This weekend is the first time this season the Eagles will face the Dallas Cowboys, but the only thing that seems to be on Eagles fans' minds is the state of the team's defense, which has been erratic to say the least. There is hope though for them as they head down south for the Sunday Night showdown. There is a weakness in the Cowboys that has already given them trouble -- Dak Prescott.
Prescott cannot handle pressure. When up against the New York Jets last weekend, Jamal Adams blitzed Prescott a few times, which made Prescott's quarterback rating go all the way down to 89.3. Blitzing him all game long was how the Jets were able to make him look like the average quarterback he really is, as he didn't having a single passing touchdown. In his previous game against the Green Bay Packers, Prescott managed an 83.8 quarterback rating and threw for three interceptions. Then against the New Orleans Saints, he had a season-low of 73.2. The point is that the only games Prescott has had a quarterback rating over 90 were against teams that have not been able to penetrate the offensive line to cause him to make quick decisions. So far through 2019, Prescott has face the blitz 50 times, leading to 22 QB hits and 15 hurries.
The Eagles need to make sure their defensive line gets off to a fast start when they take the field Sunday Night. Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz needs to get creative and bring the heat to the struggling Prescott right from the start. Brandon Graham has been stepping up lately with four sacks the past two weeks, but after him there has been a severe drop-off in production. With the depth at defensive tackle taking a hit with the loss of Malik Jackson and Timmy Jernigan, it is forcing a lot of playing time from back-up quality players. Recently I did an article about how Fletcher Cox is feeling healthy and dangerous. Well, Cox, it's time to earn that paycheck. If given the chance, the Cowboys offensive line will exploit those weak links on the Eagles defensive line and give Prescott the time he needs to throw the ball downfield. If the defensive line allows him to get comfortable early then fans might be in for a long and frustrating game.
The best games the Eagles have had so far this season were when the defensive line created pressure, but they have not been able to create that consistently through 2019 so far. They really need to prove that they can play at a consistently violent and disruptive capacity throughout the whole season, especially after the terrible loss to the Vikings. Creating problems for Prescott will also give much-needed help to the secondary, which has basically been unbearable to watch. Getting into the backfield often on Sunday will possibly help the secondary nab some interceptions and add to Prescott's six he has already threw this season (which are the 6th-most in the NFL).
This is a must-win for the Eagles so they can take over the NFC East and not look back. Whether or not they will be able to do that will depend on the defensive line on Sunday Night.