Eagles Need Big Game from Wentz, Hicks to Beat Cowboys
When the Eagles face the Cowboys tonight, they will go from facing the worst rushing attack in the league in the Vikings to facing the leagues best rushing team.
But don't expect Jim Schwartz to change a whole bunch this week, he will continue to do what he does, but the Eagles need to clean up their miss tackle mess they had back in the Washington game.
Missed tackles are something the Eagles can't afford to allow to happen, but its one thing Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is really good a doing - making people miss. Elliott is not only the leagues leading rusher, he leads it in rushing after contact with 298.
One of the reasons that Elliot has been so good is because Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is a threat to run. You have to dedicate a defender to account for Prescott, which opens things up for Elliott. The Cowboys scheme, points to leaving Prescott on the field when Tony Romo is healthy and ready to return, because he’s made Elliott a better runner.
This is a tough match-up for the Eagles for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that Prescott can run the ball if need be, and that means you cannot blitz him.
I think a big key player this week will be middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. Hicks had 11 tackles last week and looks to be finally settling into the Eagles new scheme. Remember he was a tremendous player-maker last season as a 3-4 inside linebacker, now he is manning the middle. He will have plenty of chances to wrap-up and take down Elliott and he needs to bring him down.
Another tough match-up for the Eagles is the talented offensive line of the Cowboys, which features three first round picks, who play very well together. They’re well coached, they have great chemistry and they have great components around them, including Cole Beasley.
Without the services of Ron Brooks, the Eagles have some questions this week at the slot corner position. Malcolm Jenkins has played in that spot in the time Brooks was injured, but I don’t think they’ll put Jenkins on Beasley this week - it's not a good match-up for Jenkins.
For the Eagles to win the game, I think they need to take some early shots down-the-field, something they have done much this season. The Eagles don’t have a lot of firepower to make that happen, but they are going to have to take shots and out the game in the hands of Carson Wentz.
If they can attack the Cowboys down-field early and get the lead, it could force the Cowboys to abandon Elliott.
My Pick: Cowboys 31, Eagles 17