The Dallas Cowboys (9-3) return to action on Sunday night as they host the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles (10-2). This game means so much for both teams and will have serious ramifications on the NFC playoff picture.
Before the two rivals square off, here are three bold predictions for the matchup.
1) Tony Pollard rushes for a season-high 125 yards and scores two touchdowns
It’s been a bit of a disappointing season so far for 26-year-old running back Tony Pollard. After Dallas franchised Pollard this spring, expectations were high for the sixth-year running back in his first full season as the lead back. So far, Pollard has not looked like his pre-injury self. The former fourth-round pick has 180 rushing attempts this season for 737 yards, averaging a career-low of 4.1 Y/A. Pollard also has not made explosive plays in the passing game like we saw him do last year, catching 42 passes for 248 yards and another career-low 5.9 Y/R.
It’s been tough sledding for Pollard, but Sunday may be his chance to break out. Over the past three games, the Eagles have allowed 168, 173, and 146 rushing yards to their respective opponents. During this three-game span, Philadelphia is 29th in defensive Rush EPA (0.055) and has allowed a high number of explosive runs.
On the flip side, Dallas has gotten their run game going a little bit during their four-game winning streak. Dallas is sixth in the league in offensive Rush EPA (0.051) during this span and has been much more efficient in the run game than they were from weeks five to nine.
On Sunday, Dallas continues to build upon their success on the ground and it leads to a big day from Tony Pollard. The running back totals a season-high 125 yards, including a rush of over 35 yards, and two touchdowns.
2) Dallas intercepts Jalen Hurts two times, one of which leads to the game-winning drive
It’s been an interesting season for 25-year-old quarterback Jalen Hurts. The former second-round pick has 19 touchdown passes and 12 rushing touchdowns, amounting to a league-high 31 TDs. Most of Hurts’ rushing touchdowns have come from the Eagles’ famous “tush push” play, but 31 total touchdowns is an impressive stat regardless.
One area Hurts has struggled in this season is taking care of the football. The signal-caller has 10 interceptions on the year, tied for the fourth-most in the league. Hurts also has 19 danger plays and 13 interceptable passes (via playerprofiler), showing his INT number could be even higher if some bounces went the other way.
On Sunday those bounces go Dallas’ way, as they intercept Hurts twice including a crucial fourth-quarter pick leading to the game-winning drive.
3) Brandon Aubrey converts his first career game-winning field goal
What a revelation Brandon Aubrey has been this season. The UDFA has been the best kicker in football, converting all 26 of his field goal attempts so far this year.
Let’s take a moment and appreciate what #Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey has been able to do this season.— Brandon Loree (@Brandoniswrite) December 1, 2023
Before the rest of the NFL plays on Sunday, Aubrey’s numbers are…
• 114 points scored (1st)
• 100% in field goal attempts (T-1st)
• 58-yard field goal attempt (T-5th… pic.twitter.com/ESQ530mLfy
Aubrey hasn’t just been good on field goals, he also leads the NFL in touchbacks on kicks, something Dallas’ previous kickers have struggled with.
The storybook season for Aubrey is just getting started and on Sunday night the best chapter yet will be written. The 28-year-old kicker nails a 51-yard field goal as time expires, giving Dallas a huge win.