UNDEFEATED. Still! We overcame adversity in the desert, snatching 139 rushing yards from a team that was only giving up 87 per game. This week we get a division rival that has given up 117 rushing yards per game, while only facing bottom feeder offenses.
They lean on their defense, which features a voracious pass rush, which was fortunate enough to face FOUR struggling offensive lines (and lost to one of them). Our Offensive Line, led by RT Lane Johnson, C Jason Kelce, and LT Jordan Mailata, is not struggling. Our Line is physical and dominant.
We’re told that styles make fights? Well, ding…ding.
A win raises us to 6 – 0, and keeps us at the head of the NFL table. With our opponent being 4 – 1, they are currently one game behind our 5 – 0. A win here opens up our lead in the East, putting distance between the two teams. A loss pulls us even record-wise, but would give them the lead in the East, by head-to-head tie-breaker.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week, versus the: Cowboys
1) Score points: There’s a stat that says the Cowboys defense hasn’t allowed any opponent three touchdowns in any game this season. That’s 100% true. However, a lot of context is left out of that. Every team they’ve faced, already has trouble scoring three touchdowns in ANY game.
I’m fond of saying that the Universe’s favorite flavor of justice, is irony. So since we’re talking about not being able to score three touchdowns, the Cowboys offense is also in that club this season. Our Eagles on the other hand, have done it EVERY WEEK, except last week. Three touchdowns should put this game out of the Cowboys reach.
2) Drop the Mic(ah): Getting TE Dallas Goedert some quick, short passes would make the day super easy for QB Jalen Hurts. The Cowboys almost exclusively use OLB Micah Parsons as a pass rusher off the edge. So when he rushes forward, there’s going to be a vacated area right behind where he was lined up. That vacated area is where Goedert needs to camp out. So either Goedert gets to feast, or Parsons has to cover.
Just some quick short passes, where Goedert can quickly turn upfield for an extra 4 yards or more. Eventually their secondary will load the box to stop the run, and those short passes. Whenever that happens, Goedert can chip Parsons, to give Hurts time to take advantage of one-on ones-on the outside, or WR Quez Watkins down the hash.
3) Stay At Home: Same as most weeks. Just get DE’s Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat to set hard edges against the run. With RB Ezekiel Elliott no longer being very explosive, and RB Tony Pollard needing a build-up to break tackles; the easiest way to contain the Cowboys run game, is to bottle it up behind their line. The idea is to take away the run early, and put the game on QB Cooper Rush’s shoulders.
4) Rush Rush: The left side of the Cowboys offensive line is a car wreck. C Tyler Biadasz is no Travis Frederick. G Connor McGovern is the guy they passed over, to sign and start what’s left of Jason Peters, who will apparently put on red pumps and work that corner, for anyone who offers league minimum. But with Peters injured (show of hands if you’re surprised), the Cowboys now have to start the guy they said “Naw” to. At LT is penalty king Tyler Smith.
The game here is simple. DT’s Jordan Davis and Javon Hargrave help collapse the left side of the line, and make Rush reset his feet. He’s smart, and knows where he’s going with the ball, due to his familiarity with the system. So don’t waste time trying to trick him or fool him. Instead, make it about the physical limitations that kept him from getting drafted. His lack of arm strength, foot speed, and needing plays to run on schedule.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
The Bengals scoring offense, ranked (17th) is the highest ranked scoring offense that the Cowboys have faced. The Eagles have faced Detroit (3rd), Minnesota (12th) and Jacksonville (15th). The Cowboys average 18.6 points per game. We average 27.0 and have yet to score fewer than 20. They’ve reached 24 points once this season. We put up 24 points in a quarter. Twice so far.
The Cowboys are an over-hyped defense, coupled with an over-hyped QB, that have both had tons of mediocrity somehow omitted from their stories. Let me contextualize this Cowboys defense, and their “amazing”pass rush. Four of the five teams they’ve faced, have deep offensive line problems:
* Tampa Bay lost two starters to I.R. during the preseason and one more during the first game vs the Cowboys.
*Washington’s C and one of their G’s (who is also their back-up C), are on I.R.
*The Bengals troubles go back to last season, and their offseason answers (one of which is former Cowboy La’el Collins) have blown up on the launch pad.
*The Rams have both of their G’s on I.R. and their C is gutting out a foot injury. It’s why they’ve given up 21 sacks and average just 62 rushing yards per game. (Perspective: We average 160.0)
The Cowboys offense has scored all of 7 touchdowns in five games. Sorry, that’s 7 touchdowns in four games. (Tampa Bay held them to a single field goal.) Despite those facts, everywhere you look, there’s more praise for their QB because he’s 4 – 0 this season.
We’ve seen adversity and they’ve been handed roll-over games. Yet the media wants to talk like this is a meeting of two evenly matched teams?! Naw. You gotta miss me with that trash.
Prediction: EAGLES 28 – Cowboys 16
WARNING: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.