The Eagles (4-4) host the hated Dallas Cowboys (3-4) at Lincoln Financial Field at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday night.
The Eagles are coming off their bye week, while the Cowboys have a short week after losing to the Titans on Monday Night Football.
This is the first of two matchups between the division rivals this season.
Here are five matchups to watch:
Lane Johnson vs. DeMarcus Lawrence
He already had a high ankle sprain when he sprained his MCL two weeks ago in London. And somehow Johnson is still planning to play. He’s been practicing this week and Doug Pederson expects him to play. The big question is how good he’ll be. Last year, Johnson was tremendous against Lawrence and the Cowboys, but now he’ll be playing at a significant disadvantage.
That’s not good news with one of the NFL’s best defensive linemen lining up against him. Since the start of the 2017 season, Lawrence has 21 sacks. That’s tied for the second-most sacks in the NFL during that span. He’s really good and Johnson isn’t 100 percent. Definitely worth watching.
Amari Cooper vs. Rasul Douglas
In his first game with the Cowboys, Cooper caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys gave up a first-round pick for Cooper, so he better be good. Jalen Mills is likely going to be out for at least this week, so Douglas is going to start outside. He’s played limited time this year, but Douglas has played well (see story). That doesn’t mean we won’t see the Cowboys try to test him immediately.
Cole Beasley vs. ???
In addition to Mills, the Eagles are also going to be without Sidney Jones this week. That means someone else will be facing Cole Beasley, who leads the Cowboys with 36 catches for 366 yards. He’s already surpassed his 2017 season in eight games.
It’s unclear who will be the Eagles’ nickel cornerback without Jones. The last guy to hold the role, Dexter McDougle, was released this week. So their options are either move Avonte Maddox to nickel corner and replace him with Corey Graham or send in newcomer Cre’Von LeBlanc. Maddox might be the better option, but that would weaken the back end. Tough decision.
Golden Tate vs. Anthony Brown
This is Tate’s first game with the Eagles, so you’re going to be watching him anyway. I don’t think there’s going to be much of a grace period for Tate to learn the offense or get eased into this thing. The Eagles traded a third-round pick for him and there are just eight games left on his contract. They need him to play, play a lot and play well immediately. Brown won the job out of camp and has been playing the nickel CB role all season.
Ezekiel Elliott vs. Eagles’ defense
At times this season, the rest of the Cowboys have really been stinking it up, but Elliott is still really good. He’s still an elite player. The only time the Eagles have really struggled with a running back this season was against the Giants, when Saquon Barkley had a big game. Elliott is similar as a player who can hurt you in the run game and as a receiver.
In two career games against the Eagles, he has 49 carries for 199 yards, but no touchdowns. His first game against the Birds came in 2016, when he had 96 yards on the ground. He had 103 in that meaningless regular-season finale last year.
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