Cowboys at Eagles: 3 things to watch against Philadelphia

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles this week for a shot at the division title. What will make the difference?

The Dallas Cowboys have the opportunity to pull off a rare accomplishment this weekend. If they beat the Philadelphia Eagles, they will clinch the playoffs and win back-to-back NFC East Titles.

Just months ago, in Week 7, the Cowboys dominated the Eagles at home, winning 37-10. Now, in Week 16, both teams look fairly different from injuries and updated schemes, but there are several things that stand out as that could be the difference.

1. Cowboys Run Game

Last time these teams faced off, running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown. Tony Pollard also added 28 yards while Elliott got a breather.

The Eagles have been known this season for stopping the run. So far this season, they’ve allowed the third-fewest rush yards per game in the NFL, only 90.4. If the two-headed monster at running back is able to exploit this excellent run defense, Dallas should have success.

2. Eagles Poor Secondary

While the Philadelphia defense is known for stopping the run, something they’re not known for is being an elite passing defense. With an injured secondary all season, they’ve allowed 238.1 yards per game through the air.

In fact, Amari Cooper exploited this last time the teams took the field. He looked unguardable, hauling in five receptions for 106 yards. With the emergence of Michael Gallup this season, as well as the solid play of Randall Cobb, the Cowboys should have no trouble throwing the ball on the Eagles.

Not to mention, quarterback Dak Prescott has thrown for 4,334 yards this season, good for second in the entire league.

3. Dak Prescott’s Injury

Speaking of Dak Prescott, he’s been on the injury report this week for the first time in his career. He had been limited in practice all week but has been ruled good to go as the starter for Sunday against the Eagles.

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While this is great news, Cowboys fans should still have some concern. If he further injures his shoulder in the upcoming game or even has a new injury, they may be doomed. Backup quarterback Cooper Rush has only thrown three passes in his entire NFL career. Prescott staying healthy throughout this game may be the biggest key of all.