The big question for the Cowboys (13-2) this week focuses on the personnel – not just who will be in the game but for how long.
With playoff home-field advantage clinched and no way to improve their seeding, the Cowboys might have some tough decisions to make regarding playing key players such as Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant and more. Head coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys will have discussions regarding playing time throughout the week, but with only 46 players eligible to be active on game day, he said all healthy players will practice and prepare to play Sunday.
The one injured player from that above-mentioned group is Smith, who not only has battled a back and neck injury all year, but suffered a knee injury in Monday's 42-21 win over the Detroit Lions. Smith sat out most of the fourth quarter, and although Garrett said Tuesday the team doesn't think the Pro Bowl left tackle has a severe injury, but he's not expected to practice Wednesday and seems doubtful to play against the Eagles.
That decision could be the first domino in the equation. If Smith doesn't start at left tackle, the Cowboys might not be inclined to start Prescott or even backup Tony Romo. Third-teamer Mark Sanchez, who spent last year with the Eagles, might be the choice to start or at least play some snaps the Week 17 finale.
All of that is yet to be determined. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have plenty of other injuries on defense, including a handful on the line. Three key players were missing from Monday's game, including both starting ends Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence. Cedric Thornton also sat out with an ankle injury, and then Terrell McClain (knee) and Ryan Davis (ankle) were injured in the game.
It'll be a thin group Sunday, which means outside linebacker Kyle Wilber might have to continue to play some defensive end in pass-rushing situations.
The Eagles (6-9) did Dallas a favor last Thursday night by beating the New York Giants, which clinched the division, first-round bye and No. 1 seed for the Cowboys. But it's likely Philly will want to prevent the Cowboys from having their best regular-season record in franchise history.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick, missed parts of last week's game being evaluated for a concussion. But he did return to action and helped the Eagles hold off the Giants, 24-19.
The Eagles nearly beat the Cowboys back in Week 6 but couldn't hold off a late rally by Prescott, who engineered a game-tying drive to force overtime, followed by a game-winner in the extra session. Prescott's touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten gave the Cowboys a 29-23 win at AT&T Stadium.
Since then, Philadelphia had lost six of its next seven games before rebounding against the Giants last Thursday. They've found more success at home, winning five of their six games this year at Lincoln Financial Field.
Wentz (14 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 78.2 passer rating) has veteran running back Darren Sproles to rely on as a versatile option in the passing game and on punt returns. Jordan Matthews leads the offense in catches (73), receiving yards (804) and touchdown catches (3). Defensively, Fletcher Cox leads all Eagles with 6.5 quarterback sacks and was named to his second Pro Bowl last week.