Dallas Cowboys Countdown to New Year’s Eve

WHEN:  12:00 p.m. Central Time

WATCH: FOX (Kenny Albert & Ronde Barber)

LISTEN: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; Sirius 135, XM 385; Cowboys app

FOLLOW: @BobbyBeltTX@CamiAnnG@JonahTulsNFL@therealmarklane

 

17-FOX-E-V3

Blue: Cowboys-Eagles

Red: Bears-Vikings

Green: Redskins-Giants

Yellow: Packers-Lions

 

10: Dak Prescott’s yards per completion — The real number is 10.8, but it wouldn’t make much sense to round up to 11 in a top-10 countdown. Prescott’s total is tied with Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer for the seventh-fewest yards per completion in the NFL. It is a problem that the second-year signal caller has had. Usually the problem is checking it down to backs that has hurt his yards per completion. With Cole Beasley not traveling to Philadelphia, Prescott may be more inclined to check down on passing downs.

 

9: Philadelphia’s rank for time of possession per drive — The Eagles offense possesses the ball for 2:45 per drive, good for ninth-best in the NFL. One of the turnarounds of the Doug Pederson era from the Chip Kelly regime is the Eagles’ commitment to possessing the football. They have also done a decent job in converting the drives into points with 2.36 points per drive scored.

 

8: Zach Ertz’s receiving touchdowns — The dynamic tight end has hauled in eight touchdowns in 2017, good for a new career high that doubles up his previous career high of four set twice in 2013 and 2016. Not only are Ertz’s numbers tied for sixth-most in the NFL, but they are currently tied for a single-season best by an Eagles tight end since 2009 when Brent Celek grabbed eight. Another grab would give him the best mark and also join him with 36 other tight ends since 1999 to have caught nine or more touchdown passes.

 

7: Ezekiel Elliott’s touchdown total — Who would have thought that the previous year’s rushing champion wouldn’t even add to that total in his first game back from suspension? If Elliott scores a touchdown, he will join Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Calvin Hill, DeMarco Murray, and Marion Barber as the only Dallas running backs to score eight or more rushing touchdowns in multiple seasons.

 

6: The Dallas defense’s rank for highest opposing passer rating — Opposing quarterbacks have compiled a 96.3 passer rating against the Cowboys defense, ranking the sixth-highest in the NFL. Nick Foles has put together an 87.6 passer rating in his previous two games as the replacement for an injured Carson Wentz. Against the Cowboys for his career, Foles has an 87.2 passer rating, but his most recent passer rating from Dec. 29, 2013, and probably the most indicative of what he can do against Rod Marinelli’s defense was 124.4. To give the Eagles confidence under center for January, Foles ought to have such an outing Sunday.

 

5: Times Jason Garrett has staved off a series sweep — The Cowboys coach since Nov. 2010 has faced nine cases of being swept in his career, and he has kept the brooms in the closet 5/9 times. Garrett will be challenged again. The two-time NFC East champion head coach has 27-18 record in the NFC East with a 16-6 record on the road. The last time Garrett faced a sweep from the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field was Jan. 2, 2011, and the Cowboys prevailed in the rain 14-13 against the NFC East champs.

 

4: Dallas offense’s rank for third down conversions — The Cowboys offense has done a spectacular job of remaining in the top-5 of third down conversions at 43.6 percent. Weirdly, Prescott has not exactly been stellar on third down with an 81.3 passer rating and 6.6 yards per pass attempt. However, he has the 10th-most third down conversions with his legs with 11. If Prescott can’t find it downfield, he ought to run for it.

 

3: Eagles defense’s rank for fewest red zone attempts — Good news: the Eagles defense has the 11th-highest red zone conversion rate at 56.8 percent. Bad news: you won’t get very many chances. Currently, the Eagles are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the third-lowest red zone attempts in the league with 37. If the Cowboys can get into the red zone, they will need to maximize their opportunities to score as they may not get any closer throughout the game.

 

2: DeMarcus Lawrence’s rank for most sacks in the NFL — The fourth-year defensive end from Boise State has 14.5 sacks with a game to go, the second-most in the NFL behind Arizona’s Chandler Jones. If Lawrence were to end the season with the most sacks in the NFL, he would be the first Cowboys defender to lead the NFL in sacks since DeMarcus Ware in 2010 when he also had 15.5.

 

1: Ezekiel Elliott’s yards per game ranking — 97.8 yards per game. Run the ball.

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