The Cowboys could be starting a rookie quarterback Sunday night against the Eagles, a team that is coming off a 10-day rest and a big win over the Giants. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have had two straight embarrassing losses and need a bounce-back in a major way.
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their 'gut feeling' for this Week 8 matchup:
Rob Phillips: I'll say this about Ben DiNucci: he won the press conference Thursday. He sounded confident and prepared to make his first career start for Andy Dalton if needed. Players and coaches say the rookie has swagger and command of the huddle. And from the limited reps I saw in training camp, I liked DiNucci's poise in the pocket. All that said, this is a tall order for a seventh-round draft pick on the road behind a banged-up offensive line, assuming he's the starter Sunday. Credit Carson Wentz for keeping the Eagles competitive lately through all these injuries, and now they're getting some guys healthy. That makes Philly the logical pick this week. But curious to see if the Cowboys can make things interesting if they protect up front.
David Helman: Hopefully this week we see a bit more of the fight that we all agree was missing in Washington. With a decimated offensive line and a third-string quarterback, it's hard to set the expectations higher than simply scrapping. I do think we'll see that in Philadelphia, for the record. It's an unideal set of circumstances, but Ben DiNucci can bring some energy to this offense, and I think the personnel changes on defense will drum up a bit more intensity on that side of the ball. Unfortunately, the Eagles just have too many advantages. They still have Carson Wentz playing quarterback, and they still have Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham to take advantage of this offensive line. Jalen Reagor is also returning from injury, which is a scary thought against this secondary. I think DiNucci will provide a bit of a spark, and the Cowboys will keep it close for as long as they can. Ultimately, though, I don't think they'll be able to score enough points, and I think the Eagles will pull away. The final score will be something like 31-9 in favor of Philadelphia, but those that watch the game will feel far better about the way the Cowboys played than they did last week.
Nick Eatman: For starters, the Cowboys need to show a different attitude, swagger and overall mindset from what we've seen the past two weeks, especially last Sunday. That was about as bad a game as I can remember. There's no excuse for a game like that. Ok fine, Dak Prescott is hurt and he's not coming back. And now, the backup quarterback is out and likely won't play. That doesn't mean this team can't press forward and fight. And that's what I think everyone wants to see – more fight. And it's not just us saying it. Mike McCarthy said it after the game. DeMarcus Lawrence did as well. They all want to a much better effort this week. I would think being embarrassed for two straight weeks was bad enough. But we're about to find out what kind of response they have. I do have a feeling there will be some scrappiness. It always seems to even out somewhat when the Eagles and Cowboys play. However, Philly knows who its quarterback will be, and he's actually played before. The Eagles are also playing better and they're much more rested. So add all of it up and this game seems to favor Philly. I'll take them in a 27-16 win.
Mickey Spagnola: Look, I get it. The Cowboys are starting a rookie quarterback. Their defense has been defenseless over the past six games, giving up at least 25 in each one. And the offensive line is just not itself. But hey, the Eagles have been having their problems, too. While the Cowboys lead the NFL with 16 turnovers, the Eagles have 13, and they, too, are struggling with offensive line injuries. And they didn't exactly drum the Giants this past game, having to come from behind for a 22-21 victory to break a two-game losing streak. Now giving the nod to Philly, based on Carson Wentz, but this is going to be closer than most think, like Eagles 21, Cowboys 20.
Kyle Youmans: Last week I gave them another chance. Even following the loss to Arizona and seeing the patch-work offensive line, the miscommunication on defense, and overall disarray, I said I was not going to pick the Cowboys. But I did so anyways. This week? They could very easily win due to Philly having a lot of the same issues injury wise and with Chidobe Awuzie adding stability defensively. But I think the fact that the Eagles have their quarterback, and are coming off a long week each play a significant role on who plays better Sunday. I've never been one to pick the Eagles, and I definitely don't like doing so, but that's where I'm at this week. Cowboys fall in this one 27-17.