Stopping Ezekiel Elliott has to be a priority for the Eagles defense

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As the focus continues to stay on Carson Wentz for this upcoming game, one group should not go unnoticed. The Eagles defense has struggled mightily for the whole month of December. They’ve given up 37 points to the Dolphins, 17 points to the Giants, and 27 points to the Redskins.

While the 17 points to the Giants should be overlooked, you can’t afford to do it. The fact of the matter is that those 17 points came off big plays and blown coverages. That can’t happen this Sunday. But with an increased focus on stopping the likes of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, there’s one man they can’t afford to forget about.

In his 5 matchups vs the Eagles, Ezekiel Elliot has over 500 rushing yards and +200 receiving yards to go with 2 touchdowns. He’s only been held to under 100 rushing yards once. The one time he was held to under 100, Elliott has 96 rushing yard which is nothing to be proud of.

Elliott already has 1,188 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns to his name this season to go with over 300 yards through the air. The Cowboys have the league’s sixth best rushing offense going into this crucial week 16 matchup and the third-ranked Eagles run defense will aim to neutralize that threat.

But if Dak Prescott is anything less than 100%, which is likely due to his shoulder injury, there’s every chance we see a hefty workload for one of the NFL’s premier running backs.

“He’s a good, strong running back.” Jim Schwartz said earlier this week. “They have a good offensive line, they have good blocking tight ends. They got a quarterback that’s mobile, that will run the ball also. They run some option-type stuff.

So it’s not just him, but there’s a lot of other stuff. They got some big-play receivers. But he’s a strong contact runner and we’re going to have to put a lot of hats on him. It’s not going to be one-on-one tackles. It’s going to have to be gang-tackling, team defense in order to limit his yards and limit his effectiveness.”

With the NFC East on the line, the defense has to play their best game of the year on Sunday. Carson Wentz can’t carry the team if Dak is lighting up the secondary, or they can’t get on the field due to human bowling ball continuing to move the sticks. One thing that’s working in the Eagles favor is that the defense is only allowing 17 points per game at the Linc. Unfortunately, the NFL is a week to week league and things could turn for the worst in a blink of the eye.

The Eagles have been a stout run defense since the arrival of Jim Schwartz, but that hasn’t stopped Zeke having his way with them. Thwarting the run and forcing a hobbled quarterback to pass might be their best chance of ending the drought and getting one step closer to securing the divisonal crown.

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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