The Eagles (6-6) are coming off two straight wins as they head down to North Texas for a game that could decide first place against the Dallas Cowboys (7-5) at AT&T Stadium.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (6-6)
I’d like to think that wins over the Giants and Redskins were some kind of turning point for the Eagles. And maybe they were. But the Giants are a 4-8 disaster and the Redskins were out there with Mark Sanchez, and the reality is that even an average team should win those games at home. This is different. The Cowboys are hot. They’re home. They’ve won four straight, and that win over the Saints was legit. Amari Cooper has transformed the Dallas offense, Dak Prescott is playing within himself, and the defense is stocked with speed and youth. And I just don’t think the Eagles, still banged up and undermanned, are ready for what they’re going to face Sunday at AT&T Stadium. I might feel differently if the Eagles weren’t coming off a short week and flying halfway across the country, and the Cowboys weren’t coming off a Thursday night home game. That’s a huge advantage. If the Eagles can force three turnovers, they’ll win. But they’ve forced nine all year. I just don’t like the timing and the matchups.
Cowboys 20, Eagles 17
Dave Zangaro (5-7)
Maybe I’m crazy for thinking the Eagles are going to go on the road and beat a team that in its last time out took down the hottest team in the NFL. But I do. I think the key for this game is that the Eagles can control the trenches. It’s been the most positive thing I have seen over the last two weeks. You can argue that the Eagles haven’t seen a super high level of competition against the Giants and Redskins, but they won those games behind their offensive and defensive lines. I think they have the advantage in those two categories again.
I expect Carson Wentz to have a good game, for the Eagles to find ways to keep Dallas’ defense off balance by running the ball and for the Eagles’ pass rush to get home against Prescott. If all that happens, the Eagles walk out of AT&T Stadium in first place in the NFC East.
Eagles 24, Cowboys 23
Derrick Gunn (6-6)
The Eagles got through the two division preliminary rounds (Giants and Redskins). Now comes the heavyweight match they’ve been playing for … the rematch with Dallas. The Cowboys put the rest of NFC on notice by knocking off the red-hot New Orleans Saints. I keep going back to the first meeting this season between the two and two things stand out. Kamu Grugier-Hill dropped what would have been a pick-6, and if Corey Clement had cut back to the inside on a screen pass that Dallas LB Leighton Vander Esch blew up … that might have been a TD also. And the outcome might have been different.
But the Cowboys’ defense is legit. Arguably the fastest D in the league. They are fifth overall (318.2 yds allowed per game), fourth against the run (91.3) and second in points allowed (18.2). The ‘Boys’ offense still runs through Ezekiel Elliott. With the addition of Cooper, it opens up the offense more for the Boys’ other weapons. Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith, after missing the last two games, is slated to return this week.
The Eagles’ offense, the last two games, has been much more efficient, especially the run game. The Birds ran the ball 62 times (including six runs by Carson Wentz). Wentz seems to be even more effective when he’s outside of the pocket. Darren Sproles’ finally returning gives the offensive an explosiveness it’s been lacking. Zach Ertz is having a record-setting year and must win his matchups to aid the passing game. Golden Tate is finally settling in and starting to look like the receiver the Eagles traded for. The Birds’ defense cannot afford to have a multitude of mental mistakes this time around. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz says he like his D-line to get pressure on a QB and not blitz that much. But take notice, Jim, because Prescott was sacked seven times last week by the Saints, who brought pressure from different angles.
If the Birds can get pressure on Prescott, I like their chances, but even that may not be enough. I see this as a good, entertaining NFC East slugfest, but sorry, Bird Gang, I have to go with the home team this time.
Cowboys 24, Eagles 17
Ray Didinger (7-5)
Remember just a month ago we were writing the Cowboys’ obituary. Head coach Jason Garrett was all but gone. Prescott was being written off. Troy Aikman was calling for a total overhaul of the organization.
Gee, how things have changed. Since then the Cowboys have won four in a row and they can pretty much lock up the NFC East with a win over the Eagles Sunday. Even Cowboy haters — of which there are many — had to be impressed with their 13-10 win over New Orleans. They shut down the same offense that dropped 48 points on the Eagles just two weeks earlier.
All the hard evidence points to a Dallas win but I like what I saw from the Eagles’ offense last week. The O-line played much better, Carson Wentz was moving around and making big throws down the field. I think the Eagles are still stung by their poor showing against the Cowboys last month and will go to Dallas (where they have won six of their last eight games) with something to prove. Dust off the underdog masks.
Eagles 23, Cowboys 21
Andrew Kulp (6-6)
Judging from the tortured path they took to beating the team of insurance salesmen in Redskins uniforms on Monday, the Eagles are still a work in progress. And while the Cowboys may not be Super Bowl contenders exactly, they have an elite defense, and Cooper has really opened up the offense.
The still-shorthanded Eagles D won’t have an answer for Elliott. Unless Carson Wentz suddenly ends his struggles in the red zone, the offense won’t be able to keep up.
Cowboys 24, Eagles 19
Corey Seidman (6-6)
The Cowboys are due for a clunker, same as the Saints were due for one in their surprising loss to Dallas. The Cowboys are better than we expected and have looked good since Week 9, but are they really going to rip off eight straight wins to finish the season?
Evenly matched game, with the Eagles’ weak secondary giving every team they face the rest of the season hope. I just see an Eagles offense coming together, with a QB overdue to erupt for a standout, statement performance.
Eagles 34, Cowboys 31
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