Big news out of Dallas today: Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith will NOT play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, according to NFL Network reporter Jane Slater. NFL insider Mike Garafolo adds that the Eagles didn’t expect this to be the case. But it is.
Smith, who is dealing with back/groin injuries, being out is obviously a huge loss for the Cowboys. The veteran left tackle’s presence was sorely felt in the Cowboys’ game against the Falcons in Week 10. Dak Prescott was sacked a total of eight times in Atlanta, and six of them were allowed by Smith’s replacement: Chaz Green.
The Eagles won’t be facing Green because it’s Byron Bell who will reportedly start at left tackle. This will mark Bell’s first start of the 2017 season.
You may remember Bell from the time the Eagles blew out the Panthers on Monday Night Football in 2014.
Even if Smith was playing, Philadelphia’s defense would provide a tough matchup for the Cowboys. The Eagles rank first in the league in total pressures generated with 226. This game marks a big opportunity for Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett, who will be facing Bell, to make an impact.
Smith isn’t the only significant injury the Cowboys are dealing with. Starting linebacker Sean Lee is also expected to be out for this week’s game. So is kicker Dan Bailey.
The Eagles need to take advantage of a wounded Cowboys team on Sunday night. Beating Dallas essentially means wrapping up the NFC East with six games left to play. Philly also needs to keep winning in order to maintain their lead for the No. 1 seed.