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Eagles vs. Cowboys: Comparing the two offenses

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 05, 2018 - 8:37 am

The Eagles will head to Dallas this Sunday for a matchup with the Cowboys, a game that is not only the biggest game of the season, but one of the biggest between the two rivals in recent years. 

As we start to preview this week’s game for first place in the NFC East, here is a comparison of the two offenses:

Quarterback:

Depth Chart for Cowboys: Dak Prescott 

Depth Chart for Eagles: Carson Wentz

Analysis: In 2016, it seemed like Wentz and Prescott were set to battle for NFC East supremacy for years to come. That narrative took a major hit in 2017, but Sunday is shaping up to be the first of many battles between the two young quarterbacks. Prescott’s numbers this season certainly don’t jump off the page. He has just 14 touchdowns in 12 games. He has had issues with turnovers as well, putting the ball on the ground 11 times and throwing five interceptions. Prescott is just as likely to turn the ball over as he is to throw a touchdown this season. The third-year quarterback does deserve credit for making big plays when his team needs it, however, as he has been excellent during their four-game winning streak, including a game-winning drive vs. the Atlanta Falcons three weeks ago. 

Wentz’s numbers are far better than Prescott’s so far this season. He has 18 touchdowns in 10 games, but like Prescott, he has had issues with turnovers. Wentz has put the ball on the ground eight times in 10 games and has seven interceptions. Wentz has played at a high level for the most part, as he has more games this season with a quarterback rating over 100 than he did last year. The timing of his turnovers, however, have been extremely costly, and have added a dimension to his game that wasn’t there last season — a feeling he could make a mistake that would cost his team the game. 

Edge: Eagles 

Running Backs: 

Depth Chart for Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith 

Depth Chart for Eagles: Josh Adams, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood

Analysis: This one is pretty simply. Even though the Eagles have better depth at the position, the Cowboys have one of the top running backs in the game in Elliott, who is capable of taking over any game he plays in. Elliott has topped 120 yards in three of his last four games, and has topped 100-total yards in five straight games. He had one of his best games of the season against the Eagles in Week 10, topping 187 total yards in the Cowboys’ win. 

The Eagles have some reason to be optimistic about their running backs heading into Sunday’s game, as Adams, Clement and Sproles all had solid games against Washington. The lack of a dynamic, playmaking running back like Elliott has hurt this offense all year, however. 

Edge: Cowboys 

Wide Receivers:

Depth Chart for Cowboys: Amari Cooper, Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns 

Depth Chart for Eagles: Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Golden Tate, Jordan Matthews 

Analysis: At the start of the season, the Eagles seemed to have a far better set of receivers than the Cowboys. Then, the Eagles suffered two major injuries, losing both Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins. The Cowboys also spent a major asset on a trade that brought them Amari Cooper, who has made an instant impact on their offense. The result is that heading into Sunday’s game, the two units are extremely close. 

Cooper, the Cowboys’ top receiver, has outplayed Jeffery, the Eagles’ No. 1 guy, despite being traded midseason. Cooper has a total fo 255 yards in the last two games. Jeffery has barely topped that in the last six games (274 yards). The advantage is not nearly as big for the Cowboys at slot receiver, but both Beasley and Agholor have put up extremely similar numbers this season, and both bring a lot of the same things to their respective offenses. 

Prior to last week, the addition of Tate to the offense wouldn’t have been viewed as a positive for the Eagles. Tate, however, is coming off of his best game of the season and it seems he is finally on the same page as Wentz. If Tate can keep up the level of play he showed against Washington, it completely changes the Eagles’ receiving core. 

Edge: Eagles 

Tight Ends:

Depth Chart for Cowboys: Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin

Depth Chart for Eagles: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert 

Analysis: Like running back, this one is very simple, only in the Eagles’ favor. The Eagles head into Sunday with the two best tight ends in the game, as both Ertz and Goedert are significantly better than what the Cowboys have at tight end. There is an argument to be made that even the Eagles’ third-string tight end — Richard Rodgers — is better than both Swaim and Jarwin. This one is a slam dunk for the Eagles. 

Edge: Eagles 

Offensive Line: 

Depth Chart for Cowboys: La’el Collins, Zack Martin, Joe Looney, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Tyron Smith

Depth Chart for Eagles: Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Peters 

Analysis: The Eagles and Cowboys have two very similar offensive lines. The Eagles have allowed 84 quarterback hits this season, while the Cowboys have allowed 83. The Cowboys are averaging 4.7 yards per rushing attempt, with a much better running back, compared to the Eagles’ 4.2 yards per attempt. 

The one major difference between the two is sacks. The Cowboys offensive line has allowed Prescott to be sacked a league-leading 45 times. It got so bad that they fired their offensive line coach on Oct. 29. There has not been much of an improvement, as Prescott was sacked seven times last week against the New Orleans Saints, and four times the prior week vs. Washington. Wentz, on the other hand, has been sacked a total of 12 times in the last five games, and wasn’t sacked a single time vs. Washington. 

Edge: Eagles 

Overall: The Eagles have the edge at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line. They are also heating up, averaging 26.5 points-per-game over the last two weeks, an increase of almost seven points on what they have been averaging this season (around 20). The Cowboys have a big advantage in the run game, but overall, the Eagles have more talent on the offensive side of the ball than the Cowboys. 

Edge: Eagles 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at [email protected]!

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