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Cowboys news: Johnathan Hankins has high-ankle sprain, severity unknown

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Johnathan Hankins suffers high ankle sprain in win - Nick Harris,

Hankins and Osa Odighizuwa have been a great tandem in the middle of Dan Quinn’s defense.

“He’s got a high ankle [sprain],” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan on Monday. “We don’t think that it’s gonna be a severe one. He’s gonna be getting further looked at in terms of exactly what we’re dealing with here. We’ll know more as the day goes by.”

The injury occurred on Philadelphia’s first possession of the second half when a D’Andre Swift six-yard gain saw a lot of bodies fall on Hankins’ ankle bending him backwards. Hankins was tended to on the field by the Cowboys’ training staff before walking off the field gingerly. He would not return in the win.

After the game, Hankins was seen walking out of the locker room without a walking boot and without a limp.

Hankins’ potential loss for the upcoming stretch could prove to be a big one as he has brought experience to the defensive interior line in defending the run and rushing the passer. In 13 games, he has notched 26 tackles and three sacks in his 11th season in the NFL.

NFL Team Needs: Prioritizing Every Roster’s Biggest Weaknesses Entering Week 15 - Staff, Bleacher Report

The Cowboys could use the offseason to further address defensive tackle, but this roster as constructed is ready to win now.

Biggest Weaknesses:

Defensive Tackle


Strong Safety

Right Tackle

Add Now: No one

While the Cowboys lost out on the Shaquille Leonard sweepstakes, they still have Rashaan Evans to turn to as a veteran linebacker option. Also, Matt Waletzko was recently activated off of injured reserve to potentially help out at right tackle. They don’t need anyone right now and are playing well, so there’s no sense in bringing in some outside help.

2024 Free Agency: DT Shelby Harris, Cleveland Browns

With Jonathan Hankins’ and Neville Gallimore’s contracts about to expire, Dallas will be looking for some depth on the interior defensive line this offseason. But they also need to be cost-effective when addressing this need as Spotrac estimates the ‘Boys will begin the offseason about $13.5 million over the cap.

Harris would be a good fit in part because he’s an older veteran who shouldn’t command too much money on the open market. On the field, he has experience playing up and down the defensive line throughout his career which could help him serve as the team’s first defensive lineman off of the bench.

The 32-year-old can line up anywhere from defensive end to 3-technique, making him a quality backup option in the rotation.

Cowboys make statement with dominant win over Eagles, though some questions still remain - Judy Battista,

The Cowboys handling the Seahawks and Eagles at home proves they’re contenders, but now they face tough road tests against AFC East competition.

You can forgive Jones his giddiness after what he said was the most significant victory of the McCarthy era. This was the legitimizing victory of Dallas’ season. Until Sunday night, the Cowboys had not beaten one of the NFL’s elite teams — they got smashed by the 49ers in October and lost by an inch here and there to the Eagles in November — or even defeated one that currently has a winning record. And as a result, the Cowboys entered December with the age-old question still hanging over them: Could they win the biggest games?

We still don’t really have the only answer that matters in Dallas: Can the Cowboys play like this in the postseason? But we do know their defense is good enough to hold one of the league’s top scoring offenses to just two field goals and force three turnovers, their offense is stoppable only by its own mistakes (a strip-sack of Dak Prescott that was returned by Jalen Carter for a touchdown threatened to swing the momentum early in the third quarter) and their rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey is good enough to bail them out from at least 60 yards even if a drive stalls. This win put the Cowboys, at least for now, atop the NFC East, although they have a more difficult schedule in the final month than the Eagles do.

Jones has never been shy about saying that his teams are good enough to win Super Bowls, and he had already said that this one could win it all after it beat up on the Washington Commanders on Thanksgiving. But that was the Commanders. And this was a team that the Cowboys will have to supplant to win the NFC East.

“This game is additive,” he said. “No question that everybody feels better about their ability to compete than we did three hours ago because of the nature of opponent. I saw a great effort. This team knows it can compete, but we’re going to have to do it in Buffalo. They are formidable. We’ll have to do it in Miami. In Washington.”

Cowboys still have to navigate a tough road to win division, No. 1 seed - Richard Paolinelli, Inside The Star

The Cowboys need to focus on what they can control down the stretch run of this season.

Dallas faces the Bills (7-6) in Buffalo next week, the plays division leaders Miami (9-3) on the road and Detroit (9-4) at home.

A road win over Washington is never a lock either. So Dallas needs to keep winning and then get help.

The Eagles’ toughest remaining opponent is coming up next Monday when they play the Seahawks (6-7) in Seattle.

Philadelphia has two games with the Giants (4-8) and a game in Los Angeles against the Rams (6-7).

The 49ers will host the Ravens (10-3) in two weeks with their other three opponents being the Cardinals, Commanders, and Rams.

Clearly, Dallas must win out and get one more loss from the Eagles and 49ers if they want the division and the No. 1 seed.

History Against Dallas?

Since the NFL expanded from a 14-game schedule to a 16-game slate in 1978, then to 17 games in 1990 and 18 games in 2021, Dallas has not fared well.

The Cowboys are 25-20 in Week 15 games and 24-21 in Week 16 games. But they are a woeful 13-21 in Week 17. That is right at .500.

They are 2-1 in Week 18 games, winning in 2021 and losing in 2022. Dallas won a Week 18 game scheduled in 1993 when the NFL tried out two bye weeks for that season.

Stephon Gilmore reveals disrespectful AJ Brown trash talk that fueled CB’s huge game - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat

The Cowboys secondary proved they can survive in coverage even when the pass rush isn’t getting home, led by Stephon Gilmore’s effort against A.J. Brown.

Gilmore and Brown jawed back and forth all night. Nothing out of the ordinary when an elite cornerback faces a top-level receiver. Early in the first half, though, it became clear that this matchup was personal. Tempers reached a boiling point when Gilmore and Brown were locked facemask-to-facemask (presumably) trash-talking each other.

From that point on, Gilmore played like a man possessed. As it turns out, Brown lit a fire under the veteran cornerback with a highly disrespectful comment that Gilmore revealed to reporters after the Cowboys’ big win.

A.J. Brown calling Stephon Gilmore ‘old’ fueled Cowboys CB’s big game vs Eagles

Brown indeed poked the bear and the Eagles suffered the consequences.

Coming out of halftime nursing a 24-6 lead, Gilmore forced a Brown fumble that was recovered by the Cowboys. Gilmore executed a perfect punch-tackle to jar the ball loose and linebacker Damone Clark was there to recover it. The play was an encapsulation of Gilmore’s tight coverage and elite open-field tackling.

Though Brown caught nine passes for 94 yards, he couldn’t do anything after the catch thanks to Gilmore. It’s no secret that Brown is a menace on deep balls and creating yards after the catch. His longest catch of the night went for 25 yards. Gilmore deserves all of the praise for preventing Brown from turning the game on its head.

Very few cornerbacks have accomplished that this season, as Brown has posted over 100 receiving yards in seven separate games, including a historic stretch spanning Weeks 3-8 when he went over 100 yards in six straight contests.

“I was mad,” Gilmore said of Brown’s trash talk. “I was going to show him. That’s the only thing I could do. I’m still here and I think I did that today.”

NFL power rankings: Cowboys overtake Eagles, Ravens; Steelers, Texans, Colts slip in crowded playoff picture for Week 15 - Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

At long last, a Tuesday power ranking that has the Cowboys ahead of the Eagles!

NFL power rankings Week 15

1. San Francisco 49ers 10-3 (previous week: 1)

The 49ers seem unstoppable offensively when the fabulous foursome of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle are in the groove with Brock Purdy. They are the team to beat and try to outscore before they take Super Bowl 58.

2. Dallas Cowboys 10-3 (5)

The Cowboys shot up here after their huge win over the Eagles that gave them first place in the NFC East. Dallas still needs to play Miami, Buffalo and Detroit, however, trying to keep that edge.

3. Baltimore Ravens 10-3 (3)

The Ravens revved up their passing game well after the bye to emerge in a shootout with the Rams on Sunday, highlighted by a sweet Lamar Jackson rally with a lot of Zay Flowers. Baltimore is becoming more dangerous as the AFC team to beat with other contenders fading.

4. Philadelphia Eagles 10-3 (2)

The Eagles drop only a couple of spots after running into the sizzling Cowboys’ offensive and defensive playmakers on the road. With the gauntlet part of the schedule done, don’t sleep on the Eagles getting hot again at the right time.

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