The Week 3 version of “Monday Evening Soccer” options two NFC East rivals doing battle for the proper to an early-season declare of first place within the division.
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles every enter Monday’s showdown with 1-1 information, and the 2 shorthanded squads must determine a technique to get previous one another in an effort to take pole place within the East. With Washington dropping to 1-2 and the Giants falling into an 0-3 gap, whichever crew comes away victorious could have put an honest quantity of distance between itself and the remainder of the groups within the division.
Within the curiosity of getting proper all the way down to enterprise, let’s break down the matchup.
The best way to watch
When the Eagles have the ball
The matchups on this facet of the sphere are affected by a ridiculous quantity of accidents. The Eagles shall be with out each left deal with Jordan Mailata and proper guard Brandon Brooks, whereas the Cowboys won’t have any of [deep breath] Demarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Bradlee Anae, Carlos Watkins, Neville Gallimore, Trysten Hill, Keanu Neal, or Donovan Wilson. Backup Eagles deal with Andre Dillard shall be primarily chargeable for blocking Randy Gregory, whereas the Cowboys appear prone to once more shift rookie linebacker Micah Parsons to the sting, the place he’ll largely work in opposition to Lane Johnson. Parsons had an absurd quantity of success in his first motion on the sting final week, main the NFL in pressures, however Johnson is a far more durable check for him than Storm Norton.
Which of the 2 depleted items wins the day could have a dramatic impact on how Jalen Hurts is ready to assault a Dallas protection that has been surprisingly not-terrible by means of two weeks. If the offensive line can maintain up in opposition to a makeshift move rush, there ought to be alternatives for Hurts to push the ball downfield. (Hurts has thrown a larger share of his passes behind the road of scrimmage than any quarterback within the NFL, per Tru Media, however he additionally ranks among the many most aggressive downfield throwers thus far, with 13.8 p.c of his makes an attempt touring no less than 20 yards within the air.) They’d be significantly smart to assault cornerback Anthony Brown, who has been repeatedly victimized in protection by means of the early portion of the season; and with Parsons prone to spend a bunch of time on the sting and Neal sidelined with COVID-19, Philly’s tight ends ought to have matchup benefits in opposition to Leighton Vander Esch and (particularly) Jaylon Smith.
Hurts’ favourite goal thus far this 12 months has been first-round choose (and former Alabama teammate) DeVonta Smith. It will be fascinating to see if the Cowboys use No. 1 cornerback Trevon Diggs to shadow him. He is a a lot totally different form of participant than both Mike Evans or Keenan Allen, whom Diggs adopted across the subject for a lot of the crew’s first two video games. He held the big-bodied Evans down all through the night whereas Tom Brady picked on the crew’s different corners, and aside from a ridiculous hole-shot over Diggs’ head in Cowl-2, he did a wonderful job on Allen as properly. Smith’s outrageous velocity would offer a big check in opposition to what was thought of Diggs’ largest weak point in most pre-draft evaluations. Dallas might play extra zone and/or shift a security over to Smith’s facet and dare Hurts to beat them by throwing to another person.
After all, Hurts is arguably a extra harmful risk as a runner than a passer, and with the Cowboys seemingly being unable to rotate their defensive linemen as typically as they’d wish to as a result of their varied accidents, that might pose a fairly large downside for them. Hurts, Miles Sanders, and Kenneth Gainwell every have the flexibility to check the Cowboys’ potential to carry the sting, whereas the inside of Philly’s offensive line will seemingly work in opposition to rookie third-rounder Osa Odighizuwa, rookie sixth-round Quinton Bohanna, and veteran undersized nostril deal with Brent City. That would present Philly with an extra benefit within the run recreation.
When the Cowboys have the ball
Dallas has confronted two dramatically totally different defenses within the first two weeks of the season, and can face one other one in Week 3. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore went extraordinarily move heavy in opposition to the Buccaneers and their monster defensive entrance in Week 1, and the Cowboys practically upset the defending champs on the highway. They got here again and ran the heck out of the ball with not simply Ezekiel Elliott but additionally Tony Pollard in opposition to the Chargers‘ Brandon Staley-coached protection that prioritizes stopping the move in any respect prices and virtually dares opponents to run it.
Dallas will once more be with out proper deal with La’el Collins as he serves his five-game suspension, however Terence Steele acquitted himself simply fantastic within the run recreation final week, and the crew gave him sufficient assist in move safety to outlive. There is not any Joey Bosa dashing throughout from Steele on Monday night time, and the Eagles can even should work with out their finest edge rusher in Brandon Graham. Philly’s finest likelihood at stress figures to return from getting Fletcher Cox matched up on middle Tyler Biadasz, who has struggled badly in opposition to two superb defensive strains.
Even with stress bearing down in his face, although, Dak Prescott has been electrical thus far this 12 months, finishing 76.5% of his passes at a mean of seven.5 yards per try and taking simply three sacks on 88 dropbacks. He seems nothing like a man coming off a grotesque damaged ankle, and whereas his arm power doesn’t appear to be 100% recovered from the shoulder damage he suffered throughout coaching camp, it has been loads ok.
The Eagles do not seem to have any good solutions for both Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb, who’ve been operating huge open in secondaries by means of the primary two weeks of the 12 months. Lamb, particularly, has been rattling close to uncoverable, and have been it not for (no less than) three drops, he would have an much more outrageous stat line than his present 15 catches for 185 yards and a rating. Cooper will play by means of a rib damage that restricted him final Sunday and through practices early final week, however after the final two years of taking part in by means of lingering foot illnesses, he is used to gutting it out by means of accidents that will debilitate different wideouts.
Dallas has additionally proven an elevated willingness to contain Pollard within the move recreation, designing touches to get him matched up on linebackers in open house. He is too quick and too slippery for many of them to cope with, and he might trigger some points for a Philly linebacker corps that leaves loads to be desired in protection. Pollard seemingly will not earn a near-even break up with Elliott in carries like he did every week in the past, however he is appeared just like the extra explosive runner of the 2 for two-plus seasons now. Elliott lastly confirmed some open-field burst on a number of runs in opposition to Los Angeles, although, and at any time when the Cowboys run behind Zack Martin on the proper facet of the road they appear to seek out straightforward yards.
Prediction: Cowboys 30, Eagles 20