The Dallas Cowboys beat the Los Angeles Rams and now take on the Philadelphia Eagles. 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 16.
1. Can the Running Game Keep it up?
Against the Rams, the Cowboys had two 100-yard rushers, as Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard went off. Elliot grinded out yards, while Pollard broke out for some big runs. The Cowboys are at their best when they run the ball well, but they haven’t been able to consistently run well this year.
It won’t be so easy to run the ball against the Eagles. Philadelphia ranks third in the league in rushing yards per game allowed. This is partially because the Eagles can be attacked through the air, but the Cowboys will need to control the clock to win the game, which includes running the football well.
2. Amari Cooper
While the running game needs to be on for the Cowboys to win, they will also need their star wide receiver to step up. Against the Rams, Cooper had just one catch for 19 yards. He will have an opportunity to have a big game against the Eagles.
The Eagles have a pretty bad secondary this season and can be exposed. Last time the Cowboys played the Eagles, Cooper had five receptions for 106 yards. Cooper could do even better in this contest, which would help the Cowboys clinch the playoffs.
3. Will the Cowboys Play Complementary Football Again?
When asked about the team’s performance against the Rams, Dak Prescott said that the team played complementary football. He was right about that notion, as they used the running game to set up the pass and really had a great gameplan. That hasn’t happened in a lot of games this season, so it will be important to keep that going against the Eagles.
With the Eagles being better against the run than the pass, this might mean the Cowboys need to throw on first down more to spread the defense out. They can still run the ball effectively, but it would be much easier once the Philadelphia defense was more focused on the pass. Then they can change it up and keep the Eagles’ defense on their toes. Complementary football can work when executed properly.
4. Sean Lee
For a lot of this season, Sean Lee has looked well past his prime. He has been forced to play more snaps as of late with Leighton Vander Esch being out with his neck injury. While it hasn’t always been pretty, Lee has had some good moments and can be a key in this game.
Last time the Cowboys played the Eagles, Lee tied for the team lead with seven tackles. Against the Rams, Lee came up with a big interception to help the Cowboys keep their foot on the gas. Lee will need to be productive and lead the defense again to help secure the win and a playoff berth.
5. Jourdan Lewis’ Usage
It seems like every game Jourdan Lewis makes a big play, the Cowboys win. Lewis has come up big in just about every way possible ranging from sacks to touchdowns. If the Cowboys use him right against the Eagles, they should be able to win.
Lewis can help limit the struggling Philadelphia offense, as Carson Wentz has not had his best season. If he can help force turnovers and make plays, the Cowboys will be able to hold the Eagles to under 20 or so points.