December division matchups don't get more meaningful than this.
Will the Cowboys (7-5) push their win streak to five and extend their one-game lead in the NFC East? Or will the Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) even the season series with Dallas -- and more importantly, even the division race?
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their 'gut feelings' for Sunday's showdown (3:25 p.m. Central) at AT&T Stadium:
Lindsay Draper: As if this particular matchup isn't juicy enough – the locker rooms have been chirping back and forth this week, and I'm completely settled in with my popcorn. I think as great as a four-game win streak is, this team is still 7-5. Yeah, I said it. This team, this 'backs against the wall' 7-5 team, is going to win on Sunday, because it has something to play for. They aren't coasting through this last month, they don't have anything secured for certain, playoffs aren't a lock and the season is on the line. I think the Eagles have pulled together to find some sync in their last two contests, but I'm choosing the Cowboys this weekend in a really enticing, nail-biting game.
Mickey Spagnola: This one is causing my gut to do somersaults, maybe because the ramifications in this game mean so much to each team. Or because so many out there are thinking this is a layup victory for the Cowboys. Come on, the Cowboys are 7-5, the Eagles 6-6. The only difference in those records is the Cowboys' one-touchdown victory over the Eagles to start their four-game winning streak. So not much. And let me remind you the Eagles, in that 27-20 loss at The Linc, did total 421 yards of total offense against the Cowboys, the most in four quarters against that Cowboys defense this season. The Cowboys were hit for a season-high 360 yards passing and two touchdowns in that game. Makes you queasy, doesn't it? So much so, Cowboys just eek out a 24-23 victory.
Nick Eatman: Something told me to pick the Cowboys the last time they played Philadelphia, mainly because I just thought this was the type of game they'd mess around and win it. I guess you could say the Cowboys are also the team that would mess around and lose a game like this. And yes, I've seen the Eagles come into town when things weren't looking great for them but they still found a way to win. However, I'm saying the Cowboys are a different team this year. A team that can shut down the Saints' high-powered attack. Ultimately, I think the Cowboys are just a better team right now than the Eagles. They will run the ball better and will get some big play in the secondary. I'm predicting some big pass interference penalties this week that will also aide the Cowboys. Michael Gallup gets on track again this week and Dak finally connects with him on a touchdown strike. I think the Cowboys get on the Eagles early and win it, 28-16.
Rob Phillips: The Cowboys have shown they can move the football with consistency the last several weeks. The main thing is finishing drives, because even in this four-game win streak they've only scored seven touchdowns out of 13 red zone trips. The Eagles gave up 400-plus yards to their last three opponents, including the Cowboys, before doing a much better job against Washington last week. Injuries to their secondary have been an issue. How they cover, and how the Cowboys' offensive line protects Dak Prescott, are the two keys to this game. My gut says Dallas shows more balance on both sides of the ball and takes a two-game lead in the East.
David Helman: Bryan Broaddus talks about the "Desperate Team Theory" a lot. Essentially, in this parity-driven league, you can't write off the collective will of a team that absolutely has to win a game. The Philadelphia Eagles are a desperate team, and that should concern the Cowboys. Fortunately, the Cowboys have a lot on the line, as well, considering a win almost certainly puts them in the playoffs. The Eagles' secondary is absolutely decimated, and I think Prescott can take advantage to the tune of 300 yards. If the passing game is working the way I think it will, then Ezekiel Elliott should also have plenty of room to run. That's not to say it will be easy, though. The Eagles' pass rush is going to cause some problems, and I bet they'll force a turnover. Maybe it's simplistic, but I think if the Cowboys can slow down Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara, they can slow down Carson Wentz and Josh Adams. This won't be an easy win, but it'll still be a win – something like 24-22.
Bryan Broaddus: I have gone back and forth on this matchup. I am a big believer in the Desperate Team Theory. When the Cowboys went to Philadelphia five weeks ago they were that team. Since then they've run off four straight with the opportunity to all but eliminate the defending Super Bowl champions. Doug Pederson and his squad understand their position and will give the Cowboys their best shot. My gut feeling is that this game will come down to the team with the best defense, and as I type this it's the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles have plenty of weapons but the Cowboys can match them player for player and that will be the difference. The defense does its job and the improving offense finds ways to finish drive. Dallas 26, Philadelphia 16