Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Cowboys in NFL Week 16

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Cowboys in NFL Week 16

The Eagles (7-7) will host the Cowboys (7-7) in an important NFC East battle in Week 16 at Lincoln Financial Field. 

A quick reminder: If the Cowboys win, they will clinch the division. If the Eagles win, they won’t just yet. They would either need to beat the Giants in the regular season finale or hope the Cowboys lose to Washington. 

In recent history, the Cowboys have pretty much owned the Eagles. The Eagles are 2-5 against the Cowboys since Doug Pederson took over in 2016. They have lost the last four games to the Cowboys, dating back to 2017. 

Earlier this season, the Eagles lost 37-10 to the Cowboys, which was the biggest margin of victory for any of their opponents against them this year. 

To the matchups: 

Ezekiel Elliott vs. Eagles’ run defense 

The only two times Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz have beaten the Cowboys in the last four years came when Elliott didn’t play. The All-Pro running back is 5-0 against the Birds in his career. This is such a key we already spent time earlier in the week breaking down this matchup and its importance

In the previous matchup, Elliott ran everywhere. 

Amari Cooper vs. Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills 

Aside from Elliott, the other offensive weapon who has killed the Eagles is Cooper. In three games as a Cowboy against the Eagles, he has 21 catches for 398 yards (18.9) and three touchdowns. That also includes the game on Oct. 20, when Cooper had five catches for 106 yards. His biggest game against the Eagles came last December in Dallas when he had 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns against what was left of the Eagles’ secondary. Even earlier this year, Cooper faced the Eagles without Ronald Darby and in Jalen Mills’ first game back from injury. 

That’s not to say Mills and Darby have performed well recently. They certainly haven’t. Aside from receiver, the Eagles’ cornerback position is their biggest problem. 

This season, the Eagles have allowed an individual 100-yard receiving game 10 times to nine different players (Terry McLaurin twice). Cooper has been banged up this season, but this is a big chance for him to have a day. 

Eagles right tackle vs. DeMarcus Lawrence 

In the last meeting, Lane Johnson finally gave up his first sack to Lawrence and it was a huge one. On that play, Carson Wentz fumbled and the Cowboys punched in a touchdown two plays later. Coming into this game, Johnson has a high ankle sprain and his status is unknown. If Johnson plays, he won’t be 100 percent. If he can’t play, Halapoulivaati Vaitai will fill in. Big V did a fine job last week against the Redskins but Ryan Kerrigan didn’t play in that game. Facing Lawrence in a must-win game is a much bigger task. 

This season, Lawrence’s sack numbers are down. He has just 5.0 sacks in 14 games, but he’s still dangerous. 

Xavier Su’a-Filo vs. Tim Jernigan 

The Cowboys have a pretty good offensive line but the weak spot is definitely Su’a-Filo at left guard filling in for Connor Williams, who is on Injured Reserve. Su’a-Filo is now in his sixth NFL season and is probably best as a backup. His strength is in the run game; he’ll give up some pressure in pass protection. If Fletcher Cox is dealing with right guard Zack Martin, there’s a chance for Jernigan to get some pressure on Su’a-Filo. Jernigan has never been known as a sack guy, but this season he has just one and it came in the season opener. This would be a good time for him to at least pressure Dak Prescott and if not, at least beat Su’a-Filo and get Zeke to the ground. 

Miles Sanders vs. Cowboys run defense 

Since the bye week, without Jordan Howard, Sanders has really proven himself to be a feature back. He’s coming off his best game as a pro against Washington; he had 122 rushing yards and 172 yards from scrimmage in that one. He should get a lot of touches in this game, including in the screen game, where the Cowboys are susceptible. 

The Cowboys are statistically the 12th-best rushing defense in the league, giving up 103.6 yards per game this season. The Cowboys got a lead against the Rams and then limited them to 22 rushing yards last week. But that broke a streak of seven straight games of the Cowboys’ allowing 100-plus on the ground. You can run on this team if you’re not forced to pass. Doug Pederson just can’t abandon it too early. 

We all understand the Eagles don’t have big-play ability and in this game that might be OK. Keep feeding Sanders the rock and try to hold the ball for as long as possible to keep that Dallas offense off the field. That should be the idea in this game. 

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2020 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles trade up to grab an elite playmaker

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles trade up to grab an elite playmaker

Free agency came and went, and the Eagles still lack sufficient receiving threats.

In his latest mock draft, Adam Hermann hypothesizes that GM Howie Roseman is buying the hype of this year's wide receiver class.

It takes a few resources, but his fictional Roseman makes a move that has Eagles fans dreaming of touchdown passes.

Here's the latest mock draft:

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles trade up to grab an elite playmaker

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1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

1980 Super Bowl tickets and more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Points

Inflated Super Bowl ticket prices, your favorite Eagle who wore No. 21, an Eagles draft trend and much more in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Points!

1. Maybe he’ll be another Byron Maxwell, another Nnamdi, another DRC. I have a good feeling about Darius Slay, though. I think the Eagles may have nailed this one. The price in draft picks wasn’t too high, and his contract is big but it’s also smart and along the lines of what top corners are getting and has an out after three years. Maybe he’ll be another cornerback bust. There’ve been enough of those. But with his personality and his confidence and his playmaking ability, he reminds me of Asante Samuel, who was the last elite corner the Eagles have had. I remember the day the Eagles drafted Tra Thomas in 1998, he shouted into the phone during a conference call, “I’m not going to be another Eagles first-round bust!” Slay all but guaranteed the same thing. I could be wrong, but I think this time they got it right.

2. Doing some research this week I found a preview story on Super Bowl XV between the Eagles and Raiders from Jan. 25, 1981, by a legendary sports writer and cartoonist Murray Olderman that included this line: “Defense makes all coaches salivate but doesn’t do much to excite the guy paying that inflated $40 ticket (up from $10 last year).” Imaging having to pay an inflated $40 for a Super Bowl ticket! Outrageous.

3. Zero interest in Brandin Cooks. 

4. The last Eagles quarterback to throw the first pass of the regular season and the last pass of the postseason was Michael Vick in 2010. The last Eagles quarterback to start and finish 16 regular-season games and finish a playoff game was Donovan McNabb in 2003. Only 17 years ago.

5. It’s just weird to me that Halapoulivaati Vaitai gets a five-year, $45 million contract just a few hours into free agency, and here we are three weeks later and Jason Peters is still unsigned. I get that Big V is younger, but he’s started four games over the last two years and as we’ve all seen, he isn’t the world’s most consistent lineman. J.P. has been banged up, and he’s 38, but he has started 32 of 35 game the last two years. And let’s be honest: Even at 38 he’s way better than Big V. I wrote the other day about some of the reasons Peters is still on the street. But I’m still surprised. It might not be till after the draft till he finds a home, but I still feel like he’ll be playing somewhere next season.

6. The Eagles have drafted nine Pro Bowlers in the first round since 1990, and six of them were linemen — Fletcher Cox and Corey Simon on defense, and Lane Johnson, Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberry and Shawn Andrews on offense. The exceptions are Lito Sheppard, Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz.  

7. I’m fine with the Eagles not landing a receiver in free agency. But, man, they better land the right guy in the first round of the draft. And the second or third round. They simply can't afford to mess this up.

8. The first-round running back trend really tells you a lot about the way the NFL game is changing. As more and more running backs fail to be productive over a number of years and limp out of the game at a young age, first-round running backs have become more and more rare. Only 16 were drafted in the first round this past decade, less than a third of the number taken in the first round during the 1980s and half as many as the previous decade. In the last seven drafts, only nine of 223 first-round picks were running backs.  


2010-2019: 16

2000-2009: 32

1990-1999: 34

1980-1989: 50

9. Interesting to compare Dallas Goedert’s first two seasons in the NFL with Zach Ertz’s:

Ertz: 94-for-1,171, 7 TDs

Goedert: 91-for-941, 9 TDs

10. On our last Eagle Eye podcast, Dave Zangaro and I were talking about Ronald Darby, and Dave asked what player I think of when I see jersey No. 21. I immediately answered … Joselio Hanson. But in all seriousness, it’s Eric Allen. My theory is that we associated jersey numbers with the first player that stuck out to us when we first started watching the Eagles. I think of 55 as Mike Reichenbach, not Brandon Graham. I think of 96 as Clyde and not Derek Barnett. And I even see No. 20 and think of Andre Waters and not Dawk. If there’s nobody significant that wore that number in the 1980s, it’s different. No. 36 is definitely Brian Westbrook (and not Robert Drummond, Stanley Pritchett or Michael Zordich). And No. 27 will always be Malcolm Jenkins (and not Siran Stacy, Eric Zomalt or Norman LeJeune. But for all the numbers that were worn by key guys the last few years of the Buddy Era, that’s where my brain goes. I can’t help it.

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