Keys to Victory

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Keys To Victory: Heavy Dose of Zeke & Pollard

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With 17 games on the schedule, all of them have their own importance to the overall record. But division games always seem to mean a little more in the long run. The Cowboys not only play their first home game of the season Monday night, but open up NFC East play with the Eagles, who come to town with an identical 1-1 record.

Here's a look at the keys to victory for both the Eagles and Cowboys.

The Cowboys will win if…

The Cowboys will chalk up victory No.2 if they are able to play a balanced football game on offense. The combination of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard could give the Eagles problems behind a rugged offensive line that is creating more push at the line of scrimmage. If Dak Prescott can have his way in the passing game throwing short and intermediate throws to CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper on the perimeter, the Cowboys can force the Eagles to pick their poison on defense while controlling the tempo of the game.

Defensively, the Cowboys must keep all eyes on Jalen Hurts. The electric dual-threat playmaker has given defensive coordinators problems with his ability to run on the perimeter while dropping dimes over the top of the defense. If the Cowboys can keep No.1 under wraps, they can dictate the terms to the Eagles and force the complementary plays to handle the bulk of playmaking on game day.

The Eagles will win if…

The Eagles' hustle-hard approach has paid dividends over the first two weeks of the season. The team has gone toe to toe with their opponents in boxing matches that turned into a full-blown slugfest at the line of scrimmage. On offense, it is all about Jalen Hurts playing an efficient game as a passer while also running the ball on a handful of designed QB runs on the edges. If he is able to supplement the Eagles' running game to enable Miles Sanders to get loose, the offense will have more sizzle and pop on Monday night. With Devonta Smith and Jalen Reagor capable of delivering big plays on the perimeter, the Eagles have the potential to put up a 30-burger when the offense is rolling.

Defensively, the Eagles need to control the Cowboys' running game and put the game on Dak Prescott's shoulders. If they can force obvious passing downs, the team's relentless pass rush can make life difficult for No.4 in the pocket. Considering the favorable match-ups at various points of line of scrimmage, the Eagles could walk away with a win in a hotly contested divisional game.

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