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5 Takes

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5 Takes: Dallas has one major hurdle in the NFC


ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys welcomed in their divisional rival Philadelphia Eagles for a mega rematch at AT&T Stadium with big playoff implications on the line and dominated from start-to-finish with a commanding 33-13 win.

The Cowboys defense forced three turnovers and the offense accounted for over 400 yards on their way to making a huge statement in the NFC as we head deeper into December.

There was a lot to take away from the big win that pushed the Cowboys' home winning streak to 15. Here are the 5 Takes, presented by Take 5 Oil Change.

  1. *Dallas only has one major hurdle in the NFC.
    All season, the rhetoric around the Cowboys was that they could beat up on sub-par competition but couldn't come through in big games against quality teams – most notably San Francisco and Philadelphia. After Sunday night's dominant win over the Eagles, I would be confident in Dallas taking down Philadelphia in the playoffs, regardless of where the game is played. In my eyes, the Cowboys have just one major hurdle to clear in the NFC: the San Francisco 49ers. Am I saying a matchup in January against the Eagles would be smooth? Absolutely not. But there should be more confidence in a win than not. I don't know if that could be said before Sunday night.
  1. *Dallas has to treat every game like a must-win down the stretch.
    Every game is important in the NFL, and if the Dallas Cowboys want to try and erase their early season mistake at the hands of the Cardinals, it becomes as important as ever to go 4-0 down the stretch. The division is now just one Philadelphia loss from being in the hands of the Cowboys while the conference lead also has a similar room for error from San Francisco. Dallas stays in the hunt for the No. 1 seed by continuing to win, they get it with a little bit of help.
  1. *The defense put together its best effort of the season.
    Against one of the scarier offenses in the league, the Dallas Cowboys defense kept the Philadelphia Eagles offense out of the end zone and forced three turnovers on critical potential momentum-swinging opportunities on its way to its best complete effort all season. Sure, the box score has looked different at other times this season. But when you take into account the talent level of the Eagles' offense and how just about every weapon was stymied all night, this is the one that takes the cake. Have yourself a day, Dan Quinn.
  1. *The safety group had its best game of 2023.
    It started early and often for the trio of safety weapons for the Dallas defense as Donovan Wilson forced and recovered a fumble on Jalen Hurts on Philadelphia's opening drive to give the ball back to the red-hot Dallas offense. Philadelphia tried to attack the middle of the field early, but Jayron Kearse's best day in coverage this season paired with physical play from Malik Hooker – including a third down hit on Devonta Smith that forced an incompletion – allowed the entire Dallas defense to settle in. For a group that maybe hasn't had their best overall season so far in 2023, Sunday night's performance reminded everybody just how important they are to Dan Quinn's unit.
  1. *The Cowboys have to find a way to bring Stephon Gilmore back in 2024.
    I understand that Trevon Diggs will be back in 2024. I also understand that the Cowboys now have a third All-Pro level cornerback in DaRon Bland. But with what Stephon Gilmore has brought to this defense – especially in recent weeks – it's tough for me to let him walk in free agency. There is still a lot to play out and probably a lot to figure out if it does happen, but having Gilmore on the field with a healthy Diggs and Bland in 2024 would form one of the strongest secondaries in the history of the team.

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