Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Blogging The Boys in order to preview this huge Week 16 Philadelphia Eagles versus Dallas Cowboys matchup and [you can read that here.] Today, we’re back with three reasons why each team might lose. This exchange allows us to show what the other side is concerned about.
1 - The Cowboys have struggled to start well.
Prior to their first game against the Eagles this season, remember that game was on October 20th, the Dallas Cowboys had not begun a possession on the positive side of the 50-yard line. That’s pretty amazing.
Dallas has six interceptions on the season and has struggled throughout Rod Marinelli’s time in gaining turnovers in general. So much of why they beat the Eagles earlier in the season was because they got an opportunity to get 14 quick points. Without that, they’re sort of as reliable as a coin flip.
If the Eagles are able to keep it close or even build a lead early on, that could put the Cowboys in a position where they’re uncomfortable. It’s hard to quantify this by any means and forgive me for opening up an opportunity to pick on him, but Jason Garrett’s teams have typically struggled there.
This is a team that at one point was down 31-3 to the Packers, 21-3 to the Jets, and 14-0 to the Vikings. While their offense has shown abilities to be great at times sometimes a hole is just too much for them. If they flounder early, watch out.
2 - Dallas has not handled success well
The Cowboys are terrible at handling success. They rise, whether during a season or after a season as a whole, and get a little too caught up in who they are and ultimately fall flat as a result of it. It’s frustrating.
When the Cowboys lost to the Bears it felt like they were at their ultra lowest point. Jaylon Smith, a fantastic story even in the estimations of many BGN readers I’d imagine, really rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way for swiping (his signature celebration) while the team was down big. That game felt a lot like players being more focused on their brand than the overall goals of the team which has been a common criticism of this organization for so long.
You all know that the Cowboys got a big win over the Rams last week. While that might make you feel uneasy you can rest assured that more often than not they find a way to jump to the other side of the spectrum.
3 - This is the most injured that Dak Prescott ever has been for an Eagles game.
Dak Prescott had never been limited in even practice throughout his now almost four-year career... until Wednesday afternoon. He’s been dealing with a finger issue for a bit now, but he suffered a shoulder injury during the win over the Rams. This is by far the most beat up (for lack of a better term) that he’s ever been not only heading into an Eagles game, but a must-win contest in general.
He’s far from the only player hurt. The Cowboys have Tyron Smith ailing (that’s quite common), Amari Cooper seemingly not himself (he’s 8-0 against the NFC East for what it’s worth!), and perhaps their most troubling injury is Leighton Vander Esch being out indefinitely with a stinger. LVE was so much of why the Cowboys won at Philadelphia last season and while Sean Lee played admirably last week, it’s hard to bank on that happening a second time in general let alone in consecutive weeks.
I totally understand that the Eagles are injured in many ways as well, but this is perhaps the weakest Cowboys team from a physical and morale standpoint that the Eagles will be getting in some time. We’ve seen them be made to quit before, including against a lot of these players. Knowing that they don’t have to win this game (and that they’d then need help) might be a dangerous security blanket for them.