In a way, everything the Cowboys have done this year has built up to this moment. With the exception of the Cardinals game, Dallas has beaten up on all the bad teams they’ve faced this year, paying little attention to the detractors who dismissed them for just beating up on bad teams. Those same detractors raved about the Eagles for “finding a way to win” when they needed overtime to escape the Commanders or a pick-six to beat the Patriots.
The first time the Cowboys met the Eagles this year, it was a close game. In fact, “close” doesn’t accurately describe it. That game was the epitome of the cliché “a game of inches.” Yet despite the Cowboys coming up just short in Philadelphia, they still heard the tired argument about not being able to beat good teams.
Enter the Seahawks, a team with their backs against the wall and drawing the Cowboys on their last leg of three games played in 12 days. The Cowboys had returned to their dominant ways after the Eagles loss, dominating the likes of the Giants, Panthers, and Commanders. But Seattle was their first opponent since Philadelphia to enter the game with a winning record.
The difference in competition was apparent right from the start, and the Seahawks held the lead at halftime. The Cowboys were in a shootout, just as they had been against the Eagles. This time, however, they made sure that they ended up on the winning side of things, and further extended their home winning streak.
That’s where the Cowboys will be once again, as they welcome the Eagles into AT&T Stadium for a rematch from just over a month ago. While they’ll be going for their 15th straight win at home, the Cowboys also understand that both of these teams are in a very different spot from where they were the last time they played.
The Eagles came into that game at 7-1 as the darlings of the NFL, with Jalen Hurts leading most MVP discussions. But their win over Dallas marked what would be their second of four straight one-score wins, inviting legitimacy to the argument that the Eagles were just getting lucky. Then came this past week, where the Eagles were steamrolled by the 49ers.
That’s in stark contrast to the Cowboys, who traveled to Philadelphia just a month after they themselves got steamrolled by the 49ers. After a bye week sandwiched by wins over both Los Angeles teams, the Cowboys had regained some of their confidence, but the Eagles represented their first good opponent since that 49ers game. And even with the loss, there was still reason for optimism. In a way, that game proved the Cowboys still belong in the discussion as one of the NFC’s best.
Now, the Cowboys are rolling and Dak Prescott is right at the top of the MVP odds with most sports books, while the Eagles are licking their wounds. The last time Philadelphia lost consecutive games was, coincidentally, the last time they played the Cowboys in AT&T Stadium. That loss was followed up by a loss in Philadelphia to the Saints, but Hurts missed both of those games with an injury.
Hurts is expected to play in this one, much to the chagrin of David Carr. However, Hurts will not be playing with a clean bill of health, as he left the game this past week with a concussion before later returning to the field. That could affect the way the Eagles run their offense this week, as it may not be wise to ask a recently-concussed quarterback to ram headfirst into a pile of offensive and defensive linemen on the infamous Tush Push.
Hurts won’t be the only one not at 100% on Sunday night. Wednesday morning brought news that Mike McCarthy had to undergo emergency appendectomy surgery. However, the surgery was a success and McCarthy is expected to be present for the game and call plays as he regularly does, with Dan Quinn expressing confidence in his head coach.
That kind of resiliency has defined the Cowboys as of late, winning their last four games in an effort to catch the Eagles in the race for the NFC East. And if they manage to win on Sunday night, they’ll claim first place in the division. Of course, the Eagles would still need to lose one more game for the Cowboys to truly control their own destiny, but there is still plenty at stake in this game.
This game figures to be another close one, much like the last clash between these two teams. But the Cowboys come into this one with a lot more confidence, as well as a few extra days of rest. They also have the added benefit of playing on their home turf, where they’ve been dominant this season. The stage is set for the Cowboys to get their revenge, and wedge their way back into the race for the top seed in the conference.