Eagles risk East edge in division duel at Dallas

Field Level Media

December 09, 2023 at 3:43 am.

With an 0-2 record this season against teams that currently have winning records, the Dallas Cowboys still have a lot to prove, starting with their Sunday night showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in Arlington, Texas.

It will be the 130th meeting in the 63-year rivalry and the stakes could not be higher. Dallas is flying high on a four-game winning streak, while Philadelphia comes to Texas trying to shake off an ugly 23-point home loss to San Francisco.

The Eagles (10-2) are clinging to a one-game lead over the Cowboys (9-3) in the NFC East and in the race for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs. The 49ers and the Detroit Lions are also 9-3.

“I really do like the stretch we’re getting ready to be on,” said Dallas coach Mike McCarthy, whose team finishes the season against Buffalo, Miami, Detroit and Washington. “When you look at the teams that we’re getting ready to line up against, and obviously Philadelphia is all that matters right now, this is an excellent opportunity for us to play in playoff-type games without playoff consequences.”

Philadelphia won the first meeting against Dallas 28-23 at home in Week 9. The Eagles also won the signature of free agent linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who agreed to terms with Philadelphia this week after meeting with both teams.

“He apparently wanted to go where he thought he had the best chance,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday about Leonard, a three-time All-Pro with the Indianapolis Colts.

Sunday is also a primetime opportunity for quarterbacks Dak Prescott of the Cowboys and Jalen Hurts of the Eagles to perhaps take the lead in the race for NFL Most Valuable Player honors.

In Week 9, Hurts passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score while Prescott threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys had a first-and-goal at the Philadelphia 6-yard line on their final drive but could not punch it in.

The Cowboys outgained the Eagles 406-292 but scored TDs on only three of five trips to the red zone, compared to Philadelphia’s three TDs on three drives inside the 20.

Dallas has averaged 42 points while winning all four games since that loss in Philadelphia. The Cowboys lead the league in scoring (32.3 points per game) and rank fifth in total offense (380.4 yards per game) entering Week 14.

After surrendering 456 yards last week in a 42-19 shellacking by San Francisco, the Eagles now rank 22nd in total defense (350.6 ypg) and 24th in scoring defense (24.0 ppg).

“The good thing about the regular season is you take a loss but we get the chance to line up and play another good team next week,” Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said.

Added Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, “I know that we are going to give our best shot in practice this week. We are going to keep working. We are 10-2. All right, let’s get it. The main goal is winning every week.”

Philadelphia wide receiver A.J. Brown caught eight passes for 114 yards against the 49ers, his seventh 100-yard game of the season.

“You have to put your big-boy pants on. Not everything is going to go your way every single time,” Brown said. “We have to focus on Dallas, clean up the mistakes and continue to grow.”

Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert will be back in action on Sunday for the first time since sustaining a fractured forearm against Dallas on Nov. 5. Receiver Julio Jones (groin) was the only Philadelphia player who was limited in practice on Friday.

Dallas ruled out offensive tackle Matt Waletzko (shoulder), but the Cowboys were otherwise healthy as of Friday.