Cowboys vs Eagles: Key matchups and X-factors in the battle of NFC East juggernauts

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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3 key Cowboys defensive matchups vs Eagles

DaRon Bland vs. A.J. Brown

We've seen how the Eagles rely heavily on their passing attack to move the football and the majority of that falls on the shoulders of A.J. Brown. After the success that DK Metcalf had against DaRon Bland you know the Eagles are going to look to replicate that success against him. For his part in that game, Bland was in position on a lot of those plays but he was also giving up too much of a cushion to his receivers. Bland is going to need to have a big bounce-back game if he wants to stop Brown and get the bad taste of the Seattle game out of his mouth.

To do that Bland is going to need to be ready for a lot of crossing routes the Eagles use to get Brown open in space and allow him to use his speed to get YAC. Bland did a decent job against Brown the last time they met, but this time around Bland should be out to prove he isn't a fluke and lock down Brown.

Markquese Bell vs D'Andre Swift

The Eagles D'Andre Swift is a downhill runner that isn't going to try and juke linebackers instead looking to punish them in the running game. As of late when Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has been in trouble, his outlet has been Swift who can quickly turn upfield and gain yards. The Cowboys Markquese Bell has done a great job getting involved in slowing down the opposing teams running games and the Cowboys are going to need another big game from him in this one.

Another area that Bell will need to keep an eye on is the screen pass the Eagles like to throw to Swift where he looks like he's running a route into the flat and then quickly turns it back with linemen in front of him to create space. It's a well-designed play that has caught quite a few teams off-guard this season. Bell needs to be aware of that as well.

Osa Odighizuwa vs Landon Dickerson

The Cowboys can't just rely on Micah Parsons to generate pressure on Jalen Hurts in this game, they are going to need someone else to step up in this game, and that needs to be Osa Odighizuwa in the middle. The last time around Odighizuwa was pretty much a non-factor, generating no pressure on Hurts in the pocket, that will need to change if the Cowboys want to make things more difficult for Hurts in the pocket. Lining him up against left guard Landon Dickerson may be their best opportunity to do it with Dickerson allowing three sacks and 26 pressures on the season which means he can be had by defensive tackles and blitzing linebackers.

Odighizuwa should be able to use his speed to his advantage when trying to generate a pass rush against Dickerson who last time around pretty much erased him from the game.