The Dallas Cowboys need to get back on track with a win over the Eagles this week. With every game of the season there will be things to watch and pay attention to. Here are five things to watch for in week 7.
1. Will the Playcalling be Diverse?
The playcalling over the three-game losing streak has been inconsistent at its best and awful at its worst. There have been a lot of first-down runs, which make the offense very predictable. The play calls have set the team up for failure in the first half and makes the team play catch up in the second half, which is not a good strategy.
Against the Eagles, the Cowboys need to be aggressive all game. They should throw on first down and empty the playbook to get a win in this crucial division matchup. Kirk Cousins had a monster day against the Eagles last week as he threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. If the Cowboys are similarly aggressive, they will win the game.
2. The Start of the Game
This one goes hand in hand with the first point, but there is more than just playcalling that amounts to the slow starts. The playcalling just doesn’t help the situation. Dallas has come out flat in the first halves of games over the last few weeks. They have dropped passes and had other miscues that kill drives.
The energy going into this game needs to be high. It is a big divisional game that could be huge for both teams’ push to the playoffs. Things should be intensified because Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson has already guaranteed a win. Focus and energy, along with better playcalling, should allow Dallas to not have to play from behind.
3. The Wide Receivers
Dak Prescott had to make the most of his receivers against the Jets and did so in the second half. The Cowboys were without Randall Cobb to start the game and lost Amari Cooper early in the game to an injury. Other wide receivers stepped up, but the offense would have run more smoothly if the best players were on the field.
There is no word yet on whether Cooper or Cobb will play in week 8. If they do, the problems should be solved, as Cobb has been a quarterback friendly target and Cooper has had several big games to start the season. If they aren’t able to go in this game, Prescott will need to hope that players like Tavon Austin and Michael Gallup can beat the Eagles’ secondary.
4. Offensive Line Play
Against the Jets, the Cowboys had to reshuffle their offensive line. Tyron Smith and La’El Collins, the team’s two starting tackles were out. With players doing the best they could filling in, Prescott was under constant pressure. This definitely changed the outcome of the game, as Prescott wasn’t able to sit back and read the field and Ezekiel Elliot averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.
Injury reports will start to have more clarity at the end of the week. If Collins and Smith are back, it would really help the team. With them out, it will take players playing a lot better to give Prescott time in the pocket. The coaching staff will also have to come up with adjustments, such as getting the ball out of Prescott’s hands quickly or leaving tight ends in to chip pass rushers. Either way, the blocking needs to be better.
5. Jourdan Lewis’ Snap Count
For whatever reason, Jourdan Lewis has seen limited snaps this season. He saw the field more against the Jets and came up huge with an interception. This was huge for a team that has had trouble forcing turnovers all season long.
The Eagles will be looking to throw the ball a lot in this game. Their rushing offense has been inconsistent this season and over the last few years the team has relied on Carson Wentz passing the ball to move the chains. Lewis being on the field will help slow down the Eagles and he may even cause some turnovers in the process.