The Dallas Cowboys return home at AT&T Stadium to take on their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys want to keep their home win streak alive as they have had 14 straight wins so far, the longest active home win streak in the NFL.
What are some key aspects and players in this Sunday night matchup that could be game-changers for both teams?
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Game Preview
The Cowboys can take over the NFC East with a win. But this doesn’t seal the deal for them, as the fate of their playoff seeding will largely be determined by how the Eagles and 49ers do the rest of the season.
This will be the battle of third downs for both teams, as this game will indeed be a game of inches.
Last week, the Cowboys allowed the Seahawks to have nine successful third-down conversions out of 14 attempts.
Earlier this week, Dan Quinn said the Eagles don’t take a traditional approach with third downs and treat them like second-down conversions, especially in short-yardage situations.
This game will be determined in the first and second downs, and the Cowboys defense needs to ensure long yardage in these situations.
All eyes will be on the linebackers Markquese Bell and Damone Clark in this matchup to ensure the run defense doesn’t become an issue, giving the Eagles an upper hand.
Jalen Hurts will rely on D’Andre Swift for the run game and can play his best when he can scramble outside of the pocket as well.
It will also be up to the Cowboys’ secondary, with DaRon Bland, Stephon Gilmore, and Jourdan Lewis, to eliminate big plays and prevent them altogether in this game.
As for the offense, Dak Prescott continues to play lights out.
Prescott can take advantage of the Eagles’ secondary by establishing the threats of CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks.
However, it’s not impossible to see Mike McCarthy pull some new tricks out of his playsheet with guys like KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Tolbert, and the tight end room.
Peyton Hendershot will rejoin Jake Ferguson in the TE room, returning after being on IR since October.
The run game has seen an uptick since the last time these two teams met in Week 9, and they haven’t had less than 100 rushing yards a game since.
Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle will be needed to win the time of possession and wear the Eagles’ defensive line out.
Cowboys-Eagles Stats From Inside Edge
- Tony Pollard (DAL) has broken 26 tackles this season — second-most of qualified RBs.
- The Eagles have broken 23 tackles this season — fourth-fewest in NFL.
Analysis: The Cowboys run game can shine in this game. The Cowboys have gotten Pollard working in the end zone the last three weeks, as he has had a touchdown every week.
If Pollard and Dowdle establish a red-zone threat in this game, they can take the next step in improving the Cowboys’ run game.
- Eagles RBs have rushed for 10 or more yards on 16.7% of 42 carries since Week 10 — third-best in the NFL.
- The Cowboys have allowed 10+ yards on 14.8% of carries to RBs since Week 10 — fifth-worst in the NFL.
Analysis: The Cowboys’ run defense has been an area of scrutiny dating back to last season. However, the improvement it’s made since then is noticeable.
With Bell and Clark maturing and filling the box, teams have difficulty running up the middle.
This will be a true measuring stick game for the Cowboys’ run defense, especially considering how much Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson relies on the run in his play-calling.
- Jake Ferguson (DAL) has five TDs this season — tied for third-most of qualified TEs.
- The Eagles have allowed six TDs to TEs this season — tied for third-most in the NFL.
Analysis: The “Texas Coast” offensive scheme uses the tight ends more to block. However, Ferguson has taken a second-year jump that is undeniable.
His ability to create yards after catch and catch balls in tight windows makes him one of Prescott’s safety blankets. Ferguson can very quickly become the team’s red-zone threat that it was lacking at the beginning of the season.
- Dak Prescott (DAL) has a 108.3 passer rating this season — second-best of qualified QBs.
- The Eagles have allowed a passer rating of 98.4 this season — fourth-worst in the NFL.
Analysis: If Prescott can continue to do what he’s been doing since the team’s bye week, the passing game should continue to shine bright.
The Cowboys offense has leaned on the pass more than years prior, but it has worked well for how comfortably Prescott is playing right now. This also boils back to the offensive line finding their continuity, allowing Prescott to feel comfortable to release the ball from the pocket.
- Jalen Hurts (PHI) has a just 85.4 passer rating on the road this season — seventh-worst of qualified QBs.
- The Cowboys have allowed a passer rating of just 68.0 at home this season — third-best in the NFL.
- Jalen Hurts (PHI) has thrown ten interceptions this season — tied for the fourth-most of qualified QB.
- The Cowboys have intercepted 13 passes this season — tied for third-most in the NFL.
Analysis: The last time these two teams met, the Cowboys didn’t create any turnovers. This will be something that the secondary can do in the form of interceptions, but forced fumbles could also play a vital part in this game.
All eyes are on guys like Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Johnathan Hankins, and Osa Odighizuwa to win their matchups and play physically to get Hurts to fumble the ball.
Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!
Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast
Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Cowboys Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Cowboys Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.