The Eagles have a pivotal showdown with the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday. A win over Dallas would give Philadelphia a nice lead on the division and on the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. It won’t be easy as we’ve seen the Cowboys play some dominant football this year. To win, it will be an all hands on deck effort, including input from the Eagles rookies. Here are some key things to watch.
Tyler Steen potentially starting at right guard
With Cam Jurgens still limited in practice, Tyler Steen might get his first NFL start on Sunday, playing guard between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson on the right side of the line. Sua Opeta has started in place of Cam Jurgens over the last few weeks but has struggled mightily. It makes sense the Eagles want to give a shot to their talented rookie to make an impact because the play can’t get much worse whereas the upside is far greater. Steen looked solid in very limited time last week, but four quarters of Dallas’ defensive line will be a great challenge. Steen has a chance to really standout and, more importantly, help the Eagles move the ball against a playmaking Cowboys defense.
Keeping eyes on Jalen Carter’s health
Jalen Carter exited last game with a back injury but looks to be moving at full speed in practice this week. This is great news for Carter, as well as an Eagles defense that needs all the help it can get against Dallas’ explosive offense. Dak Prescott is coming off a four touchdown performance where he completed over 80% of his passes. The Eagles need to keep him from staying hot and it will start with the pass rush. A healthy Jalen Carter would be a huge advantage for the Eagles Sunday.
What does Nolan Smith’s role look like in this game?
Nolan Smith’s usage over the last two weeks has been versatile. While he has seen some snaps as a standard edge rusher, Smith has also played off-ball and dropped into coverage a few times. His athleticism and physical profile means he can line up in a variety of ways for the Eagles and Sean Desai is intent on experimenting with him. What sort of creative alignments will he be in on Sunday?
Tall task for the Eagles rookie defensive backs
The Dallas offense runs through CeeDee Lamb and Lamb lives in the slot. Last week, Eagles rookies Sydney Brown and Eli Ricks did some work as slot defenders and mostly played pretty well. Lamb is a whole different beast though and he will challenge the rookies on every down. How will Ricks and Brown respond to the challenge? While limiting Lamb is a big ask, maybe they can turn all those potential targets into a takeaway...