Cowboys vs. Eagles Receiving Groups: How Amari Cooper, DeVonta Smith, and CeeDee Lamb match up

Monday night features another edition of the Cowboys vs. Eagles matchup. How the Cowboys and Eagles receivers perform will play a major role.

It’s the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Philadelphia Eagles meeting in a critical divisional matchup on Monday night. Although quarterback play has largely been the story for these two teams, neither the Cowboys nor the Eagles would be where they are without their receivers.

Dallas and Philadelphia’s receivers have had impact performances so far this season

The receiving corps of both teams have each had excellent performances so far in 2021. Dallas is the more statistically successful of the two groups, led by the duo of CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. These two Cowboys wide receivers have totaled 185 and 163 receiving yards, respectively.

They are the obvious stars so far this season. Still, the Cowboys have also received significant contributions from Dalton Schultz, Tony Pollard, Blake Jarwin, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. Each of them has totaled approximately 50 yards.

Meanwhile, the Eagles’ receivers have significantly fewer yards overall, primarily due to a tough Week 2 performance against the San Francisco 49ers.

They are led by second-year speedster Quez Watkins. After a rookie season in which he caught just seven passes for 106 yards, he has totaled 140 yards through the first two games of 2021. And while most of those yards came on a single play (a 91-yard touchdown which earned more yards than any other Philadelphia player has totaled so far in 2021), it still marks a promising start for Watkins.

No other Eagle has more than 100 receiving yards, although DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Jalen Reagor all have more than 50.

Given the public perception of the two team’s quarterbacks, it’s no great surprise that the Cowboys’ receivers have been more productive. Still, counting stats aren’t the only way to evaluate player performances.

Pass catchers on both teams in this Cowboys vs. Eagles game have fared well via advanced metrics

To help us differentiate between the two receiving groups, let’s turn to the Offensive Value Metric (OVM). The OVM is a grading system created by the (Bx) Movement to evaluate players based on how much they contributed to the creation of their statistics, rather than the statistics themselves.

Leading both teams — and the entire NFL — in this metric is Watkins, with an OVM grade of 62.24. He has caught all 5 of his targets and is averaging a league-best 18.1 yards after the catch.

According to the NFL’s projections, that average is 10 yards higher than expected. Once again, that number leads the NFL by a wide margin. Clearly, while Watkins hasn’t been targeted often, his explosion and speed have allowed him to take full advantage of his opportunities.

The other Eagles receivers haven’t been nearly as effective, but they haven’t been terrible either, all earning grades of around 30 points.

The Cowboys best receivers aren’t their highest-graded

Dallas’ grades paint a slightly different picture. Unlike Philadelphia, the Cowboys’ most productive players were far from their most effective. Lamb and Cooper are the lowest-graded pass catchers on the team, earning grades of 28.92 and 26.72, respectively.

Those grades are primarily the result of low catch percentages. They have both been targeted many times, but Cooper has only caught 76.19% of those passes. Lamb has performed even worse, catching just 62.5%.

However, Dallas did have some players who have earned exceptional grades. Their best-graded pass catcher was tight end Dalton Schultz (51.62), followed by Cedrick Wilson Jr. with a grade of 43.41.

Like Watkins on the Eagles, both Schultz and Wilson Jr. have both caught 100% of their targets. That is impressive, but it does further highlight just how efficient Watkins has been. Compare his numbers to those produced by Wilson Jr. They actually have the same number of targets and receptions, but Watkins has nearly 100 more yards.

Overall though, the Cowboys have more players with high OVM grades, and they have also been significantly more productive in a traditional sense. Still, we can’t ignore how excellent Watkins has been in Philadelphia’s first two games.

This Cowboys vs. Eagles matchup could determine who ultimately wins the division

Going into this weekend’s games, Dallas and Philadelphia were tied with the Washington Football Team at the top of the NFC East. The winner of this game will be off to an early lead in what could be a tight division all the way until the end of the season.

Interestingly, these two teams are near complete opposites in terms of passing defense.
Dallas is allowing more than double the number of passing yards per game that Philadelphia is through the first two weeks of the season.

Which group of receivers can better capitalize on their situations could decide who wins this crucial early-season Cowboys vs. Eagles matchup.

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