Know Your Enemy: Can the Eagles make a statement against the Cowboys in week 9?

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Philadelphia Eagles’ DeVonta Smith catches a touchdown pass with Dallas Cowboys’ DaRon Bland defending during the second half of an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Since the NFL schedule was released prior to the season, every Eagles fan probably had their eyes widen like a recent trick-or-treater looking over all the candy they got when they saw the stretch of games the Eagles will play starting in Week 9. However, for the Eagles, there’s nothing sweet about their upcoming schedule and it starts fittingly with their archrivals, the Dallas Cowboys.

Both teams are coming off wins where the offense stole the show. Jalen Hurts played perhaps his best game as an NFL quarterback throwing for 319 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 38-31 win at Washington.

Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott is also feeling good coming into the City of Brotherly Love as he too tossed for four scores and over 300 yards in a lopsided 43-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Let’s take a look at this year’s Cowboys in what will be the 125th regular season matchup between these two bitter NFC East rivals. The Cowboys leads the Eagles in their all time matchup with a 70-54 record.

Cowboys Coaching Staff:

Head Coach: Mike McCarthy

Offensive Coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer

Defensive Coordinator: Dan Quinn

Cowboys Offense

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 22: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass in the second half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on December 22, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Dallas might be turning a corner offensively after a slow and puzzling start with the play calling from McCarthy who took over the responsibility of signaling the plays to Prescott for the first time in his four years as the head coach. Dallas ranks 2nd in the league averaging 28.1 points per game but are in the middle of the pack when it comes to total yards (15th, 338.0 yds/game), passing yards per game (16th, 220.9 yds/game) and just outside the top-10 in rushing (11th,117.1 yds/game).

The biggest surprise of the season for Dallas has been the lack of big plays from running back Tony Pollard who entered the season with a ton of hype with the departure of longtime Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliot. Pollard hasn’t been nearly as efficient on his touches this season compared to last which gave Jerry Jones and the team the confidence to let Elliot walk. CeeDee Lamb is trending upward heading into this game coming off a big game last week corralling 12 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns and ranks 9th in the NFL with his 633 receiving yards.

Cowboys Defense

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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, bottom, loses the ball after being sacked by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Micah Parsons clearly is the name to know on the Dallas defense that has suffered injuries this year. Star cornerback Trevon Diggs just had surgery on his torn ACL he suffered in late September in 1-on-1 drills and has been a big loss. They also have been without vocal leader and defensive play-caller Leighton Vander Esch to a neck injury in Week 5 landing on the IR.

Despite the two key injuries, Parson and this Dallas defense has allowed the third-fewest yards per game this season (287.4) and fourth-fewest points (17.1 points/game).

X-Factor: Dak Prescott

Eagles’ fans love to gang up on Prescott because historically he hasn’t done much to lead the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. However, he has played well against the Eagles in his career posting an 8-3 record with a 98.9 QB rating while throwing averaging 250 yards through the air and almost two touchdowns per game. In the 11 meetings against Philadelphia’s defense, he has tossed 19 touchdowns to 8 interceptions.

If Prescott picks up where he left off last week, that could be problematic for the Eagles who have given up the 7th-most passing yards per game (247.5) and coming off a game where they let Sam Howell set career marks in passing yards (397) and touchdowns (4).

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth