With just two weeks to play in the NFL’s regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys remain deadlocked atop the NFC East standings ahead of their Week 16 showdown at The Linc. Philadelphia looks to avenge a 37-10 road defeat at the hands of the Cowboys from Week 7 by beating them on Sunday and taking control of the NFC East with one week left in the season.
While both sides expected to have more than seven wins apiece at this stage in the season, the only concern now for Philly is winning the final home game of 2019 against a bitter rival – one that will give the victor a clear path to the playoffs.
“It’s definitely a big game,” Wentz said Wednesday,” Wentz said. “We know the situation. We know what’s going on. At the same time, we’re treating it as another game. But we’re aware of everything.”
For the Green & White to get their revenge, Wentz will need to look for Zach Ertz early and often as he has the last several weeks. The reliable tight end has been Carson’s best pass-catcher all season as Wentz’s wide receiver core has fallen victim to a bevy of injuries.
And Ertz has shown up big when his number has been called. On the season, Zach has reeled in 84 receptions for 888 yards and 6 scores, three of which have come in his last two games. As a result, Ertz was selected to his third-consecutive NFC Pro Bowl roster. Currently, he leads all NFC tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Although No. 86 was limited to just two grabs for 38 yards in their first matchup with Dallas this year, Zach has fared well against America’s Team in recent years to the tune of nearly 140 receiving yards and two touchdowns on two separate occasions, once in 2016 and once last year. He will likely be a go-to target for Wentz on Sunday, especially with injuries to several key pass catchers for the Eagles.
That said, Philadelphia has seen success from young, eager players, such as receiver Greg Ward Jr. and running backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. While the trio are all very early in their NFL careers, they have brought a high level of energy and are earning the trust of their on-field leader and signal caller.
“That’s really been the culture around here since I’ve been here: When guys do go down, leaders have got to step up and make sure everyone is coming along and everyone is excited and prepared as they should be, and instilling belief in the guys around them,” Wentz said. “That just kind of comes with the territory and I have seen a lot of guys doing a really good job of that.”
Speaking of Wentz, he has proven to be lights-out when the game is coming down to the wire, when pressure is at its highest. In the final quarter of last week’s game in Washington, he went 11-for-11 for 89 yards and two TDs. On the go-ahead scoring drive, Wentz was a perfect 8-for-8.
During the season as a whole, Carson has been equally impressive. Wentz ranks eighth in QBR (62.6) and seventh in touchdown passes (25). He has thrown 18 touchdowns with no interceptions in the red zone for a 104.2 rating, and he has executed brilliantly on third down with 11 TD throws – second only to Derek Carr (13).
Defensively, Philly must limit the Cowboys’ two biggest offensive weapons – Ezekiel Elliott, who had 111 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Amari Cooper, who accounted for 106 receiving yards in their contest earlier this year. Additionally, Elliott averages just shy of 115 rushing yards per game in his career against Philly, while Cooper averages nearly 133 receiving yards per game against the Eagles since 2018-19. Shutting down these offensive threats will be key in ending Dallas’ four-game winning streak against Philadelphia and taking control of the division.
Kickoff from The Linc is set for 4:25 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on FOX.