The Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Dallas Cowboys this evening in a matchup that is going to tell us a lot about just how close this team is to contending for the NFC East crown. Here are five bold predictions for the game.
Turning over a new leaf
The Philadelphia Eagles defense has been pretty solid thus far. While it has struggled against the run at times, Jonathan Gannon has coached up a solid shell in the secondary, allowing only two touchdowns in as many weeks. The one thing the unit has lacked, however, is a turnover.
It’s become the norm over the past few years, but many were hoping that a change in coordinator would yield different results. The Dallas Cowboys will present a much tougher challenge and bring a stacked WR corps to the table. Could it be that the toughest game of the season so far just so happens to bring the best out of players like Darius Slay?
Dark Prescott is firing on all cylinders and his arsenal of receiving weapons should not be underestimated. But under the Monday Night lights, I’m predicting that big-play Slay will remind everyone exactly why he was given that nickname, hauling in his first pick of the 2021 season.
You shall not pass
To say that this Cowboys offense is dangerous would be a dramatic understatement. While Zeke Elliott may not be bringing the punch he used to, Tony Pollard has stepped up to the plate to bring a different dynamic to the backfield and present defenses with a one-two punch worth worrying about.
Pollard is averaging a whopping 7.7 yards per carry and both he and Elliott already have 100+ yards through two games. Stopping them won’t be easy and the Eagles run defense isn’t the brick wall that it used to be, especially with some added deficiencies at linebacker.
We know that Kellen Moore will be targeting the likes of Eric Wilson, but if Gannon can provide a counter-punch, knowing fully well what’s coming and that his scheme is still in its early days and still probably has more wrinkles than we’ve seen, then we could see the Eagles find a way to stop the bleeding on the ground.
I’m predicting that Gannon will be able to get one step ahead of Kellen Moore’s offense and grind it to a halt, forcing Dallas under the 100-yard rushing mark and keeping both running backs out of the endzone.
Back to basics
The Eagles looked totally different offensively last week. As opposed to taking what the defense gave them, there were more aggressive shots down the field, which made sense because of the Niners injury situation, but there was no balance. Tight ends were alienated from the passing game and the middle of the field became no-mans land. That has to change tonight.
The Cowboys have some fun weapons on defense but their power up front is nothing close to what the team experienced last week against San Francisco. With more time in the pocket to progress through his reads, I’m predicting Jalen Hurts to avoid a turnover for the third straight week, completing over 60% of his passes for 250+ yards and a pair of touchdowns in a clinical showing.
Redemption for Reagor
Jalen Reagor cost the Eagles a touchdown on Sunday by taking a huge reception and forcing himself out of bounds. He should be riding a two-game streak coming into today, but instead, will be working to ensure his confidence stays high.
The good news is that beyond Trevon Diggs (who should be glued to DeVonta Smith all night), there aren’t many worrying options at cornerback. This gives Reagor a favorable matchup to rebound and as a result, I’m looking for the TCU product to lead the team in receiving, making up for lost ground and finding the endzone for his second touchdown of the year.
A rookie wildcard
Without Brandon Graham in their ranks, the Eagles will need a big outing from players such as Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat. As of right now, the former is struggling to go a quarter without drawing a flag while the latter, who has just been handsomely paid, isn’t seeing the field anywhere near as much. Something has to change…and I have a feeling it will.
To combat what is now a pesky backfield and a razor-sharp QB, the Eagles need to get creative. Enter rookie DT Milton Williams, who can line up all across the defensive line and wreak havoc due to his freakish athleticism. There’s no reason the Eagles can’t line Williams up opposite Barnett/Sweat and start sprinkling in some stunts and twists to really pressure the O-line.
As a result, I’m predicting Williams to record his first official NFL sack, as well as 2 TFL.
What are your bold predictions? Let me know in the comments!
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