The Cowboys’ offensive strength is running the ball, despite a banged-up line. The rushing game is ranked only 15th, but Tony Pollard and Zeke Elliott are fast and physical and could cause problems for the Eagles on Sunday night.
The Eagles’ defense is ranked 10th against the rush, fifth against the pass and fourth overall. Dallas’ offense is ranked 27th overall, the same as its passing game.
Success for the Cowboys would seem to be on the ground. Especially with the Eagles allowing 5.0 yards per rush, 25th in the league.
Since Cooper Rush took over for injured Dak Prescott at quarterback in Week Two, the Cowboys run the ball at 49.1 percent, the NFL’s highest percentage. Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said he is preparing for Rush to start Sunday.
- “They are doing a really good job in the run game, and it’s not just because they’re calling a lot of runs,” Eagles offensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said. “They’re efficient and then create explosives with their runs.
- “Good run defense is all 11 guys. It’s not one guy. We have to have population to the ball and tackle because these backs, they break tackles when they’re one-on-one. So, we have to have more than one hat to the ball.”
NOT MANY ROOKIE SNAPS
First-round pick Jordan Davis played a season-high 29 snaps against Arizona. He had three tackles. Davis is the only Eagles rookie with non-special teams snaps in every game.
Tight end Grant Calcaterra has snaps in three consecutive games (17, 11, 19) and center Cam Jurgens had his first three snaps against Arizona when Jason Kelce was injured.
The Eagles’ other two draft picks have barely seen the field other than special teams. Linebacker Nakobe Dean had three snaps in the opener and hasn’t played on defense since. Linebacker Kyron Johnson played two snaps against Washington.
Among the undrafted, safety Reed Blankenship was active for the first time against Arizona and had 13 special teams snaps. Offensive lineman Josh Sills was active against Arizona but did not play.
Cornerback Josh Jobe continued his heavy play on special teams with 18 snaps against Arizona. Britain Covey continues to return kicks despite two fumbles on punt returns.
WINNING EVERY WHICH WAY
Of the Eagles’ five victories, only two were by comfortable margins. The Eagles have shown an ability to win in a variety of ways.
- “Yeah, I would love to win every game by a lot,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “I really would. Those are a lot less stressful.
- “You know you played a good game when you hold them to 7 and you score 30, or whatever it is, right?
- “But that’s not the reality of this league. You’re going to go through the grind. In fact, more games are going to be like they were [vs. Arizona] than they were for our first couple games — or for our Washington game or our Minnesota game.
- “So, you just like to be able to win any way. You go through it and you’re happy with the win no matter what. You’re dissatisfied with the things that you want to correct. First of all, as coaches, and then secondly as the players.”
The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry is one of the NFL’s best, especially this year when both teams are competing for the NFC East lead.
Lately, the Cowboys have dominated the series — winning seven of nine and three straight.
Bah, humbug, Sirianni said.
- “This is a whole new year, whole new players,” Sirianni said. “What does Chauncey [Gardner-Johnson] care about what the series have been in the past? What does A.J. [Brown]? A.J. doesn’t care about that. He’s here to play this week.
- “We know how big of a game it is because it’s the Cowboys and we know how big of a game it is because it’s the next one and we know how big of a game it is because it’s a division game.”
HURTS ON MCNABB
Donovan McNabb lives in the Phoenix area and was in the locker room chatting with Jalen Hurts after Sunday’s Eagles-Cardinals game.
- “I have a lot of respect for Donovan,” Hurts said. “I have a lot of respect for the guys that have come before me. The guys who kinda play the game the way that I play the game.
- “Randall [Cunningham], [Michael] Vick, 5 [McNabb]. All of those guys. They have been pivotal in my transition into this role now. We have a really good relationship, always helpful.
- “Everyone wants to see me win and do successful things. And see the Eagles win.”
BALDY ON DALLAS
NFL analyst Brian Baldinger on the Cowboys and former coach Jimmy Johnson, on Twitter:
@dallascowboys defense is so fast; so much speed…and freak athletes at every level. Jimmy built his mini dynasty on SPEED! This group reminds me of that group. Keep building the swag, and keep taking the ball away
TV RATINGS: DALLAS, PHILLY IN TOP 3
According to Sports Business Journal, the three largest local television audiences for NFL games this season are Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Cowboys games average 753,000 homes in the Dallas Metroplex (up 6 percent). In Chicagoland, Bears games average 740,000 (up 3 percent).
In the Philly metro area, Eagles games average 739,000 (up 10 percent). Wait until they see the numbers after Sunday’s game.