Dallas Cowboys playoff hopes rely on Eagles backups

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (R) talks with Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (L) before a game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (R) talks with Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (L) before a game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

No matter what happens between the Dallas Cowboys and Giants, playoff hopes rest in the hands of many backups for the Philadelphia Eagles

The Dallas Cowboys don’t control their own playoff destiny. Such is life when you are ravished by injuries to many key players and treat defense as an afterthought for much of the season.

While Dallas travels to play the Giants in New York during the first round of games to finish the regular season, whatever the outcome only slightly matters. Yes, the Cowboys must win over the Giants for the next game to have any meaning. You have to crawl before you can walk.

At the time of this writing, the sharps who make a pretty penny to “guess” how that will go barely like the Dallas Cowboys chances. As a 1.5 point road favorite, Dallas is by no means a lock to win their fourth straight contest.

If they fail to do so, that will be the end of their 2020 season. If they do win, however, they will no doubt be in front of any television they can find to see if Philadelphia can upset Washington.

A win by the Eagles at home, coupled with a Cowboys victory, punches the Dallas ticket to at least one more game. The likelihood of that occurring, however, seems less and less likely as the time grows closer.

Currently, nine players for Philadelphia have already been ruled out for the game. Most of those nine are starters and a few are certainly household names.

Defensively, Philadelphia will be missing edge rusher Derek Barnett, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and two linebackers, Shaun Bradley and Duke Riley. On offense, running back Miles Sanders, receiver DeSean Jackson, and tight ends Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers are out as well.

Also of note, the Eagles will be starting Brett Toth and Matt Pryor at their offensive tackle spots. If you have never heard of either player, don’t be too hard on yourself. Toth is an undrafted rookie who has played exactly 28 snaps so far in 2020. Pryor, meanwhile, is a second year, sixth-round selection who has started nine games this year.

This seems like pertinent information given their opponent. You see, the Washington Football Team has spent an absurd amount of draft capital along their defensive line. In 2020, that has paid off handsomely.

First-round selection Montez Sweat leads the team with eight sacks. Chase Young, the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has 6.5 sacks. He has also been named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, meaning he does more than just hound the opposing quarterback.

Next on their hit list is veteran Ryan Kerrigan, a first-round choice in 2011. He is currently sitting on 5.5 sacks. Of course, their interior defenders are doing work too. First-round tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen have helped Washington maintain a top-12 rush defense while adding five sacks collectively.

As if this does not seem like a massive mismatch in favor of the guys the Dallas Cowboys are rooting against, they will also be getting their starting quarterback back from injury which seems sort of important. Alex Smith did not even play in the first meeting between these teams when Washington came back from a 17-point deficit to score 27 unanswered on their way to their first win of the season. Clearly, Washington is better than they were in Week 1, while Philadelphia is not.

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a victory over a healthier version of these Eagles they are hoping can shock the World. In order to even bother caring about the green birds, Dallas will need to replicate their efforts from last week.

Continued improved play from their backup quarterback Andy Dalton will be key. Back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances from running back Ezekiel Elliott would be helpful. So, too, would another defensive day where Dallas racks up three sacks and three turnovers.

Trending. 4 statistical milestones the Cowboys could hit this weekend. light

At the end of the day though, there is only so much Dallas can do before relying on a hated rival. This is never a position you want to be in for many reasons, not the least of which is the process of attrition. Enjoy this Sunday as it very likely will be the last for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys.