Doug Pederson is going to try to do something this weekend that he’s had a hard time doing since he got here.
Beat the Cowboys.
Pederson is 2-5 against the Cowboys, although in the loss on the last day of the 2017 regular season with the Eagles already locked into the No. 1 seed came with backup players.
“This team has our number right now,” Pederson said Friday.
The Eagles face the Cowboys on Sunday at the Linc with a chance at the NFC East title at stake.
A win combined with a win against the Giants a week from Sunday gives the Eagles the NFC East title and a playoff berth. A loss gives the division title to the Cowboys.
A Cowboys win Sunday would make Dallas the first team to win the NFC East two years in a row since the Eagles in 2003 and 2004 and give the Cowboys three division titles in the last four years.
So there’s a lot going on here.
Pederson is 38-22 against the rest of the NFL, a .633 winning percentage. And 2-5 against the Cowboys.
He conceded Friday that the Eagles' failures against the Cowboys bother him.
“I do think about that,” Pederson said Friday. “The start of the season every head coach gets up and says, ’Let’s take care of our division.’ You take care of your division, you’re in the postseason. The Cowboys have been a team we've struggled with, honestly. It’s something we've just got to continue to work and try to overcome. They've had our number here recently and then really since my time here in Philly. It’s something that as we look at the tape and how I prepare the football team and get ready to play and all of that, I look at all of that. At the end of the day, we’re focused on this game, and hopefully we can turn things around. We do well with the other teams. It’s just this one team that has our number right now.”
The Eagles are 6-2 vs. the Redskins and 6-1 vs. the Giants under Pederson.
The only other team that the Eagles have faced more than once since 2016 that Pederson has a losing record against is the Seahawks (0-3). You can add the Saints (0-2) if you include the playoffs.
If the Cowboys win Sunday, it will be the first time since 1993 and 1994 they’ve swept the Eagles in consecutive seasons.
The Eagles haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2011, and their current four-game losing streak to Dallas is their longest since a seven-game losing streak over the 1992 through 1995 seasons.
The Eagles are 1-6 in their last seven games against the Cowboys at the Linc and overall going back to 2009, they’ve won just 8 of the last 22 matchups.
Carson Wentz has played well against the Cowboys, with 11 TDs and 2 INTs.
But the Eagles have had trouble stopping Dallas. In the last three games in particular the Cowboys have averaged 31 points, 167 rushing yards and 462 total yards and converted at least 50 percent of their third downs in all three games.
This is the first the Cowboys have ever netted 400 yards in three straight games against the Eagles.
The Cowboys crushed the Eagles 37-10 in October, taking a quick 14-0 lead after two early Eagles turnovers and not looking back. It was the Cowboys’ most lopsided win over the Eagles since 1998.
“I look back to our first game, again, the turnovers early in that football game really cost us big and then we were playing from behind,” Pederson said. “Even some of the games that we’ve watched this week and from last year and even the year before, we got down early in these games, and it’s something we try to put an emphasis on the best we can. We’ve got to stop the run, we understand that, and try to slow them down, and offensively we’ve got to start fast and put points on the board and try to sustain. (And avoid) the penalties where you’re in 3rd -and-long and their pass rushers can really get after you. And then we’ve got to be able to score sooner than later against these guys.”
Stop the run, don’t turn the ball over and avoid commit costly penalties. Sounds easy. For the Eagles against the Cowboys lately, it’s been anything but.