It won’t be long now! Perhaps you’ve heard? The undefeated Philadelphia Eagles have a game to play. It’s scheduled for primetime on Sunday Night Football, and the opponent is one of the three teams Birds fans most despise. Depending on who you ask, it is the most hated of the 31 other NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys.
Ahead of this one, we went behind enemy lines to hang out with Lauren Barash, editor of The Landry Hat, FanSided’s home for all things related to that team in Texas often erroneously referred to as America’s Team (we get sick every time we say that).
She was nice enough to allow us to pick her brain and ask a few questions. Below are some of the results from that conversation.
Questions and answers with a Cowboys wiz ahead of the Eagles’ clash with Dallas.
We don’t get to sit and chat with our favorite University of Texas at Austin alumnus often. so when we do, discussions can go on for hours. Here are a few of the highlights.
ITI: What’s the vibe in Cowboy land? How does the Dallas faithful feel about the Cooper Rush vs Dak Prescott argument?
Lauren Barash: The vibes in Cowboys Nation are shockingly good. I don’t think anyone expected this team to be 4-1 after what we watched in the Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay. This team is truly taking all the adversity it’s facing and throwing it back at the doubters.
It’s been awesome to watch. As far as the Dak Prescott versus Cooper Rush conversation goes, it’s absolutely shocking to me how many people genuinely think Cooper Rush is a better quarterback than Dak Prescott. There seems to be an overall distaste (always, not just now) for Prescott and this is giving those people a heyday.
Look, Rush is making history. He’s doing great and looks far better than the average backup, but he’s still just that — a backup. I think the reason he’s remained in for so long is that he’s winning (mostly thanks to the defense). If its team was 2-3, Jerry Jones would’ve found a way to get Prescott back in.
ITI: What are the Cowboys’ biggest weaknesses on offense and defense?
Barash: The offense allows for a much easier task in picking a weakness, unfortunately. I would give this one to Tyler Biadasz. Many hoped the center would make a big jump in his third year, but he hasn’t looked great at all.
Rookie Tyler Smith is outshining him big time. Biadasz has certainly looked better than he did in 2021, but he still gets powered through sometimes and is certainly one of the weaker components of the offensive line.
Defensively, it’s incredibly hard to choose a weak spot. This defense is easily one of, if not, the top units in the NFL. Every single starter has made an impact in some way this season. If I had to, I guess I’d say Anthony Brown.
I really only say this because he had such a breakout year while getting overshadowed by Trevon Diggs last year, and this year he hasn’t made as much of a splash. Defensive backs like Donovan Wilson have stood out more to me.
ITI: Who are the guys that don’t get the national attention that the Eagles need to be aware of?
Barash: Offensively, I’d say Noah Brown and Tyler Smith. CeeDee Lamb is supposed to be this all-out WR1 this year, and while he has been good, he’s had plenty of drops and mistakes.
Noah Brown fought his way onto this roster and has done great work with Cooper Rush. Rookie Tyler Smith was someone fans and analysts heavily questioned as the Cowboys’ No. 24 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Sure, he struggled 1:1 against Aaron Donald last week, but name a veteran who doesn’t struggle against Donald. Smith was thrown into the left tackle position after longtime Pro Bowler and All-Pro Tyron Smith got hurt. Despite playing left guard all of summer, the rookie has adapted and has played very well so far.
With a defense this strong, there are backups who are great athletes. Rookie cornerback DaRon Bland filled in for an injured Jourdan Lewis against the Commanders and did incredibly well, securing an interception to help the Cowboys win. Rookie DE Sam Williams is also a guy who is improving each and every week. The big guy out of Ole Miss has made the most of his chances on the field.
ITI: What’s your prediction for the game?
Lauren Barash: This is tough. Two weeks ago, I would’ve said Eagles by 20. Now, I think the Cowboys have enough momentum to make this game close.
There’s no denying that the Eagles are a different and impressive team this year. They clearly have what it takes to beat the Cowboys, but a primetime game under the bright lights and the pressure means anything can happen.
I think this game will be closer than we all expect with the Cowboys’ defense making Jalen Hurts’ life incredibly hard for him. To me, the Cowboys will lose because the offense just hasn’t been strong or prolific enough, and the Eagles bring a strong defense. I think this one, sadly, ends in a 21-17 Eagles W.