Cowboys-Eagles clash carries massive postseason ramifications


There were a lot of pivotal games from which to choose our Game of the Week this week, but none carries more ramifications than the Eagles visiting the Cowboys on Sunday night.

The Eagles enter the game with an NFL-best 10-2 record, though they’re coming off a convincing home loss to the 49ers a week ago.

The Cowboys, who are 9-3, have won four straight since a 28-23 loss at Philadelphia in the first week of November. The Cowboys, too, have won their past 14 games at home, the team’s longest since 1981.

The rematch is for first place in the NFC East and also carries weight for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs.

A win by the defending NFC-champion Eagles would likely propel them toward a second consecutive NFC East title, something that hasn’t happened in the division since Philadelphia won four in a row from 2001-04.

A win by the Cowboys would tie them with the Eagles in the division with four games to play. One of the two teams is all but assured of winning the division, which will be the sixth time in the past seven seasons that one of the two wins the NFC East.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have won 14 consecutive games at home.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have won 14 consecutive games at home. Getty Images

“In the sense of trying to get home field, understanding our success through the past couple of years and how great it would be to play the postseason here at home, it’s huge,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said this week. “These are the moments we’ve prepared for. It’s not that we didn’t for all of those past games, but we understood that this is the stretch in the season when you look at the schedule that you have to be excited about.”

For the Eagles, this week is about washing the bad taste from their mouths from the 42-19 hammering they took at home at the hands of the 49ers last Sunday.

“You have to drag yourself through the mud in order to grow,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said this week. “It’s not comfortable, but it’s necessary. But then it’s about understanding why you’re here in the first place and having that confidence going into the next game.”

The game, too, pits two quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts from the Eagles and Prescott, who are two of the favorites to win the NFL MVP award, along with San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy.

Prescott, who last season led the NFL in interceptions and was heavily criticized for it, leads the NFL with 26 touchdown passes and has eight games with a passer rating of at least 100, including six of the past seven.

Hurts has been dynamic this season. He needs one rushing TD and one passing TD to join Arizona’s Kyler Murray (2020) as the only QBs with at least one passing TD and rushing TD in nine games in the same season.

“I haven’t been in any game like this where it’s been this close and two of the MVP front-runners,” Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse said this week. “Hurts has the name, but the film these last couple of weeks, it’s all pointing toward Dak. We have the good guy on our side.”

Adding to the intrigue of this game is the fact that Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy had appendix surgery this past week and plans to be on the sideline coaching his team Sunday night.

The Eagles, too, figure to get a boost with the return of tight end Dallas Goedert, who’s missed the last month with a fractured forearm suffered in the Eagles’ win over the Cowboys.

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles need a win against Dallas to keep their NFC East lead.
Jalen Hurts and the Eagles need a win against Dallas to keep their NFC East lead. AP

The 28-year-old Goedert has 38 receptions for 410 yards and two TDs in nine games and is a big cog in the Philadelphia offense.

The game also should feature the Eagles debut of linebacker Shaq Leonard, who was signed during the week after he was released by the Colts. The Philadelphia defense has been strong against the run, but is 29th against the pass and in red-zone efficiency. Sirianni was an assistant coach on the Indianapolis staff when Leonard played there.

For the Cowboys on defense, linebacker Micah Parsons is always the player to watch. Parsons will be chasing Hurts all over the backfield. Parsons had 1.5 sacks in the teams’ last meeting.

Another great feature to the game is Eagles receiver A.J. Brown and Dallas receiver CeeDee Lamb. Brown has set an NFL record with six consecutive games of at least 125 yards receiving, while Lamb set a record with three consecutive games of at least 10 catches and 150 yards. Lamb is second in the league with 1,182 yards while Brown is fourth with 1,164. Lamb is third with 90 catches and Brown eighth at 81. Both have seven TDs.

The Eagles are trying to sweep the season series against the Cowboys for first time since 2011.

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