December 24, 2020
Dallas Week feels a little more muted this time around, with the pandemic raging, the holidays here and both teams among the worst in football.
Still, the two storied franchises will renew their rivalry Sunday afternoon, with both teams hoping to stay alive for an NFC East title. A Washington loss (to the Panthers) paired with a win for either team keeps the victor in the running for a division championship.
For such a bad team, the Eagles carry a boatload of storylines with them into this game. Will Jalen Hurts continue to make a case that he's the quarterback of the future? Will the young receivers, like Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins keep flashing their talent? Will the banged up defense hang tough against a talented Cowboys passing attack?
And off the field, are we reaching the end of the Doug Pederson era in Philadelphia? How about Howie Roseman?
Before what is sure to be an eventful offseason arrives, there is still some football to be played. Here's what our writers have to say about the Birds' Week 16 matchup with the Cowboys...
TV: FOX (Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma)
RADIO: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese & Mike Quick)
The Eagles have been favored in six games this season. They are 2-3-1 in those games, and only covered the spread once:
|At Football Team
So that's somewhat alarming. In Week 16, they'll face a team that has had a similar season as themselves in the Dallas Cowboys. Similar how?
There are significant matchup advantages for each team in this game:
• The Eagles' new offensive identity is their rushing attack behind Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders, while the Cowboys' run defense has been atrocious this season. Also, the Eagles' edge rushers have favorable matchups against the Cowboys' backup offensive tackles.
• The Cowboys WR trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb should give the Eagles' injury-plagued secondary problems. Defensively, DeMarcus Lawrence vs. Matt Pryor is a significant advantage for the Cowboys, even with Lawrence not having lived up to the $21 million/year contract he signed in 2019.
During the Doug Pederson era, the Eagles have a combined record of 15-5 in the final quadrant of the season.
Even in down seasons, the Eagles have played their best team ball down the stretch.
Both teams are coming off a pair of encouraging performances. The Eagles beat the then 10-2 Saints, and nearly completed a comeback against the likely playoff-bound Cardinals. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have two straight wins in which they have scored at least 30 points, however, those performance came against the Brandon Allen-led Bengals and the Nick Mullens-led 49ers.
Both of these teams stink, but I guess I trust the Eagles' encouraging performances against good team more than I do the Cowboys' wins over the Bengals and Niners.
The season sweep of the Cowboys is something right? I think Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts will collect yards and time of possession and keep the Dallas wideout from doing too much damage. I think the Eagles will win and hurt their draft position, as I fully expect the WFT to beat Carolina to clinch the NFC East.
Still, as a sportswriter in Philly, another solid performance from Hurts will make for plenty of post-Christmas debating as the offseason of doom approaches.
It’s win-or-go-home time for the Philadelphia Eagles. If they fail to beat the Cowboys on Sunday — or if Washington wins their matchup against the Panthers — the Birds will be officially eliminated from the division race. Of course, because the NFL flexed the Football Team’s game to 4 p.m., Philly won’t know the outcome until after their own game is played. Had the Washington game remained at 1, the Eagles outcome could’ve been impacted based on the Birds not having anything to play for — or, on the complete opposite of the spectrum, they could’ve suddenly controlled their own destiny. It’s weird how things work out like that.
Either way, they’ll now head in to Sunday’s matchup in Dallas with their postseason hopes still alive — and that’s a good thing for rookie Jalen Hurts, who will be getting his first taste of this NFC East rivalry. And with both teams still alive in the division race — more so than you’d expect from two teams with so few wins — neither side is likely to hold anything back.
Doug Pederson in a must-win game in December? With a backup quarterback? Making a late-season push for a playoff berth? I’ve seen this movie before. Give me the Birds to keep their season alive for one more week (assuming Washington does its part).
I look forward to having this sentence turned against me after the game this week, but Jalen Hurts has earned a bit of trust after his performances the last few weeks. Eagles win without much issue, setting up a potential donor die game in the final week.
I never thought in my lifetime I would be talking about a crucial December game involving a 5-9 Dallas team playing the last-place 4-9-1 Eagles. How twisted is that? Through two games, Jalen Hurts has shown that he's able to play in this league. He's been fun to watch and it seems the team plays well around him. Dallas' porous defense won't stop him. The Cowboys have been a mess this whole season, even more so than the Eagles. Regardless of what happens, Hurts has been must-watch TV. He's building a resume and placing the Eagles in a precarious position of having to choose between Carson Wentz and Hurts after this season is finished. It's not a good position for either of them. I will say this about Wentz, after the Eagles' last gasp failed against Arizona last Sunday, Wentz was the first one to console Hurts, if anyone bothered to notice.
This is the part of the season where we start to bet on momentum. The Eagles in the past have been a major let down but that changes on Sunday. Jalen Hurts has the team believing! Plus, the Cowboys can't stop anyone on the ground. I love the Eagles to win this game and push for a division title. Hurts plays well. Philadelphia talk radio explodes.
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