The 5 Numbers That Tell the Story of The Eagles Beating the Cowboys
6-0. That is the first number that matters the most. The Eagles head into their bye week the lone undefeated team in the NFL after a tough but impressive win over the rival Cowboys. Only two other teams in the NFC have 5 wins, and most of their supposed toughest competition in the NFC are already at 3 losses. But how did the Eagles beat the Cowboys to get here? Let’s look at the 5 numbers that tell that story.
I bring it up every week, and I am going to keep bringing it up. The Eagles were +3 in the turnover battle against the Cowboys. That is 6 straight weeks where they won the turnover battle. CJ Gardner-Johnson picked off Cooper Rush twice, and Darius Slay added one of his one. James Bradberry did not get any picks, but he got his hands on multiple balls. One of his pass deflections landed in the hands of CJ Gardner Johnson. It is worth mentioning that Cooper Rush entered the game with no interceptions. All they talked about with him is how good he was at protecting the ball. But not last night.
But perhaps more importantly, the Eagles protected the ball. No interceptions. They fumbled it once on a botched snap but fell on the ball to prevent the turnover. This team only has two turnovers all year. No other team has less than 4. This team has 14 takeaways. The most in the league. At +12 they have by far the best turnover differential in the league. The next best team is at +4. They are far and away the best team at winning that battle. And teams that win that battle, often find themselves playing into February.
Coming into the game, Micah Parsons had at least one Qb pressure in every half he played this season. He had 0 in the first half. Lane Johnson shut Parsons down. It is something no Offensive Lineman has been able to do. Except for Lane. Now when Lane left with a head injury, Parsons began to take over. Jack Driscoll put up an admirable effort, but expecting him to contain perhaps the best pass rusher in the league was an unfair ask. But when they had Lane in there, the job got done.
It is not a question anymore. Lane Johnson is the best RT in the league and has a claim to best Tackle overall. It has often been Jason Kelce, or Jason peters when he was here who got all the praise along the line. But right now, no one on that line, and perhaps on this team, is playing better than Lane Johnson. Hopefully, the bye week gives him time to get healthy. Because the Eagles need him.
In the 4th quarter, things looked dire. The Cowboys stormed back to make it 20-17. The defense was shuffling, and the offense hadn’t done anything all half. But just like they did last week against the Cardinals, the Eagles manufactured a long scoring drive just when they needed to. They took 7:37 off the clock and got into the endzone, to make it a two-score game with not a ton of time left to go.
This team has proven itself capable of two types of drives. They have now produced long scoring drives in two straight games. And before that, they produced short-scoring drives in 4 straight games. They have not had to do it at the end of a game yet, because they have never trailed in the second half of a game. But in 4 opportunities with 2 minutes to go before halftime, they marched down the field to tack onto the score. The fact the Eagles can do both is an incredible sign for this offense.
There was so much praise coming into this game for the Cowboys’ defense. We were told that they were elite. Perhaps the best in the league. No team had scored more than 20 points on them, and the most anyone managed was 19. Well, the Eagles scored 26. 7 more points than any other team in the league managed. The Buccaneers could score 20. Nor could the Rams. Neither could the Giants, the Bengals, or the Commanders. But the Eagles did.
Did they get the benefit of a few short fields? Yes. But as we established that is something the Eagles can do often. But they also produced two long scoring drives against this vaunted Cowboys defense. A lot of that is due to just how good this team is at running the ball. They can run it on literally anyone. And they ran it right at Micah Parsons for much of the game, and they won that battle more times than not. This is a very good offense. If they can score on this defense, they can score on anyone.
In their final 11 games, they face only 5 teams who currently have a winning record. The Cowboys again, the Giants twice, the Titans, and the Colts. Besides that, they face 6 more teams that are .500 or worse, though that includes the Packers. You could argue they have at most 4 tough games left on their schedule, Outside the Giants and Cowboys, their remaining opponents are 18-26-2 (.391). The Giants and the second Cowboys game may be tough. But other than them, it is a very manageable schedule. The Steelers, Texans, Commanders, Saints, Bears, Colts, and Titans are games that on paper, they should roll in. They play the Packers in Philly, and they have not looked good at all.
I am not saying 17-0. There is probably going to be a letdown game. Only two teams have won every regular season game, and I can’t say this is one of the 3 best teams ever. But 14-3? That is looking more and more attainable. The Eagles have a very good chance to control the top seed in the NFC through to the playoffs. And who knows? Maybe they can go 17-0 They will at least be favored in every game they play.
Bonus Stat- 95.1%
In the expansion era, 1990 until now, 41 teams have started the season 6-0. Only two managed to miss the playoffs. 95.1% of teams that win their first 6 games make the playoffs. The question is no longer to make the playoffs or not. They are making it. It is all about winning the conference now. That is the expectation.