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Gut Feeling: Writers' Final Preview Of Cowboys-Eagles

The first-place Cowboys (5-1) began their five-game win streak in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, and after a bye week, they'll try to get a sixth straight victory Sunday night against another NFC East rival: the second-place Philadelphia Eagles (4-2).

The Eagles have won three straight games at AT&T Stadium and beat the previously-undefeated Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday. Can the Cowboys keep sole possession of first place in the division? Leading into the Sunday Night Football matchup, here are the gut feelings from the staff.

Bryan Broaddus: The Philadelphia Eagles defensively have been outstanding in the second half of games with their adjustments. Jim Schwartz's troops have allowed six points in the third quarter all season and 26 points total in the second half through six games. The best quarter offensively for Dallas is the second where they have scored 61 points, which puts them behind only San Diego for the league lead. As far as third quarter scoring, the Cowboys are ranked 10th in the league with an average of 5.2 points per game but fall all the way to 24th in fourth quarter scoring. My gut feeling is that the Cowboys figure out a way to crack this Eagles dominance of second half scoring defense and come away with a 28-24 victory on Sunday night.

Rob Phillips: Even with Bennie Logan ruled out for the Eagles, this is arguably the toughest matchup for the Cowboys' offense to date – partly because Philly knows them well. But I'm sticking with this Cowboys offensive line until they're unable to control the line of scrimmage. They won against Cincinnati's Pro Bowl defensive line, and they won against the Packers' No. 1 run defense. The key in my opinion, along with that No. 1-ranked run game featuring Ezekiel Elliott, is not giving the Eagles any easy points. Philadelphia scored 21 of its 41 points the last two games off an interception return for a touchdown and two returns for touchdowns. If the Cowboys can limit turnovers – they have the fewest through six games (five) in team history – I think they'll win a close game and get to 6-1.

Nick Eatman: History suggests this game will be rather close. Not only have the Eagles and Cowboys played many tight games recently, but since Jason Garrett took over as the full-time head coach in 2011, all five games following the bye have been decided by a touchdown or less, and all them have a game-changing score in the final minutes. While the Cowboys are 2-3 in those games, I not only think they even up Garrett's post-bye record, but this one won't be as close. I'm not predicting a blowout, but I think the Cowboys find ways to put up some points and the Eagles will struggle to keep up. The fun predictions include a long touchdown by Brice Butler, another forced fumble by David Irving and an interception by Brandon Carr. Overall, the Cowboys will be too much and improve to 6-1 with a 30-20 victory.

David Helman: Maybe I'm oversimplifying it, but when I look at this matchup on paper, I can't think of a single good reason why I should pick Philadelphia. The Eagles have a fierce pass rush, headlined by the likes of Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. That's fine, because the Cowboys boast one of the NFL's best offensive lines. The Eagles' run-stuffing extraordinaire, Bennie Logan, has also been ruled out of this game ahead of time. I think the Cowboys are going to be able to run the ball effectively, and I think they'll be able to give Dak Prescott enough time to make some plays. Carson Wentz has been impressive so far this season, but the Eagles don't have many offensive weapons that scare me. Maybe Jordan Matthews or Darren Sproles can break out for a big play or two, but if this defense can handle the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, then I have to believe they can keep the Eagles in check. Again, maybe I'm oversimplifying it, but I think the Cowboys just have too many advantages – including a primetime home crowd. I think Zeke Elliott is going to grind the Philly front down for 166 yards and a score, and Dez Bryant will add an insurance touchdown. Cowboys win – something like 31-17.

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