How the Dallas Cowboys could attack the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night football
After a disappointing loss at home, the Philadelphia Eagles have a shot at redemption on the road this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Both San Francisco and Atlanta play similar styles of football, so it’ll be exciting to see how the Eagles play against a much more pass-heavy offense. Dak Prescott has thrown 85 passes through two games, while Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo combined for 65 attempts against Philadelphia.
The Eagles’ secondary has looked alright to start the season, but neither team they faced has tried the deep ball like the Cowboys most certainly will with CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper on Monday. Blake Jarwin is an alright tight end who has gotten an average amount of targets, but he’s nowhere near the level of George Kittle and Kyle Pitts, so it’ll be much easier for Philadelphia’s linebackers.
Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t look to be the best running back on the Cowboys’ roster anymore with the emergency of Tony Pollard. Pollard ran all over the Chargers last week, averaging 8 yards a carry over 13 rushes. Zeke has combined for a little over 100 yards through his first two games, and he looks alright, but nothing like he did in years prior.
Dallas has used some 21 personnel with Pollard and Elliott in the backfield, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they ran it against Jonathan Gannon’s defense. The 49ers and Falcons ran the ball effectively, but it took long drives with four-yard carries to put points on the board. The Cowboys have too many weapons on offense to rely on that, but it’s something they could fall back on if the passing game fails.
Jonathan Gannon has sent some pressure in weeks prior but with the loss of Brandon Graham and facing a team who will pass more often. The Eagles could send some extra blitzes towards Dak Prescott. Dallas has had issues with their offensive line early, so they could cause many problems by sending an extra defender or two. Their front defense will be strong without Graham, but they could likely switch up their scheme after losing him for the season.
The matchup to watch on defense for the Eagles will be cornerback Steven Nelson against sophomore stud CeeDee Lamb. Lamb has had a tremendous start to the 2021 season, already having over 15 receptions for nearly 200 yards through two games. Nelson has allowed a 100.3 passing rating this season and has a PFF grade of 69.7 so far. Not the best, so that Lamb mismatch could be deadly.
Darius Slay will likely be paired up against Amari Cooper and should do an excellent job as he usually has against the opposing team’s top wideout. If Lamb is cooking Nelson, they could switch the two, but that doesn’t seem likely. Dallas will put up points, so the Eagles’ offense will need to show up big time after that poor week two matchup.
The Cowboys run a similar defensive set to the Eagles, running a 3-4 hybrid as their primary scheme with 12th pick Micah Parsons as the standup edge. Parsons has played alright so far in his NFL career, and it is no shock that their strength on defense is their linebackers. After losing Demarcus Lawrence to a broken foot, the usage of a 3-4 likely won’t change anytime soon.
Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander-Esch, Keanu Neal, and Parsons make up an intimidating group while Trevon Diggs leads the Cowboys’ secondary, already having two interceptions this season. Dallas is 23rd in the NFL, allowing 7.9 yards per completion, but they also have the second-most interceptions in the league. On the flip side, they have allowed the 8th fewest rushing yards in 2021 and are one of just four teams who have yet to give up a rushing touchdown.
Tampa Bay isn’t a run-heavy team at all, and Austin Ekler had a decent game but only had nine rushes on Sunday. Behind their dominant offensive line, this could be a Miles Sanders game if the Eagles’ receivers fail to improve. There is a lot to keep an eye out for this Monday, but one thing is certain, it will be a much different style of play from the first two weeks.
Mandatory Credit: Sportsnaut