With just two weeks left in the 2019 NFL season, nearly all the playoff spots are locked up. In the NFC, the seeding is the main issue to watch over the final games, along with who wins the NFC East. The AFC is a little more complicated, as the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers compete for the final wildcard spot. Yet the Titans still have a chance to win the AFC South. In this playoff preview, we’ll break down the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys that will essentially reveal our final NFC team.
Currently poised at 7-7, both the Eagles and Cowboys are vying to win the division and make the postseason. Dallas currently hold the tiebreaker, as they won the previous matchup this season. If they win in Week 16, they’ll win the division regardless of whether they also win in Week 17. If Philadelphia win, they still need a win in Week 17, or a Cowboys’ loss.
Dallas Cowboys: How They’ll Win or Lose
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the best passing attacks in the league this season. They are ranked second in passing with an average of 300 passing yards. They are also first in overall Offense with 434 yards per game. Quarterback Dak Prescott has protected the football reasonably well, and the Offensive Line has allowed the fewest sacks in the league. In their Week 7 meeting, Prescott threw over 230 yards but was balanced by Running Back Ezekiel Elliott’s 100+ yard game. The Offense is easily the strength of this team.
The Defence, on the other hand, is mostly playing well but has had some poor games. In the top half in both defending the pass and rush, they are 7th for total yards. However, they are middling in terms of sacks, and are tied last for fewest intercepts with 6 on the season. While the Defence might have a, ‘bend-don’t-break,’ approach, it has cost them games throughout the season. Failing to secure turnovers, or pressure Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz, will make it tough for the Cowboys’ to control the game.
Philadelphia Eagles: How They’ll Win or Lose
In contrast to the Cowboys, the Eagles have one of the best run Defences in the league, allowing a little over 90 yards per game. The secondary has been porous in several games. But it is still among the middle of the pack in yards allowed and intercepts. Against this Dallas team, it’s hard to know which side has the upper hand. While Dak Prescott has a great chance to shred the secondary, he will be under fire most of the game and can’t rely on his running attack to take some of the heat.
However, the Eagles Offense has been mediocre, averaging 352.9 yards per game, placing them 15th overall. This is in large part to their weak rushing attack, which is third worst in the league. Their RBs Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, and mid-season addition Jay Ajayi, have had good games, but rarely week to week. Complicating matters is the injuries sustained at the Wide Receiver position, with big names DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor all injured. Although they have two dynamic Tight Ends, the Offense is struggling to score points. All in all, signs point to the Eagles struggling to keep up with the Cowboys.
As stated above, the Eagles need to not only win this week, but win in Week 17 too. While they have the New York Giants, and should be able to win if they are a playoff team, it’s far from a done deal in what could be QB Eli Manning’s last game. Alternatively, the Cowboys lock up a division title with a win, regardless of what happens the week after.
Whichever team does it will be the fourth seed. Although they will get a home playoff game, they’ll be hard pushed to win it. But sometimes all it takes is having that chance. After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it. And it seems as though the Cowboys will be the ones to do it.