The Philadelphia Eagles conclude week 3 with a divisional battle against the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams enter 1-1 but go here in different ways. The Cowboys opened the season vs Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl Champion Bucs where they fell 31-29. Last week, they won a more defensive battle vs the LA Chargers 20-17. The Cowboys are led by an offensive quartet of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb. With all four healthy and scheduled to play, the Eagles defense certainly have a tough task this week handling their fire power.
A season ago the Dallas defense was borderline nonexistent. They added speed and power in first round pick Micah Parsons, and now have a second year under DC Dan Quinn. Tonight they will be without Demarcus Lawrence as he recovers from a broken foot. The Dallas defense is deceptible to the big play, but that’s mainly because they’re extremely aggressive and opportunistic. Coming into week 3, the Cowboys lead the NFL in takeaways with 6. Jalen Hurts has yet to turn the ball over this week and will need to make sure he keeps that the same this week.
For the Eagles, offensively, they come into week 3 after a disappointing game vs San Francisco. A week after scoring 33 points against Atlanta, where they seemingly moved the ball freely, San Francisco made sure it wasn’t that easy. The game could have ended differently as Hurts connected on a deep TD to Jalen Reagor which was called back after replay showed he stepped out of bounds prior to catching the pass. Also, the Eagles had a 1st and goal from the 1 and couldn’t score, which subsequently led to SF scoring the go ahead TD and never looking back.
Jalen Hurts really didn’t get in a great rhythm throwing the ball, as he excelled more as a runner. His best throw was a throw that set up the 1st and goal at the end of the second quarter, where he connected with Quez Watkins for 91 yards. The running game, aided by Hurts, was strong once again as the Eagles ran for 151 yards on 29 carries.
The Eagles will be without 3 key members on Monday night. DE Brandon Graham tore his achilles last week and was placed on the IR. The Eagles also lost Guard Brandon Brooks to a pectoral injury against the 49ers and on Friday in practice, they lost LT Jordan Mailata to an ankle injury. Rookie Landon Dickerson and former starter Andre Dillard will be inserted on offense to take the place of the injured Eagles.
NFC East battles are always difficult and expect this one to be any different. For the Eagles to win, offensively, ball security and capitalizing in the red zone are the two biggest keys to victory. They won’t win many games this year by only kicking field goals. Defensively they need to contain the Cowboys running game, which is not limited to Elliot. Backup RB Tony Pollard has had a solid start to the season and QB Dak Prescott is still very mobile. If the Eagles can contain their two backs and force Prescott to throw from the pocket, they should be in good shape against the Cowboys.
When I look at the Eagles schedule at the beginning of the year, I often assume the Eagles and Cowboys will split both games with the home team winning their respective matchup. This year is no different. An Eagles loss isn’t a season ender, and a win isn’t necessarily a propeller to a deep post season run. The Eagles will keep the game close and competitive and I strongly believe Hurts, Sirianni, and the offense will bounce back but could struggle with the weapons the Cowboys have.
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