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Paul Domowitch's Eagles-Cowboys scouting report

Recent history: The Eagles lost, 29-23, in overtime on Oct. 30 at Dallas. Domo: Eagles-Cowboys scouting report WHEN THE EAGLES RUN THE BALL

Recent history: The Eagles lost, 29-23, in overtime on Oct. 30 at Dallas.


Three of the four RBs the Eagles opened the season with - Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner - are on injured reserve. The lone survivor is 33-year-old Darren Sproles, who will handle the bulk of the ball-carrying duties, Rookie Byron Marshall, who was signed off the practice squad two weeks ago, also will get some carries. The Eagles, who are 10th in rushing (113.3 yards per game) but 18th in rush average (4.2), got a big boost last week with the return of right tackle Lane Johnson from a 10-game PED suspension. Sproles had 86 yards on a season-high 15 carries in first game vs. Cowboys. Dallas is first in the league in run defense(81.5), but the fact that teams are averaging league-low 20.7 rushing attempts per game v. them has a lot to do with that. Cowboys likely will rest their best defensive player, linebacker Sean Lee, which will make both running and passing vs. them easier.

EDGE: Eagles


Carson Wentz's rookie season has been educational, but seldom pretty since his white-hot September start. He's 25th in passing (78.2), 28th in yards per attempt (6.3) and 30th in touchdown percentage (just 14 in 564 attempts). He's thrown only 7 TD passes in the last 11 games. In the last four games, he's averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt and has thrown 6 interceptions. He completed a season-high 74.4 percent of his attempts vs. Dallas in Week 8. His three main go-to guys have been slot receiver Jordan Matthews and tight ends Zach Ertz and Trey Burton. He connected with wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a 40-yard TD pass in last week's win over the Giants. But that was the first time the underachieving Agholor has been in the end zone since Week 1. The Cowboys have just 34 sacks and nine interceptions. They are 31st in opponent completion percentage (67.5). As with the run defense, the likely absence of Lee will benefit the Eagles greatly.

EDGE: Even


Running behind what might be the best offensive line in the league, rookie Ezekiel Elliott leads the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards. With NFC homefield advantage already locked up, it remains to be seen how much he'll play Sunday. With just 7 offensive linemen on their 53-man roster, most of the people who block for Elliott, including their three Pro Bowl offensive linemen - center Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin and LT Tyron Smith - almost certainly will play a good portion of the game. Darren McFadden, who missed the first 13 games after having elbow surgery this summer, returned two weeks ago and had 17 carries in last week's win over the Lions. The Eagles have been inconsistent v. the run, giving up too many big plays. They've allowed 13 run plays of 20-plus yards, the fourth most in the league.

EDGE: Cowboys


Dak Prescott, who has all but three of the Cowboys' pass attempts this season, will start Sunday, according to owner Jerry Jones. How much he will play, as with Elliott, remains to be seen. Jones has said former starter Tony Romo won't play against the Eagles. Which means their No. 3 QB, former Eagle March Sanchez, probably will play a good portion of the game. Which means there will be interception opportunities - Sanchez has 84 career interceptions in 76 games - for an Eagles defense that picked off three Eli Manning passes last week in a five-point win over the Giants. Until he completed five straight passes in overtime, including a game-winning TD pass to TE Jason Witten, the Eagles did a good job of neutralizing Prescott in the first meeting. He completed just 48.7 percent of his passes. The Eagles' front four did a good job of getting pressure on Prescott.

EDGE: Cowboys


PK Caleb Sturgis has made 33 of 38 FG attempts, including his last eight. Aside from a 40-yarder that was blocked, he has just one miss of less than 51 yards since Week 1. P Donnie Jones is 14th in net average (40.5). Just 22 of his 59 attempts (37.3 percent) have been returned. The Eagles' coverage units have been superb all season. They've allowed just 2 PRs longer than 12 yards, and with the exception of an onside kick, haven't allowed a kick return to be advanced beyond the 35-yard line. The Eagles are on their fourth KR - Nelson Agholor. He has averaged just 18.4 yards per return. PR Darren Sproles is averaging 13.2 yards per return, but has had just 3 returns in his last 6 games. Cowboys PK Dan Bailey has one of the league's most dependable legs. He's 25-for-30 on FGAs and has a 64.7 touchback percentage on KOs.

EDGE: Eagles


The Eagles are 1-7 on the road this season, but 5-2 at the Linc. They outplayed the Cowboys in Arlington in late October. only to lose in overtime. Now they have got them at home in a game they care much more about than the Cowboys.

EDGE: Eagles

Domo's prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 17


--Eagles DE Brandon Graham vs. Cowboys RT Doug Free. With Fletcher Cox dealing with nonstop double-teams, Graham has been the Eagles' most consistent pass-rusher. Free is a nine-year veteran with 113 career starts. ADVANTAGE: Eagles

-- Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins and CB Jalen Mills vs. Cowboys SWR Cole Beasley. Beasley is one of the league's top slot receivers. Jenkins has spent a good chunk of the season as a nickel corner. He'll likely rotate there with rookie Mills. ADVANTAGE: Cowboys

--Eagles TE Zach Ertz vs. Cowboys S Byron Jones. The Cowboys held Ertz to four catches for 19 yards in the first meeting. He needs to be a bigger factor Sunday if the Eagles want to end the season on a high note. ADVANTAGE: Eagles

Hot and Not


--Eagles: S Malcolm Jenkins. Had two interceptions vs. Giants, including one that he returned for a touchdown.

--Cowboys: RB Ezekiel Elliott. Leads the league in rushing and has rushed for 80-plus yards in 14 straight games.


--Eagles: WR Jordan Matthews. Hobbled by a high ankle sprain, Matthews has just eight catches for 39 yards in the last two games.

--Cowboys: KR/PR Lucky Whitehead. Averaging just 7.8 yards per punt return. His longest kick return is 33 yards.


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