Abnormal anticipation of the Cowboys vs. Eagles SNF game

Abnormal anticipation of the Cowboys vs. Eagles SNF game

Eagles

Abnormal anticipation of the Cowboys vs. Eagles SNF game

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Of course it’s not a “normal” Philly-Dallas week in 2020… what’s new?

Without our old Comments section around, it feels even weirder. The flavor is gone.

At least we got through the venerable MACH 10 challenge this past Spring before the lights went out. Since then, no KOH Survival Pool, no BIG-O-5 chewables, no nothing. Although somewhere in ESPN-land they are still playing the traditional BRISUXEGG fantasy football league (TGJB99 and Don Pardo are two owners I can confirm). So there is some plausible continuity which could be salvaged if/when Comments come back.

But the really abnormal part of “Dallas Week” right now is the competitive condition of the opponents. The Eagles have been hobbled by injury, but the Cowboys have been hit hard, too—with an added dose of team discord.

The Cowboys only have three players on their injury report, but one of them is quarterback Andy Dalton who missed a second straight practice after suffering a concussion last Sunday against Washington on a brutal, dirty hit by Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic. Rookie seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci (James Madison) is on the verge of making his first career start unless Dalton clears the concussion protocol.

The protection will be better for whoever the quarterback is. All-Pro guard Zack Martin is back in the lineup after missing the Washington game with a concussion. It’s possible that Martin slides out to tackle to replace rookie Terence Steele on the right side. With both starting tackles (Tyron Smith, La’el Collins) on Injured Reserve, the Cowboys moved Martin out to right tackle when Steele struggled earlier this season against Seattle.

I’m not too worried about DiNucci, but he does have a great receiving corps at his disposal. Amari Cooper leads the team with 53 receptions for 583 yards and two scores on the year. CeeDee Lamb (36 grabs, 497 yards, two touchdowns), Ezekiel Elliott (33 catches, 210 yards, TD), Dalton Schultz (25 receptions, 282 yards, two TD), Michael Gallup (19 catches, 371 yards, TD) and Wilson (14 grabs, 173 yards, two TD) are all valuable targets in the passing game. The Cowboys have 26 pass plays of at least 20 yards on the year. Lamb leads the team with 10 such plays while Gallup and Cooper each have six. Dallas has picked up 120 first downs through the passing game this season.

So he does worry me.

At least the Eagles are getting back Jalen Reagor, their best possible deep threat. Rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor has been medically cleared to return from a UCL tear in his thumb and is expected to play Sunday night barring a setback, according to a league source of Tim McManus, who confirmed local reports on Reagor’s status.Reagor was injured in the Eagles’ Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams and was placed on injured reserve following surgery on the thumb. The Eagles activated the 21-day window for Reagor to return on Monday and he has practiced all week without incident.

Reagor, the team’s first-round pick out of TCU, had five catches for 96 yards before getting hurt.

The Eagles also activated the practice window for tight end Dallas Goedert, who has been sidelined since Week 3 with a small fracture in his tibia and a high ankle sprain. Goedert said they are “taking it slow,” as he reacclimates to practice and did not commit to playing Sunday. “I’ve got to be able to run good routes. I can’t go out there at 75 percent and just get covered; [then] I’m just a waste,” he said.

Running back Miles Sanders (knee) has not practiced all week and is in jeopardy of missing his second straight game.

Right tackle Lane Johnson (knee, ankle) was limited Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s practice.

The oddsmakers want you to think the Eagles are big favorites, and they point to the uncertainty factor at quarterback for Dallas, along with inside information on some personnel shakeups and some internal bickering within the team.

But this upcoming game will be anything but predictable. There’s just too much running power and receiving talent in the Cowboys game plan to ever write them off.

Hmmm…Dallas backup QB, offensive line missing starters… Seems like the perfect setup for a challenge to the Eagles run defense.  Ezekiel Elliott leads the Cowboys with 113 carries for 458 yards and five touchdowns on the season. He could be due to go off on us.

The Birds have been more vulnerable to the run recently. Philadelphia has given up at least 116 rushing yards and a score in each of their last four games. That includes their showing against the Giants last week when they surrendered 22 carries for 160 yards and a score.

The Eagles will probably try to exploit the Dallas pass defense to gain their advantage.  Dallas’s defense has been awful and they traded away Griffen this week, thinning their pass rush group. They don’t make plays in the secondary and, even facing mediocre quarterbacks, they’ve been sliced and diced.

If there is any football logic left in 2020, the Eagles can get enough going offensively to put the Cowboys in a situation where they have to throw the ball. That will be tee-off time for the Eagles defense. But this year, EYE expect nothing logical or predictable in this game.

 

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