Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles: Quick Game Preview

The Dallas Cowboys take on the Eagles in Philadelphia this Sunday. And although the result will not matter in the end, how long the starters play will.

The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in the regular season finale on Sunday. The Cowboys took game one of the season series back during the Halloween weekend in what could have been the most thrilling game of the season.

These two teams are in different places than they were just two months ago, with the Eagles only winning two games since Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott famously found veteran tight end Jason Witten in the end zone to win that first matchup back on October 30th.

Unfortunately, there probably won’t be a more meaningless game in the NFL this weekend. Since the Eagles clinched the number one seed for the Cowboys last week when they took down the New York Giants, Dallas doesn’t have anything to play for until the second round of the playoffs. However, the Cowboys showed Monday night that they don’t plan to rest their starters, with Prescott playing every offensive snap in a 42-21 blowout over the Detroit Lions.

Despite being well out of the playoff picture, the Eagles have no reason to tank. Their first round pick belongs to the Cleveland Browns thanks to the Carson Wentz trade, so losing this game doesn’t really help them in the future. However, that was likely never on the table as there is a disdain between these two teams that the players even get in on.

Last season Eagles defensive lineman Bennie Logan referred to the Cowboys offensive line, widely regarded as the best in the league, as “nothing special.” This is after the Eagles signed former Cowboy DeMarco Murray as well as previous spats between Dez Bryant and Malcolm Jenkins. These two teams simply dislike each other, and their fans are no different.

Perhaps the biggest storyline to watch in this game will be how much do the starters play, especially with Ezekiel Elliott within striking distance of Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record. Some fans may want to see Zeke get the opportunity to get his name in the record books, but look for the coaching staff to play it smart and get him out of the game if it’s one-sided in order to preserve him for a playoff run.

As for the Eagles, the main thing they’re looking for is progress from the quarterback position. Not all teams can be blessed to find a stud quarterback in the fourth round, and the Eagles traded the farm for Wentz who has been less than stellar in his rookie season. The second overall pick started off pretty hot, but in the eight games since he played in Dallas, he’s thrown five touchdowns to 11 interceptions, including nine picks in his last six games.

While this game may not affect any playoff seeding or even the draft order, this game is noteworthy because it is likely Tony Romo’s last regular season game in a Cowboy uniform. There were rumblings of him getting some reps in Monday’s win over the Lions, but he remained on the sideline. Look for him to stay there this week barring an injury to Dak Prescott.

Aside from Zeke’s outside shot at the rookie rushing record, a record he likely won’t get enough playing time to break, the biggest intrigue of this week’s game is simply how much the starters play. The Cowboys have been adamant that they will play a decent amount in these last two games, but they may sing a different tune after Tyron Smith’s injury last Monday. The team would be wise to give most starters some time off to be at 100% for the beginning of the NFC playoffs.

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