The Cowboys and Eagles were always expected to be playing for first-place in the NFC East. Most people just didn't think they would each be 3-3 at this point in the year.
But here we are, as the Eagles head to AT&T Stadium coming off a big loss to the Vikings while the Cowboys are trying to end a three-game losing streak.
Here are five quick storylines for each team to get us ready for the matchup.
- If there's a team that can relate to the Cowboys' struggles, it would be the Eagles, who also sit at a disappointing 3-3. On Monday, Philly head coach Doug Pederson was rather blunt when asked about where his team stands heading into this week's game in Dallas. "I know the sky is falling outside," Pederson said. "It's falling and I get that and the fans are real. We're going down to Dallas, our guys are gonna be ready to play. And we're gonna win that football game and when we do we're in first place in the NFC East, we control our own destiny, we're right where we need to be. Has it been perfect or beautiful or all of that? No. But all we need to do is try to be 1-0 this week, beat the Dallas Cowboys, we're in first place."
- However, since that comment, Pederson softened his stance somewhat, and praised the Cowboys. "They're reeling like we are. They're going to come out and play hard. They always have; they beat us twice last year. We've got a lot of things stacked against us going down there."
- The Eagles released veteran linebacker Zach Brown, who made headlines before last Sunday's game with the Vikings when he said Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins was the "weakest part of their team." Cousins passed for 333 yards and four TDs in a win over the Eagles days later. Cousins and Brown were teammates for one season together in Washington.
- While the Eagles didn't exactly make it clear that Brown's released was prompted by his comments, his remarks didn't seem to help him. Before the game, Brown had played about two-thirds of the Eagles' defensive snaps.
- Philly has struggled in pass coverage but should get a couple of key players back this week, including Jalen Mills, who has been out since midway through last year with a Lisfranc foot fracture in his foot. Mills was placed on PUP during camp and is now eligible to return after Week 6. Ronald Darby has been out with a hamstring injury and is expected to practice this week with a chance to play Sunday night. The Eagles rank 29th in the NFL currently in pass defense, allowing 280.2 passing yards per game.
- Veteran receiver DeSean Jackson has been a pain in the Cowboys' side for years – his 1,147 receiving yards vs. Dallas is the most against any of his career opponents. But his status for Sunday is questionable at best as he recovers from an abdomen injury. Jackson is not expected to practice on Wednesday but Pederson said the speedy receiver is improving and has a chance to play if he can practice some this week.
- The Eagles have another thing in common with the Cowboys, other than their 3-3 record. Philly is also averaging more than 25 points per game, ranking ninth in the league at 26.8, just ahead of Dallas (25.5). The Eagles are one of three teams this year (Seattle, Baltimore) to score at least 20 points in six games. The Cowboys are right behind, with five games.
- The Cowboys have been hit hard by injuries, but lost a player for the entire season on Tuesday in Tyrone Crawford, who will have hip surgery this week. Crawford has been battling the hip injury since the offseason, even missing most of camp and then two regular-season games earlier this year. Crawford's injury hurts even more because of his ability to play both end and tackle.
- Losing Amari Cooper last week against the Jets was a big blow, but the Cowboys might have to deal with that problem again this Sunday. Cooper's quad injury could keep him out against the Eagles, a team he torched for 224 yards last year with three TD catches in an overtime win. The Cowboys might have more issues at receiver if Randall Cobb (hip/back) misses his second straight game.
- Just like the receiver position has two injuries to deal with, offensive tackle has been the same. Tyron Smith and La'el Collins both missed last week and although they are said to be improving in their status, it doesn't mean they will play against the Eagles, especially with a bye week to follow Sunday's game.
- Keeping with the theme of multiple injuries at one spot, cornerbacks Anthony Brown and Byron Jones are both dealing with hamstring issues. Brown is believed to be more serious and could miss Sunday while Jones has a shot to practice and play. Either way, expect more from Jourdan Lewis, who picked off his first pass of the season on Sunday. If needed, the Cowboys do have two cornerbacks on the practice squad in Donovan Olumba and rookie draft pick Mike Jackson.
- The Cowboys have lost three straight games but that doesn't mean Jerry Jones has lost faith in his head coach. In fact, the owner reiterated his support for Jason Garrett on his weekly radio show on 105.3 "The Fan" in Dallas. "I have felt that we got a lot invested in Jason Garrett," Jones said. "He's had a lot of years that he's been a part of the Cowboys and he evolved into what, I think, is a top coach. He would be a very sought after coach if he were out here in the open market."