The Eagles have only won two games, but the arrow seems to be pointing upward. On the other hand, the Cowboys have lost two games by a combined 50 points and will start a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start.
Let's find out what needs to happen for the Cowboys and Eagles to get the win.
The Eagles win if…
The Eagles will walk away with a win if they are able to jump on the Cowboys early in the game. Doug Pederson has helped Carson Wentz and the offense finds a rhythm early in games by utilizing an up-tempo approach with a variety of quick-hitters on the menu. The combination of quick passes, screens, and quick-hitting runs keep the Eagles' offense on schedule and enables Wentz to string together a handful of completions to help him settle into a groove. The Eagles will mix in some shots to Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward to keep the defense honest but the offense rolls when Wentz plays connect the dots from the pocket. Keep an eye on Jalen Hurts as a wild card playmaker in the backfield. He has added a dimension to the offense as a designated runner on QB runs and read-option plays on random downs.
Defensively, Jim Schwartz will come after the Cowboys' quarterbacks, particularly if Ben DiNucci is making his first start. The Eagles' defensive coordinator would prefer to attack with a four-man rush but the rookie's jitters and the Cowboys' patchwork offensive line could prompt him to dial up blitzes from every angle. Considering how the Cowboys have wilted under the pressure in recent weeks, Schwartz is certain to copy the blueprint to see if the issues have been resolved.
The Cowboys will win if…
The Cowboys will chalk up a "W" if they take care of the football and find a way to generate a running game. Ezekiel Elliott is the most important offensive player on the field with a rookie quarterback poised to make his first start. Kellen Moore must feed Zeke the ball consistently to alleviate the pressure on DiNucci and the offensive line. If the Cowboys are able to control the game with a deliberate pace and a steady running game, the rookie quarterback to throw the ball to a talented cast of pass catchers on the perimeter facing favorable match-ups. The Cowboys must generate points from the passing game but they must pick and choose their spots to take shots to avoid getting into a shootout against an Eagles' squad that's better equipped to play a high-scoring game.
On defense, the Cowboys must play with more energy and better effort to slow down the Eagles' offense. The defense must play with better gap integrity to slow down the run to force long-yardage situations. If Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are able to run unobstructed to the ball within the tackle-to-tackle box, the Cowboys should be able to contain the Eagles' running game and put the pressure on Wentz to win as a passer. Given his turnover woes and the Eagles' leaky offensive line, the ability to force the Eagles in a pass-heavy approach should result in more negative plays and turnovers. If the Cowboys win the turnover battle, they should walk out of the stadium as the NFC East leaders.