Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 9 Preview, Prediction


It’s Dallas week.

The Philadelphia Eagles will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys for the final time this season in a primetime Sunday Night Football matchup and, for both teams, this can very well be the game that decides their fate for the 2015 season. The Cowboys are 2-5 and the Eagles are 3-4. Neither team has been especially good this year and to keep any inkling of playoff hopes alive, this game is essential for both squads.

For the Eagles, Sam Bradford needs to show up and so do his receivers. Bradford has been as inconsistent as just about any quarterback in the league this season, but against the Carolina Panthers last week, he was able to minimize his sporadic play. A huge reason why Bradford didn’t throw for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns against the Panthers was the atrocious play of his receivers, who dropped seven balls in the contest.

For the Eagles to have any chance of beating Dallas those receivers must play better. Philadelphia currently ranks third in drops this season with a drop percentage of 6.6 on 273 targets.

No bueno.

In particular, Jordan Matthews has been especially off. In seven games, he has accounted for six drops and has come nothing close to the player many were expecting coming out of the preseason. He is one of Bradford’s favorite targets and for the offense to properly function, Matthews’ hands will need to show up.

But possibly the most important task the Eagles will need to achieve is containing Dez Bryant. He may not be totally healthy after suffering a fracture in his foot in Week 1, but in no circumstances should Bryant ever be discounted. He is arguably the best receiver in the game and if he has himself a night on Sunday, Philadelphia could be in a bit of a pickle. Cornerback Byron Maxwell has been solid this season and the responsibility to keep Bryant in check will fall mostly on his shoulders. He will need to deliver for the Eagles to stand a chance. If Bryant can be cancelled out Sunday night, that will make things far easier for the rest of the Philly defense.

Philadelphia’s front seven is elite. The Cowboys are still without quarterback Tony Romo and just released the shifty Joseph Randle, leaving Darren McFadden as the top dog in the backfield. While McFadden is dangerous, the Eagles were able to contain him in the Week 2 matchup against Dallas. The Cowboys’ offensive line is undoubtedly special, but contrary to popular belief, a top offensive line won’t always lead to wins. Philly’s defense will be swarming Sunday night.

This is a tough game to predict. Despite the incompetent Matt Cassel being the Cowboys’ man under center, the return of Dez Bryant automatically makes the Dallas offense a threat, but whether or not he is completely healthy is a bit of a mystery. For now, I am going to assume that Bryant is still dealing with the after effects of the ailment and will, for the most part, be a non-factor Sunday night, resulting in an Eagles win in Dallas.

Prediction: Eagles 17, Cowboys 16

Next: Eagles Fantasy Football Preview: Week9

More from Inside the Iggles