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Cowboys vs Eagles preview: Fast facts about the Week 16 game

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By: Dave Halprin

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys and Eagles have some real similarities in stats this season.

It’s almost time for the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles to mix it up on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, this game comes with lowered expectations in a unique week. The Cowboys were early gift-givers when they delivered a big fat ‘W’ to the Jaguars. In return, they got some coal from the fanbase. Then everybody was pumped up to see what the two teams, the Cowboys and the Eagles, would look like against each other, but Jalen Hurts got hurt. More coal.

The Cowboys went from 1-point favorites to the current 4.5-point favorites (DraftKings Sportsbook) based on Hurts’ injury. So the game has certainly taken on a different feel. But it is still Cowboys and Eagles, so let’s go.

These two franchises have met 127 times over the years, with the first one in 1960 when the Cowboys lost to the Eagles, 27-25. Dallas holds an overall advantage in the regular season, 69-54. They also have a 3-1 advantage when it comes to playoff games. They met in the 2009 Wild Card Game, 1992 Divisional Game, 1995 Divisional Game and the 1980 Conference Championship Game. The Cowboys lost that 1980 game, but won the other three.

Of course the last time these two franchises got together, it was the Cowboys who were playing a backup quarterback. Cooper Rush had gone 4-0 but struggled against Philly in Week 6 of this season, with the Cowboys losing 26-17.

Now Dak is back, and in some ways he’s playing very well. The Cowboys are one of the highest scoring teams around with Dak under center, and they convert third downs, score in the red zone, they do a lot well. Of course, everyone knows about the high interception rate from Prescott.

Some of those interceptions have been the result of Prescott getting pressured with defenders hitting his arm, back, or not allowing him to follow through. That could be big this week. The Eagles lead the NFL in sacks at 55 and generate pressure all game. Fortunately for Dallas, even though the offensive line is not rated highly in pass blocking, Dak Prescott saves them. He only gets sacked on 4.1% of his dropbacks, good for fourth in the league. Dak will have to avoid sacks and interceptions this week.

The game will be played at AT&T Stadium, where the Cowboys have won their last six NFC East games played. That is tied for the best streak currently in the NFL.

The Cowboys and the Eagles have some similar stats in certain areas. As mentioned, Philly leads the NFL in sacks (55), the Cowboys are second with 49. The Eagles are the leaders in turnover margin at +12, the Cowboys are second at +9. Dallas leads the league in takeaways at 26, the Eagles are second at 25.

Dallas is third in scoring average at 28.1, the Eagles are second at 29.4 points per game. The Eagles defense is sixth in points allowed (19.1), while the Cowboys are tied for seventh at 19.2 points per game allowed. The Eagles lead the league in passing yards allowed at 172.4 per game, while Dallas is third (191.6).

The difference in record really seems to be the Cowboys inability to close out close games, while the Eagle have been handling their business in that regard. The overtime losses to the Packers and the Jaguars being the real problem for Dallas in regards to keeping pace with the Eagles. In close games against inferior opponents like the Jaguars, the Cardinals, the Bears etc. the Eagles come out on top.

The one area of the Eagles defense that the Cowboys might be able to exploit is their run defense. They are about as bad as Dallas in volume yards given up. Dallas is 24th in the league giving up 133.1 yards per game on average, and the Eagles are 19th with 121.1 yards per game. But the Eagles give that up on fewer rushing attempts. They average giving up 4.7 yards per attempt, eighth-worst in the league. Dallas in ninth-worst at 4.6 yards per attempt.

Dallas will have its full arsenal of weapons in their rushing game, while the Eagles will be missing their second-leading rusher in Jalen Hurts.

Here are how some Cowboys have traditionally done against the Eagles.

Trevon Diggs has four interceptions in four games versus the Eagles, one of those returned for a touchdown.

Ezekiel Elliott has averaged 95 rushing yards per game for 11 games. He also has five rushing touchdowns. Zeke had 81 yards rushing and a touchdown in Week 6.

Dak Prescott has a record of 7-3 as a starter against the Eagles. He is 214 for 322 on passes (66.6%) and has 16 touchdown with seven interceptions.

Originally posted on Blogging The Boys