November 11, 2018
The Eagles face a big divisional matchup against the Cowboys on Sunday night at the Linc. With a win, the Eagles could move into a tie with the Redskins for the lead in the NFC East — and all but end Dallas' 2018 campaign. With a loss, however, the Birds would fall behind Dallas and into third place in the division — and would face a massive uphill climb to make it back to the playoffs.
As we do each week, let's take a look at some numbers to watch on Sunday night in the form of our five Eagles over/unders:
That's the current total being offered over at Bovada, and it's actually been a number on the rise this week — it was 43.5 just a few days ago. And even though that number is climbing, I think it could be even a little bit higher. In our weekly staff predictions, each of our writers picked a total somewhere in the 47-51 point range, with most of us being on the high end of that.
The Eagles offense seems to be getting better each week — even if their point totals haven't quite reflected that this season — and with them coming off the bye, I think they'll have another good showing this week. Couple that with the fact that the Birds are banged up on defense and the Cowboys should be able to put up some point, even though that hasn't been their M.O. this season — Dallas has scored over 20 points twice this season, and one of those games was that outlier 40-7 win over Jacksonville.
Of course, with the Eagles rocking their black uniforms on Sunday night, there's a chance the Cowboys hardly score at all in this one. I just don't see that happening with all the injuries in the secondary.
This is probably the biggest question that Eagles fans want answered on Sunday night: What will Golden Tate's role be in the Eagles offense? Of course, it's impossible to know this until seeing him play at least one game, but according to a report, Doug Pederson, Mike Groh and the rest of the Eagles offensive decision-makers plan on getting creative with how they use Tate.
From @NFLGameDay: #Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is fully back, while the #Eagles are poised to get creative with Golden Tate who is well-versed enough to move around the field. pic.twitter.com/M2CGqKWtUp— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 11, 2018
Golden Tate, the Eagles could not love their new addition more. He really made good use of the bye week. Stayed in touch with Mike Groh, the offensive coordinator, during the move. Really tried to understand what the Eagles are doing conceptually. And from what I’m told, Mike Groh is going to get creative with Golden Tate just because he picked it up so quickly. They’re going to move him all around the formation. [via bleedinggreennation.com]
If that's the case, we might not simply be talking about receptions for Tate in this game. Especially given the depleted running back stable the Eagles have been working out of this season, there's a chance their new wideout gets a carry or two, perhaps taking some touches away from Nelson Agholor, who had been the guy taking the handoffs on the jet sweeps and other WR-designed runs.
And I just have a feeling that he and Wentz are going to have a great rapport.
This has been one of the biggest problems for the Eagles this season, the failure to create turnovers — and, more importantly, turn them into points. So far in 2018, the Eagles defense has generated just seven turnovers in eight games. Through their first eight games last year, Jim Schwartz's defense forced 14 turnovers and was one of the best at creating takeaways all season.
The good news for Sunday's game is that the Cowboys have turned the ball over eight times in their four road games this season. Unfortunately, I don't think the Eagles get multiple turnovers in this one — something they haven't done since Week 2 against Tampa — which will put even more pressure on the offense to protect the ball. After all, winning the turnover battle goes a long way toward winning the game. And so far this year, they've only done that once (against the Giants).
Carson Wentz has looked better than expected in 2018, and that's saying something considering he was an MVP candidate before tearing his ACL last season. With the exception of his season debut against the Colts, Wentz has thrown multiple TD passes in each game this season, including three in two of his last three games.
The Cowboys defense has been stingy, especially against the pass, allowing just 10 touchdowns through the air so far this season. I think Wentz is good for another two on Sunday, and while I could be convinced he throws three in this one, the safer bet here is the under.
This is well above what the Eagles have been allowing on average this season (83.8 YPG) but that doesn't necessarily mean the Birds are in trouble. I have a feeling the Cowboys are going to hit the over here simply because of volume. They don't have much of a passing attack, but they have one of the best rushing offenses in the league (128.8 YPG) and they're going to hit the over here simply because of volume.
Part of the reason the Eagles don't allow any rushing yards is because most teams don't even bother trying to run against them. That changes on Sunday night (albeit out of necessity), and it seems likely that the Cowboys hit the century mark before the game is over. Despite failing to reach 75 yards on the ground in their previous two games, the Cowboys have rushed for at least 94 yards in each of their first six, including four games of over 130 yards on the ground.
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