Tales From The East

Intriguing GameWeek Seven

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Eagles: Just when you think they were getting ready to turn the page and go on a little run, they hit a bump on the road. After a big win in week four on the road against the Green Bay Packers and dominating the New York Jets the following week behind ten sacks from the defense, the Eagles were riding a two-game winning streak heading into Minnesota to play the Vikings. I think they forgot they had a football game to play because they didn’t show up. For the most part, the offense has been average at best. I feel if DeSean Jackson were playing, they’d have some more explosiveness to them. Although he’s been in the league for 12 years, he’s still that one receiver that can zoom past your entire secondary and take that top off any coverage. When they are completely healthy on offense, this will be a unit to watch. What’s concerning me about them now is their defense. They can get to the quarterback no matter who’s in the lineup. It’s their secondary that’s been consistently terrible all year long. They must do a better job of communicating with one another. You can’t play winning football or even disciplined football if there’s no communication within your back end of the defense, plain and simple. Look at what they did in Minnesota. They gave up three receiving touchdowns to Stefon Diggs. The Vikings knew the Eagles were struggling to contain him, so what does Kirk Cousins do? He keeps attacking them until they could stop him, and they couldn’t! At 3-3, the Eagles get ready for Cowboys week on a Sunday night.

Cowboys: Remember when there was talk about them being the best team in the NFC? That talk has simmered down considerably over the last month and a half. I’ll admit their offense did look sharp in their first three games against the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins, all below average football teams. When they faced the Saints, they were physically dominated at the line of scrimmage and they didn’t bother feeding Ezekiel Elliott the football. The following week against the Packers in week five, they were punched in the mouth. It seems as if when Dak Prescott faces intense amounts of pressure, he turns the football over, and he did so three times. This past Sunday, they had all sorts of problems with the Jets and give them credit because they did a great job of stifling Zeke to put the game in Dak’s hands and he clearly couldn’t handle it. Now, they’ve lost three in a row. So, what’s the issue with the Cowboys? To me, the issue is at the line of scrimmage. They’ve had a reputation for being the best offensive line in the NFL for years now and they haven’t dominated up front. Injuries are also playing a large role in these struggles because Tyron Smith and La’el Collins have both been sidelined. Defensively, they’re struggling to get after the passer and stop the run which was one of their biggest strengths last season. To stop the losing, they’ll face an Eagles team who’s also looking to get back on track.

Eagles Player to Watch: Derek Barnett– As I said up top, the Eagles have absolutely no problem getting to the quarterback. I think this guy here has emerged as the Eagles best defensive player. He was a stud in college at Tennessee and has become a big piece to what they do up front. He stuffs the run, gets after the quarterback, sheds blockers, etc. I see him taking advantage of a depleted offensive line.

Cowboys Player to Watch: Michael Gallup– With Amari Cooper potentially missing this game, this is the next man up. Next to Coop, he gives Prescott a consistent second option. He can play in the slot, outside and all he does is make catches. He’ll get his catches and shred a secondary that struggles to stop anyone.

Final Analysis: You have to love some NFC East drama and that’s definitely what we have here. Both teams lost last weekend which makes more of an intriguing matchup (pun intended). This has been one of the best rivalries in the NFL because when they battle, it always comes down to the fourth quarter or in some cases, these two will decide who wins the division. Let’s look at some numbers. Aaron Rodgers threw for over 400 yards when the Eagles played the Packers and last weekend, Kirk Cousins threw for 333 yards and four touchdown passes. Even Case Keenum lit apart this Eagles secondary. The Cowboys need to come out in attack mode and play with a sense of urgency. You’ve lost three in a row and first place is on the line. The Eagles need to mix things up offensively. DeSean is also expected to be back. That can give them the boost they need.

Prediction: Eagles 28 Cowboys 23

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