Photo: Kevin Burkett, used via CC-BY-SA 2.0
The Eagles will try to extend their winning streak to two in a row on Sunday night as they host the archrival Dallas Cowboys in a game that, despite the teams having combined for four and a half wins by Week 8, will inexplicably decide who is atop the NFC East standings to begin November.
The Birds might have Lane Johnson and Jalen Reagor back, while Dallas could be led by a guy named “Ben DiNucci” after injuries to Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton. How will things unfold at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday Night Football?
John earned a mildly controversial victory last week, so he goes first.
John (1-4-2): The Eagles are not a great team and are in all likelihood a bad team in a worse division. If they want to prove me wrong and show that they belong as a divisional front runner on both sides of the ball, this is the week to do it. Remember the grin Jerry Jones had on his face when he picked CeeDee Lamb at the draft? As good as Lamb has been in 2020, it turns out that there is more to winning than just throwing the ball.
The Cowboys defense is not just inadequate, but the unit is historically porous. The Eagles offense has not clicked for four quarters. This is the week to right the ship and put up points with a balanced attack. John Hightower and Travis Fulgham will have big weeks. Their main issue will be running out the clock and there is a good chance that Jason Huntley may receive a fair share of the carries.
With Ben DiNucci penciled in as the Cowboys quarterback, the Eagles defense will get a chance to lick their chops against a backup just like they did in San Francisco. If they can limit Ezekiel Elliot and prevent a couple long bombs, the Birds should feast on the former James Madison quarterback. Eagles 35, Cowboys 17.
Offensive Standout: Travis Fulgham
Defensive Standout: Alex Singleton
Joe (4-1-2): Ahem. John *was awarded* a controversial victory last week. Get it right, omnipotent narrator man woman person camera TV.
The Eagles come into this one after a comeback victory and with three extra days of rest. They are getting a little healthier as well. Meanwhile, Dallas got pantsed by the Washington Football Team on Sunday, a week after getting pantsed by the Cardinals. Their new starter, Andy Dalton, was concussed on a terrible (and unpunished) hit from Football Team’s Jon Bostic, and it looks like Ben DiNucci – who sounds more like the guy who plays a recurring character on a sitcom – could very well be the starting quarterback for “America’s Team” on Sunday night.
This has all the makings of a romp for the boys in Midnight Green. So why am I suspicious?
It’s because the Eagles aren’t very good. Their playcalling has been suspect on both sides of the ball. A team that heavily uses tight ends is missing its top two guys at that position, plus its number one running back and two starting receivers from opening day. The defense doesn’t force turnovers. The offensive line has been just that. The quarterback has been brilliant at times, and has been abominably bad at others. So, you’ll forgive me for being skeptical.
But…I am reminded of the official motto of the city of Philadelphia: “Philadelphia maneto,” which is Latin for “Dallas sucks.” And this year, Dallas actually sucks. They’re, like, really bad! Dak Prescott was off to an historic start with his passing numbers, but that’s mostly because they’ve been down by multiple touchdowns at some point in just about every game they’ve played this season. Remember the Falcons’ first big blown lead of the season? It was in Dallas! The Cowboys won that game!
Their defense has allowed an average of 408 yards per game, with a league-worst 178 of those coming on the ground. Teams are scoring 34.7 points per game against the Cowboys ON AVERAGE. The Eagles aren’t good, but they’re better than Dallas. This year, anyway.
With Da Nooch under center – or more likely in the shotgun so as to facilitate him running for his life the entire night – it’s going to be up to Ezekiel Elliott to do all of the heavy lifting, and eventually, I think he’ll wear down. There will be some concern in the first half, but I think the fourth quarter might feature an extended Jalen Hurts cameo. Eagles 40, Cowboys 13.
Offensive Standout: Boston Scott
Defensive Standout: Josh Sweat, but bonus prediction: the Eagles will intercept Ben DiNucci on his very first pass, and if this happens, I am declaring an instant win.