Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles

In an NFC East battle that both teams are desperate to win, the 3-5 Dallas Cowboys travel to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, to take on the 4-4 Philadelphia Eagles for a Sunday Night Football matchup that will help decide who’s ready to make a run at the division title against the Washington Redskins.

The 3-5 Dallas Cowboys:

Despite the Dallas Cowboys adding their now best-receiver to the lineup, Amari Cooper, by trading the Oakland Raiders a first-round draft pick for him, they still couldn’t beat the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, losing 14-28.  

Quarterback Dak Prescott, still trying to get back to the production level of his rookie season, went 21-for-31 and threw for 243 yards, 2 touchdowns and a pick but was shut out in the second half.

Running back Ezekiel Elliot, in his third season, is still a dual threat from the backfield having run the ball 149 times for 680 yards and 3 touchdowns this season while catching 29 balls for 226 yards and a touchdown.

The Cowboys face an Eagles defense that’s ranked 25th against the pass and 2nd against the run, so expect Dallas offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to create a game plan that favors an air attack with Cooper over a ground attack with Elliot.

The 4-4 Philadelphia Eagles:

The Philadelphia Eagles should be well rested after a Week 9  bye, and they should be nice and confident after their Week 8 defeat of the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-18.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles seem to be hit-or-miss in 2018 since they’ve beaten some weaker teams (Falcons, Colts, Giants and Jags) but have been beaten by every decent team they’ve played (Fitz-magic Bucs, Titans, Vikings and Panthers).

Carson Wentz, who returned from his torn ACL/LCL in Week 3, is currently ranked 25th among NFL quarterbacks, but he’s thrown for 13 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions, so his accuracy is still top notch.

Helping the team is new acquisition Golden Tate, a wide receiver the Eagles picked up from the Detroit Lions before the trade deadline who has yet to show the football world how he can contribute to a Philadelphia franchise desperately trying to return to the playoffs.

What’s at stake:

If the Cowboys win this matchup, they’ll move to 4-5 and be tied for second in the NFC East with the Eagles, both still a game behind the division leading Washington Redskins.

But if the Eagles come out on top, they’ll be 5-4 and stay within a game of the 5-3 Washington Redskins, current leaders of the NFC East.

More from the NFL: Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears: Odds and Predictions (NFL Week 10)

Questions to answer…

Who’s favored to win this Week 10 Cowboys-Eagles matchup?

Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?

Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?

We’re going to compare the Cowboys and the Eagles and attempt to answer those questions and more.

The 2018 Cowboys offense underperforming

Adjustments were made at halftime against the Cowboys last Monday night and the Titans held them scoreless in the second half, a not-so-good sign that Dallas’ offense can be easily shut down.

Receiver Amari Cooper can cut and excel to create space, but he’s still learning the playbook and won’t be completely up to speed for at least a few more games.

It will take time for Cooper and Prescott to develop enough trust and chemistry to start being a factor that defenses have to account for, so in the meantime, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns have to pick up the slack.

Cowboys’ injuries becoming a factor

The Cowboys’ offensive line is in trouble – guard Connor Williams is listed as ‘out’ for Week 10, while guard Zack Martin is listed as ‘questionable’.

Receivers Deonte Thompson (hip) and Tavon Austin (groin) are both ‘questionable’ against the Eagles, as is tight end Geoff Swaim (knee).

Linebacker and defensive ‘quarterback’ Sean Lee (hamstring) won’t play against the Eagles, so rookie Leighton Vander Esch, a first-round selection who was drafted for this very reason, will have to prove his worth.

The 2018 Eagles offense has no shortage of targets

Golden Tate’s numbers with the Lions are impressive – in just seven games, he’s gone 44-for-69 for 517 yards and 3 touchdowns, putting him on pace to be a 1000+ yard receiver.

In addition to Tate, Wentz has plenty of solid targets to choose from – receivers Alshon Jefferey and Nelson Agholor, as well as Pro-Bowl tight end Zach Ertz.

The Eagles’ passing attack is ranked 14th in the league after averaging 260.2 yards per game through the air.

More from the NFL: How to Bet on the NFL

Eagles run game lacking

With star running back Jay Ajayi (torn ACL) still on injured reserve, the Eagles were counting on Darren Sproles to fill in and make a difference.

Sproles has been suffering from a hamstring injury this season, however the good news is he was reportedly a limited participant Wednesday in his first practice appearance since Week 1.

Head coach Doug Pederson says he expects All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson (knee), who practiced on Tuesday, to play in Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, positive news for an offensive line that’s already allowed 28 sacks on their quarterback.

Cowboys Defense ranks 4th in the league

Second-team All-Pro defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is a beast – he’s got 6.5 sacks all to himself with 10 quarterback hits, plus 33 combined tackles (11 for a loss), a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The Cowboys’ defense is 5th against the pass and 10th against the rush and they’ve sacked opponents 28 times (6th), but they only have 5 total interceptions (23rd) and they’ve allowed whoever they’re playing to convert 44.4 percent of their third downs (29th).

Dallas is ranked 3rd when it comes to the number of points they allow opponents to score per game (18.9), so it will be interesting to see if they can limit the Eagles on the scoreboard, a team that on average puts up 22.2 points per game.

Eagles Defense ranks 17th overall

The Eagles defense only ranks 25th against the pass so expect Prescott to spend this game trying to poke holes in their secondary that may or may not have cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring) playing, who’s listed as week-to-week.

Where Philadelphia excels is against the rush, where they rank second after only allowing opponents to run for an average of 83.8 yards per game.

Phili’s defense only has 4 total interceptions (T-24th) but has sacked opponents 22 times (14th), so Prescott will have to get rid of the ball quickly if he expects to be effective.

Special Teams Stats Comparison

Punters:

Dallas’s punter, Chris Jones, has been in the league and with the Cowboys since 2011. So far, he’s punted 30 times for a net average of 38.8 yards per punt, ranked 21st in the league.

Philadelphia’s second-year punter, Cameron Johnston, signed as an undrafted free agent last season, has punted 24 times for a net average of 43.5 yards per punt, ranked 3rd in the NFL.

Placekickers:

Dallas’s newest placekicker, Brett Maher, got hired after the surprising release of veteran Dan Bailey. Maher is 16-for-18, his longest a 55-yarder. He hasn’t missed any extra point attempts (12/12).

Philadelphia’s placekicker, Jake Elliott, promoted from the practice squad last season, has gone 8-for-10, his longest was a 37-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (9/9).

Punt Returners:

Dallas’s punt returner, wide receiver Tavon Austin, is ranked 43rd in the league in return average. He’s returned 10 punts for 58 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per return, his longest for 22 yards.

Philadelphia’s punt returner, wide receiver Deandre Carter, is ranked 23th in the league in return yards. He’s returned 2 punts for 42 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 21.0 yards per return, his longest for 42 yards.

Cowboys–Eagles prediction and odds

The oddsmakers have the Eagles favored over the Cowboys by 7 with an over/under of 43.0.

CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:

Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Eagles 28, Cowboys 13.

John Breech takes the even and predicts it Eagles 23, Cowboys 20.

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