In week 8 the Dallas Cowboys travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. Both teams have underperformed this season but still remain optimistic.
With the Cowboys 2-5 and the Eagles 2-4-1, this game is for the battle for first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys couldn’t get anything going on offense in their loss to Washington, will things be different in this game with a third-string rookie quarterback?
Here are three keys to the game for the Dallas Cowboys against the Eagles in week 8.
[Related: Ben DiNucci Player Profile]
Stop Carson Wentz
The Cowboys’ defense hasn’t been able to stop opposing quarterbacks all season long. Last week, Kyle Allen played arguably his best game of the season against Dallas. He threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 111.1 (ninth-best in week 7).
Now the Cowboys come into this matchup with the Eagles facing a red-hot Carson Wentz. Wentz has been better as of late.
In Wentz’s first four games this season, he had four touchdowns and seven interceptions with a passer rating of 66.9. These were not Wentz like numbers.
However, in his past three games, he has improved drastically. He has six touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions. He also has a passer rating of 84.4 and averages 50 more passing yards per game.
With Wentz improving in the right direction as the season progresses, that could mean bad news for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have to contain Wentz especially from getting outside the pocket, where he creates plays.
Dallas has been the worst defense historically this season. They are allowing 34.7 points per game this season.
Nonetheless, with the Eagles’ offensive line in shambles, the Cowboys have to get pressure on Wentz and force someone else to beat them.
Score on the Opening Drive
This might seem like a given, but this is much needed for the Dallas Cowboys this week.
Ben DiNucci, a rookie quarterback taken in the seventh round, will most likely get his first NFL start of the season. Andy Dalton hasn’t practiced on Wednesday or Thursday, so it’s looking like DiNucci is the clear favorite to start for the Cowboys on Sunday night.
Starting a rookie in his first career start is going to be a difficult feat for the Cowboys. However, they have to score first.
If they can score first, that not only puts the Eagles in a bad spot but also gives the Cowboys offense the confidence that they need.
In the past two games, the Cowboys have scored a combined 13 points. They have scored less than 10 points in consecutive games for the first time since 2017 when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended.
DiNucci’s nerves on the big stage will be present. As a result, the Cowboys have to put together a fantastic opening drive to let his nerves settle down.
The Cowboys’ opening drive can prove to be the most important drive of the game for them.
The lack of picks for the Cowboys is a problem.
They only have one interception through the first seven games of the season. Their only interception came in week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. Their one interception through seven weeks is tied for the fewest in the NFL. This is also the fewest through seven games in Cowboys’ history.
Nevertheless, this is the most promising matchup for the Cowboys in terms of potential interceptions. Their opponent Wentz has thrown the most interceptions in the league (10).
There has only been one game this season in which Wentz didn’t throw an interception (week 6 against the Ravens). Additionally, he has thrown multiple interceptions in four of seven games.
Last season in two games against the Cowboys, Wentz threw only one interception.
Although the Cowboys defense is historically terrible in multiple categories, Wentz’s decision-making proves to be a solid matchup for the Cowboys in terms of interceptions.
If the Cowboys can force Wentz to throw 1-2 interceptions, they will be in business.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Sharp Football Analysis