Dallas Cowboys Countdown to Philadelphia Eagles

WHEN:  7:30 p.m. Central Time

WATCH: NBC (Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth)

LISTEN: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; Sirius 83, XM 83; Cowboys app

FOLLOW: @BobbyBeltTX@CamiAnnG@JonahTulsNFL@therealmarklane

 

10: Carson Wentz’s win total when passer rating exceeds 90.0 — The former first-round pick from 2016 is 10-2 when his passer rating is above 90.0 compared to 5-8 when it is not. The trick is to either weather the storm of a great game by Wentz or force him into a bad game. The reality is seven out of Wentz’s 12 games above 90.0 have come in 2017 and every single one a victory. So, how do you force Wentz into a bad game in his second year? Pick him off, sack him, and win the turnover battle. Kansas City did it, and it reflected in the box. New York and the Chargers almost did it, and that also reflected in the box. It has to be all three for a win.

 

9: Philadelphia’s rank for opposing passer rating — The Eagles defense is tied with the Bengals for the ninth-lowest opposing passer rating at 81.2, which is 1.1 below Dak Prescott’s passer rating in the 27-7 loss at Atlanta last week. So much will be on Prescott’s shoulders as the offense will look to find its way without Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and All-Pro Tyron Smith at left tackle. If Prescott can’t find the play with his arm, he needs to tuck and run, not give any freebies to the Eagles defense.

 

8: Number losses the Cowboys have to teams coming off bye weeks — That’s right. Dallas is 20-8 against teams coming off their bye weeks. Who is getting the advantage during these open dates? Not only is Dallas 20-8, but they are 12-2 at home against teams coming off their bye weeks. In the Jason Garrett era, the Cowboys are 3-3 against teams coming off their bye week with an 0-2 record against the Eagles. The advantage will have to swing the Cowboys’ way for once on Sunday night.

 

7: Philadelphia defense’s rank for fewest red zone scores — The Eagles are tied with the Bengals and Saints for the seventh-fewest red zone scores in the league. Not only that, but Philadelphia is tied with four other teams for the fourth-fewest red zone visits with just 23, which is 2.6 per game. If the Cowboys manage to get into the red zone, they will need to get touchdowns, not settle for Mike Nugent field goal tries that could clang off the upright.

 

6: Number of wins Garrett has in pre-Thanksgiving games — Since taking over for Wade Phillips in 2010, Garrett has gone on a six-game winning streak in games before Thanksgiving. The opponents include Detroit, Washington (road), Cleveland, New York (road), New York (road), Miami (road), and Baltimore. In fact, the streak is part of a much larger winning streak that dates back to 2005. With two games to play in one week, Garrett historically gets the team ready to play the pre-Thanksgiving game and takes his chances on Turkey Day. Expect the Cowboys to come out swinging.

 

5: Zach Ertz’s rank for most targets for a tight end — The fifth-year pro has benefited from Wentz having an MVP-caliber season. Ertz has racked up 528 yards and six touchdowns on 43 receptions. The former Stanford Cardinal has come into his own as a tight end and the Cowboys will have to be ready with Byron Jones making him a less attractive target for Wentz.

 

4: The Eagles defense’s rank for yards per carry — The Philadelphia defense allows just 3.6 yards per carry, tied with Tennessee and Arizona for the fourth-lowest in the NFL. And it’s not like the Eagles are padding their numbers by being susceptible against the pass, so teams abandon the run in favor of that opportunity. No, the Eagles allow just 66.4 yards per game, the absolute fewest yards per game in the NFL. Factor in the Cowboys are without Elliott for the next five games and will turn to Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith. Perhaps the Cowboys will need to rely on their dual threat quarterback if they want to keep the Eagles off balance.

 

3: Philadelphia defense’s rank for third down conversions — The Eagles have the third-best third down conversions as a defense at 30.1 percent. The secret to Philadelphia’s success isn’t being clutch on a specific down. Rather, it is strangling teams throughout the series. The Eagles give up the third-fewest yards on first down at 4.32. In order to have manageable third downs and sustain drives against Philadelphia, the Cowboys are going to have to be better on first downs, which also means no penalties.

 

2: Dallas’ rank for offensive holding penalties — The Dallas offensive line has committed 18 holding penalties through 10 weeks in the NFL, tied with Pittsburgh for the second-most in the NFL. The holding calls are an example of the penalties the Cowboys must excise in order to give themselves every possible advantage against the Eagles, who are tied for sixth in the NFL with just nine holding calls made against their opponents.

 

1: DeMarcus Lawrence’s rank for most sacks in the NFL — Lawrence has 11.5 sacks through nine games, the absolute best in the league. Lawrence had one against the Falcons and none against the Chiefs the previous week. While it is not necessarily imperative that Lawrence himself get sacks against Wentz, he is the poster boy for the Cowboys pass rush, which must push Wentz off his spot and not let him out of their grasp.

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