5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Cowboys

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Cowboys

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. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye podcast: A huge extension for Brandon Brooks

USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: A huge extension for Brandon Brooks

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to Brandon Brooks’ four-year extension worth over $56 million. 

Brooks will go down as one of the best free agent pickups in Eagles history. Jordan Matthews is back yet again. The receivers could definitely use some help. The secondary looks a little more solid. 

The Eagles find themselves in a good position after the bye.

• Brandon Brooks gets an extension
• Jordan Matthews x3 
• Yes, we’re talking about WRs again 
• The division is there for the taking 
• A look at the secondary down the stretch
• Everyone have a good bye week? 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles sign Brandon Brooks to 4-year contract extension

Eagles sign Brandon Brooks to 4-year contract extension

The Eagles on Monday locked up all-pro guard Brandon Brooks with a contract extension that runs through 2024 and makes him the highest-paid guard in the NFL.

The 30-year-old Brooks, who has made a remarkable recovery from Achilles surgery, was already signed through 2020. The new deal runs from 2021 through 2024.

According to AthletesFirst, the agency that represents Brooks, the deal is worth $56.2 million over four years.

That $14.05 million annual average makes Brooks the highest-paid guard in the NFL, just ahead of Zach Martin of the Cowboys, whose six-year, $84 million deal signed last year is worth $14 million per year.

Brooks had been signed through 2020 with base salaries of $8 million this year and $7.5 million next year on his original five-year, $40 million deal with the Eagles.

Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said Brooks is having the best year of his career.

I see a locked in guy,” Stoutland said. “I see a guy that’s just zoned in on what he’s doing from each play. I’m very, very happy with his production, with his level of execution and all the technique that we’re teaching him, he applies it all. He’s a smart man.

Brooks suffered a torn Achilles on Jan. 13 during the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Saints at the Superdome.

But he returned to practice the week before the opener and hasn’t missed a step. After playing 54 of a possible 74 snaps in the opener against the Redskins — he rested late in the game once the Eagles had a double-digit lead — he’s played all 564 snaps in the last eight games at right guard.

What’s stood out about Brooks’ miracle recovery?

The way he just embraced that whole situation and fought through all the adversity and came back with such a positive attitude,” Stoutland said Monday. “I never once saw him down in the tank, worrying about him or ‘why me?’ or any of that. … The approach he had was always positive and, ‘My mission is to get back for that first game,’ and he was able to do that. He’s having the best season of his life right now. It’s a credit to him, it’s well-deserved. He’s a tremendous member of our team. Unbelievable attitude. I love the way he prepares and most especially the way he performs on Sunday.

Brooks, Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce are the only players to start all 46 games the Eagles have played since opening day of 2017.

Brooks initially joined the Eagles in 2016 as a free agent from the Texans, and quickly emerged as one of the greatest free agent signings in franchise history.

He made his first two Pro Bowls in 2017 and 2018 in his sixth and seventh NFL seasons and is on track to make a third straight.

No guard in Eagles history has ever made three Pro Bowls. Brooks, Shawn Andrews and Evan Mathis each made three.

The Eagles now have 26 players under contract through 2021, 14 through 2022 and five through 2023. Brooks is the only player on the roster signed through 2024.

On the offensive line, Isaac Seumalo and Andre Dillard are signed through 2022 and Lane Johnson and Kelce through 2021.

Jason Peters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are currently due to become unrestricted free agents after this season.

Among those under contract through at least 2021 are Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Malik Jackson, Avonte Maddox and T.J. Edwards.

More on the Eagles