys defense creates and their ability to score on defense makes this week a huge challenge for Hurts. But one side has to crack sooner or later as Hurts is sixth in total passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns. As much as Cowboys fans enjoy seeing Dak rushing for first downs, Hurts is even better. Hurts is second in rush yards among quarterbacks and leads the position with six rushing touchdowns. His dual-threat ability is something this defense has to cover from the outset.
Hurts leads a lot of statistical categories between Dak and himself. But he also leads on some negative stats as well. His eight interceptions currently leads the league, and he’s been sacked nineteen times, which is ninth-most. He also doubles the number of turnover-worthy plays this year in comparison to Dak and he’s thrown the ball out of bounds 15 times more. Last week against the Commanders, Hurts coughed the ball up, handing it over on another controversial “tush-push” play down on the goal line. Dak wins in two interesting categories however. Pass completion percentage, where Dak’s 71% completion ranks second in the league. The other is passer rating where he ranks eighth with a rating of 97.8. Hurts current rating is 94.3.
Tony Pollard/Rico Dowdle
D’Andre Swift/Kenneth Gainwell
Against the Rams, Pollard ran for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. It’s not a bad showing from the Cowboys lead back, but what’s clear is he’s struggling to maintain the lead role and play with consistency, especially on inside runs. Rico Dowdle registered five carries with his longest attempt going for seven yards. The issue facing this Cowboys running back corps is the Eagles defense is very good at stopping the run. So good in fact that they rank the best in the NFL, allowing only 65 rush yards per game. They have allowed only three rushing touchdowns this season, the third-fewest in the league. The Eagles defense has allowed only 30 first downs on the ground in the first eight games, an incredible performance.
As for the Eagles, their newly-acquired running back, D’Andre Swift, is enjoying a productive season. His 571 rush yards is fourth-most in the league, and his 29 first downs on the ground are fifth-most. Swift, however, has only accounted for three rushing touchdowns, that’s only one more than Pollard. The most concerning aspect of the Eagles ground game is the combination of Swift and Hurts. Only Christian McCaffrey has more rushing first downs than Hurts and no other team has more rushing yards combined with their running back and quarterback than the Eagles.
What’s an impressive fact is the Cowboys run defense has only allowed an average of 85 rush yards per game in their past three contests. That’s facing players like Mccaffrey, Austin Ekeler and lesser threat of Royce Freeman. In the last three games, the Cowboys have allowed the tenth fewest rush yards. In comparison, the Eagles have been out-rushed two out of their last three contests.
CeeDee Lamb/Brandin Cooks/Michael Gallup
A.J. Brown/DeVonta Smith/Olamide Zaccheaus
This position battle is really the fight between the teams WR1’s. Last week, Lamb had a career game catching 12 receptions off 14 targets. He’s only missed on two passes the last two weeks. He also recorded 158 yards with two touchdowns against the Rams. By halftime, Lamb managed to total 122 receiving yards, 12 rush yards and score two touchdowns. Lamb has consecutive 100-yard games and he easily ran past the Rams secondary and was a key feature in the redzone. What was good to see from the Cowboys offense was spreading the ball around and pushing targets to the team’s other pass catchers. Brandin Cooks caught three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Michael Gallup was also important on two catches that helped keep momentum. If anything can be taken from watching the Eagles in last week’s game, is spreading the ball around the field is a great way to achieve success.
While the Cowboys enjoy the recent success with their leading receiver, A.J. Brown is having a monstrous season. He ranks second in the league in receiving yards and receiving first downs, and his five receiving touchdowns are fourth most in the league. Last week, Brown had himself a day going for 130 yards and two touchdowns; he and Hurts are clearly on the same page. Behind Brown is Heisman-winning receiver DeVonta Smith. He’s second on the team in receiving yards with 482, and he’s totaled three touchdowns this year. Olamide Zaccheaus has had to fill in as the teams third receiver after the team put Quez Watkins on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Lamb will remain a lock-in WR1 for Week 8 vs the Eagles, who have allowed 16 receiving touchdowns this year, the third-most in the league. Last week the Eagles allowed four receiving touchdowns to the Washington Commanders and 397 receiving yards. As for the Eagles receiver corps, they are having to face a Cowboys defense that is allowing the fourth-fewest receiving yards and third-lowest completion percentage at 59%.
Ferguson catching the first touchdown last week in the redzone was an impressive play. The ball placement from Dak was perfect, but the reach and grab Ferguson had to make was just as impressive. Last week, the Eagles defense allowed seven receptions, 61 yards and a touchdown to the tight end position. This could be a week for Ferguson to stack positive games.
Dallas Goedert is third on the team in receiving yards and has managed to go for 360 yards this season. He also has one game this season of over 100 yards receiving.
In terms of receiving and blocking, Goedert is far more established at the tight end position. But Ferguson is slowly on the rise and proving to be more of an important feature to the Cowboys offense with each game.
The Cowboys offensive line gave everyone massive concern last week when they allowed three sacks off three passing plays on the opening drive. If it wasn’t for the illegal contact penalty on the Rams defense, we would definitely be talking differently about what happened on the Cowboys first drive. After the opening drive though, the Cowboys offensive line settled in quite well and started to hold back the tide of Rams pass rushers.
The decision to keep Tyron Smith out was frustrating at the time, but in hindsight now looks smart. It’s no surprise that the majority of pressure from last week’s game came inside, so players like Zack Martin and Tyler Biadasz saw their struggles. But this week the majority of the pressure will be coming from the edge. Both Hasson Reddick and Josh Sweat have been finding the quarterback regularly, and the Eagles defense rank eighth in total sacks. This will also be the first time the team faces Jalen Carter who has been finding his form recently. Chuma Edoga left the game early last week and will miss time with a low ankle sprain.
The Eagles offensive line is much better at run blocking than it is pass blocking. In terms of run blocking they are probably the best team in the NFL. But at pass blocking, along with Hurts play style, has seen the team allow 19 sacks and 87 pressures. Where the Eagles defense has accounted for more pressures than Dallas, their offensive line has allowed a significantly higher amount of pressure than Dallas. For both teams, the end result of this game will depend on which team’s offensive line holds up the best. No other position battle this week is more important in this game than right here.
Which team has the better offense?
This poll is closed