The Eagles are preparing to take on their longtime rival, the Dallas Cowboys, in a Christmas Eve, Saturday showdown. Before the two teams play one of the season’s most hyped games, here are 5 players to watch out for.
In the absence of Jalen Hurts, the Eagles will turn to their backup quarterback, Gardner Minshew. This will be Minshew’s first extended look of the season and on the biggest stage of any game this season. Minshew is a good player, maybe even a starter on some lower-end teams, so this isn’t your typical backup situation. Minshew spent parts of a season and a half as the Jaguars starter but was eventually replaced with Trevor Lawrence.
In 22 starts, 2 of which came last year for the Eagles, Minshew has thrown 41 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, with a 66% completion percentage. Minshew is not a long-term answer at quarterback, but is accurate and has mobility in and around the pocket to make plays on the fly. The Eagles can beat Dallas, even with Minshew playing. He doesn’t have to be Jalen Hurts, but he has a great roster around him and can be very effective in small doses.
On the other sideline running the Cowboys’ offense will be Dak Prescott. After having missed the first game against the Eagles in Philly due to a leg injury, Prescott is back in action. Dak has been good on the whole this year, but in the last few weeks, he has been uncharacteristically overaggressive, with 11 interceptions. This was climaxed by his pick-six to lose the game against the Jaguars last Sunday(thanks Dougie P).
The Cowboys haven’t been as Dak-dependent as in years past, with a serious dual-threat running game and good defense, but they still need him to play well to win. The Cowboys have seemingly been leaking oil the last 2 weeks, but Dak has a proven resume and could turn the heat up at any time.
Fresh off of a pro-bowl snub, I think that Hargrave is going to be locked in and extra motivated to show out this week. Hargrave has been on a heater recently too. In the last 8 games, he has 9 sacks, getting 2 on Justin Fields last week. Gravedigger will be looking to put Dak into the turf quite a few times on Saturday afternoon.
He is an extremely underrated aspect of this Eagles team and one of the very best defensive tackles in the NFL. If Hargrave can get rolling early, the Dallas offense will be in for a long day.
Eagles fans are more than familiar with Micah Parsons after his previous comments about Jalen Hurts. Don’t let that distract you from the fact that he is one of the scariest pass-rushers in football. The Penn State product has 26 career sacks in only 2 seasons, with 13 this year and still 3 games left to play.
Parsons is deadly but the Eagles have the horses to contain him on the offensive line. If he breaks through constantly and is in Minshew’s face all day, the Eagles will have some problems.
Having most likely grown up a Cowboys fan living in Texas, Johnson has always loved to play against Big D. Over the years, he and Demarcus Lawrence have battled it out on the right side of the field. I would assume he’s going to see Lawrence again, but the Cowboys are deeper with pass rushers than in years past, such as Parsons and Dorance Armstrong, so it really could be anyone.
I think the Eagles try and lean on the rushing game this week, and Johnson is a mauler in run blocking. Whether it’s a run or pass play, the right side of the field should be locked up with Lane.
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