The last time Jordan Matthews left the field in North Texas, he had just raced for a 41-yard, game-winning touchdown in overtime. It was his second touchdown in two games at AT&T Stadium, and he has totaled 13 catches for 184 yards in those meetings. So what is it about playing in Dallas that resonates with Matthews?
"Dallas is a cool place to play," Matthews said. "It's like a concert. It's crazy. Half of the time we go, it doesn't feel like an away game. It feels like this big hoopla. It's crazy, because the Eagles fans travel like crazy to that game. Cowboys fans are going to be there. They're fighting each other. Then you've got tourists there because they just want to see Jerry World. And then there's this big TV that's as big as like three cities.
"So there's a whole bunch of stuff going on, so half the time, I think the DBs don't even notice me running around."
Matthews was saying that in jest, but the Eagles could use one of those performances from him on Sunday. The Eagles' No. 1 receiver has 25 catches for 354 yards and two touchdowns this season. He had 13 catches in the first two games, and just 12 in the past four games.
The Eagles offense generated more manageable second- and third-down opportunities in the first two games, and penalties and sacks have forced them behind the sticks in recent weeks. Matthews identified this as an area in which the offense must improve, and it could help his production.
"It's just one of those things where the whole offense has to continue to get better and work to improve, and from my end, just make sure I'm a viable option, getting open, and catching the ball when it comes to me," Matthews said.
One thing that could help both Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz is a better vertical passing game. The Eagles have only three passing plays of 40+ yards this season, and two have been to Darren Sproles. If defenses needed to worry about someone stretching the field, it would help the players who make their living in the intermediate passing game.
"You want to definitely have those plays down the field," Matthews said. "One, it's plays that the defense is still not threatened by. So they go back and watch film and say, 'We're not worried about this team beating us deep, because that takes away the underneath game.'
"Because now teams start playing Cover 4, they're real up close kind of how the Vikings were, and they start messing with our intermediate game and it gets safeties to be in the run game, too. So we just got to make sure that we start completing some of those balls."