The Cowboys and Eagles for first place in the NFC East. What else needs to be said?
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their 'gut feeling' for Sunday's matchup between the 3-3 teams.
Rob Phillips: I realize what I'm about to say applies to any football game at every level. Sometimes it's just this simple. The team that wins both lines of scrimmage Sunday wins. Dak Prescott took too many hits against the Jets and the Cowboys acknowledge they need to bring more pressure defensively. If Tyron Smith and La'el Collins can get back Sunday and play near their optimum level, that would be huge. The defense is looking for a complete game. They did a much better job against the run last week, but Sam Darnold got them on some critical pass plays. I'm picking the Cowboys over Philly because they're at home, there's hope that at least a couple of their injured players will be back, and despite these really slow starts, the offense has left some very makeable plays on the field. But it'll come down to who controls things up front.
Nick Eatman: Back before the Saints game, I justified my uneasy feeling about the game and picked the Cowboys because they were 3-0 and hadn't showed me any reason not to. Last week, the Cowboys showed me a big reason by losing to the Jets. Yes, I think this team will benefit from guys returning from injury but I still think this will be a huge challenge. Going off what I've seen lately, I can't foresee the Cowboys getting this win. I don't see an up-and-down shootout because these offenses haven't been that consistent. I see it coming down to the final seconds once again, but my "gut" is overpowering my mind on this one and I'll take the Eagles 27-23.
Bryan Broaddus: If the Cowboys were going to play without Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb and Byron Jones I was going to pick the Eagles to win this game. With all those players now available Sunday night that makes a huge difference to me. Just having Smith and Collins in the lineup alone is enough of a boost to help this offense against an Eagles defense that has struggled with pass defense. If the line can protect Dak Prescott they can make some big plays down the field and it's going to take some of those explosive plays in order to win this game. I have my concerns with this Cowboys defense completely shutting down this Eagles attack. They have a fine compliment of skill players and that's going to make things tough. Cowboys get that one extra stop and cash it in for points. In a tight one the home side wins 27-24.
David Helman: The Cowboys are like that boyfriend or girlfriend that keeps breaking your heart, but you can't bring yourself to lose faith. You just know they can be better, even if they do nothing to show it. That's pretty much how I feel. I just know deep down in my heart that this team isn't as bad as it has looked for the last three weeks. And I hate myself for believing in them, but here I am anyway. With their backs against the wall, I think they can come out and win a big home game – especially if guys like Tyron Smith, Amari Cooper and Byron Jones can get back into the lineup. I think Dak Prescott can hit this Eagles secondary for 300+ yards, and I think the defense can force another turnover or two – even if the Eagles do hit them up for a lot of yards. I see this being a track meet, but the Cowboys will rise to the occasion in crunch time. Dak scores another rushing touchdown in the final minutes, and the Cowboys escape – something like 31-27.
Mickey Spagnola: Look, I know everyone is all up in arms about the Cowboys throwing the ball, getting fancy with play-action and all that. But with both offensive tackles questionable for this game, along with both wide receivers – "hopeful" might be the best unofficial projection – then I'm going to tell you the Cowboys need to feed Zeke in this game. Do you remember last year? The Cowboys' two victories, but by only 27-20 and then 29-23 in overtime over the Eagles? Well in those two games Zeke ran for 151 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries and then 113 yards on 28 yards. Then he gained another 115 yards on 18 catches in those two games. Would you take either of those, right now? Sure you would, and if you get that, Cowboys win.