Let’s Get Divisional: Eagles vs. Cowboys
This Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles, sporting a record of 4-9-1, will travel to Dallas and take on the Cowboys, whose record is ever so slightly better at 5-9. For both teams, the path to the playoffs will come through winning the NFC East. The current front-runner in the division is the Washington Football Team who post a 6-8 record. While both the Eagles and Cowboys need outside help to have a playoff shot, those playoff aspirations will immediately disappear with a loss this week. The win-or-go-home stakes of this game should make it a fun one even for two teams who can’t reach .500 on the season. Find the game’s top storylines below.
Hurts: Suddenly the Best Quarterback in the NFC East
At this point in the season, Jalen Hurts is the best quarterback in the NFC East…and it’s not even close. While the rookie quarterback has impressed beyond all expectation in his first two games, that designation really says more about the competition in the rest of the division.
New York Giants second-year quarterback Daniel Jones hasn’t made the strides many thought he would after showcasing talented flashes last year. He’s proven to be a turnover machine and an injury hindering his athletic ability hasn’t helped. The Giants have been toggling between him and Colt McCoy the last couple weeks. Needless to say, neither option has been inspiring.
The Washington Football Team started the year with Dwayne Haskins, another sophomore signal-caller. After his poor play led to his benching, they turned to Kyle Allen who went down with injury. That led to Alex Smith and a heartwarming comeback story, but his health status is also currently in question. And so the carousel came back full circle to Haskins, who put himself in COVID-19 jeopardy this week after a photograph surfaced of him maskless at a strip club. Yep, that’s the team leading the NFC East at present.
The Dallas Cowboys currently feature Andy Dalton at quarterback, who took over when starter Dak Prescott went down with injury in the early going of the season. He is less turnover-prone than his younger adversaries but doesn’t have the explosive firepower to match what Hurts seems capable of delivering at the quarterback position. The Birds are certainly counting on Hurts to outplay Dalton in their duel on Sunday, at it seems unlikely the team will have a chance at victory without that edge.
Play of the Pro Bowlers
The Philadelphia Eagles had three players named to the pro bowl this season. On the offensive side of the ball, Jason Kelce was selected as the starting center for the NFC. Meanwhile, both defensive end Brandon Graham and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox qualified as defensive selections.
Kelce and the rest of the offensive line will strive to protect Hurts from a Dallas defense that has been improving rapidly across the latter half of the season. Though it has largely gone unnoticed, the Cowboys have made serious strides on the defensive side of the ball and are no longer the gimme for opposing offenses that they used to be.
While the Birds are still hurting in their secondary, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham have consistently wreaked havoc for opposing offenses in the trenches. That trend will need to continue this Sunday as both running back Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard may be forces to stop. In Zeke’s absence last week, understudy Tony Pollard exploded against the 49ers, gaining 69 yards and two touchdowns on only 12 carries. The defense can’t take a break if Zeke misses more time as Pollard has looked fresh whenever he’s had the opportunity to handle the rock this year.
I think this game will be an incredibly close nail-biter. I’m taking the Birds by just a hair. Eagles 27, Cowboys 26.