By Shawn Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys head into the final game of the 2016 NFL regular season with nothing on the line. But they also had nothing to gain last weekend against the Detroit Lions. Still, Dallas played all their starters and refused to let up against Detroit. They now head to Philly to face their heated division rival Eagles on the road, and while Dallas would like a win, they also have to protect their starters for the playoffs. Here is a look at the Philadelphia Eagles as the regular season comes to an end.
Philadelphia Eagles Season Record
When the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles played earlier in the season, the NFC East was still on the line. If the Eagles had won that game, they would have taken the lead in the NFC East. However, Dallas won a close game in overtime, 29-23, and the Cowboys never looked back. The Eagles are now 6-9 and in last place in the NFC East, eliminated completely from playoff contention.
Philadelphia Eagles On Offense
When the Cowboys and Eagles played last, the big talk was on the two rookie quarterbacks. Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott were both playing well and some wondered which player was the better pick. It was also the start of what should be a great rivalry over the years. In that game, Wentz threw for 202 yards and one touchdown while Prescott threw for 287 yards with two touchdowns and the first interception of his NFL career.
Heading into the last game of the regular season, Dak Prescott is a Pro Bowl player and Dallas is on the way to the playoffs. Wentz has completed a very good rookie campaign, although not on the level of Prescott. Wentz has thrown for 3,537 yards with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the season. He is the only real weapon for an Eagles offense that has lost six of eight games since that Cowboys overtime loss.
Philadelphia’s star in the backfield against Dallas was Darren Sproles, who ran for 86 yards on 15 carries. Last week, Sproles ran for 40 yards against the Giants after Ryan Mathews left the game with a stinger. Neither running back has done too much this season outside of bursts of action here and there, and neither have shown much consistency.
Philadelphia Eagles On Defense
The Eagles’ defense is the reason Philadelphia was competitive against a number of teams this season. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was masterful in turning this defense around. He has the Eagles ranked 18th in the NFL in total defense, but they are playing more aggressively than they did last year. They have 24 takeaways this season, 14 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries, and they did give Dak Prescott his first interception of his NFL career. The Cowboys will want to play their starters carefully, so this is where the Eagles can actually stand up to Dallas.
Philadelphia Eagles Players To Watch
Carson Wentz – In the last game between the two teams, Wentz looked solid and matched up well against Prescott. He has since started struggling with turning the ball over and will want to end the season on a high note.
Brandon Graham – The last thing in the world that Dallas needs is to lose Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott to injury. Graham is a stud on defense, with 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for a loss this season. He also has two forced fumbles and one recovery as well.
This is a game that the Dallas Cowboys could win if they play their starters for three quarters. While the Cowboys are likely to rest Ezekiel Elliott, they do have Darren McFadden back. They could pull Prescott, but don’t expect Tony Romo to play with Tyron Smith possibly sitting out. The Philadelphia Eagles can win this game because of the Cowboys’ possible reluctance to risk injury. Don’t expect a Cowboys blowout here and don’t be surprised if the Eagles win.