Eagles-Cowboys: 3 matchups to watch in divisional clash
The Eagles (2-4-1) find themselves in front of a prime-time audience for the second consecutive week. This week, they will play host to the divisional foe Dallas Cowboys (2-5) on Sunday Night Football.
While both teams are leaking oil in key areas, it is evident that the Cowboys are dealing with significant internal turmoil, and an inevitable implosion is looming.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are riding high off an encouraging second-half surge that ultimately sunk the New York Giants in the waning moments. As the team begins to get healthier, we will soon learn whether the comeback victory was a galvanizing win or merely an enigma.
Without further ado, let's examine my three matchups to watch.
WR Travis Fulgham vs. CB Trevon Diggs
Last week, Diggs struggled with the route running prowess of Terry McLaurin. The fluidity of McLaurin's movements and subtleties of his patterns put the rookie cornerback in a blender, and he appears to abandon his technique and fall into bad habits. This week, Diggs will match up with the red-hot Travis Fulgham.
While Fulgham and McLaurin offer varying skill sets, both players represent challenges for different reasons. The rangy Fulgham has given defensive backs fits with his refined route running, ability to win in contested-catch situations, and knack for attacking the catch-point.
Seven games into his career, Diggs has proven himself as a talented, albeit raw, prospect who will suffer occasional mental lapses.
Fulgham's yielded 34 targets over the past three weeks. Even with the return of two prominent offensive reinforcements, Carson Wentz will likely continue to go to the well early and often.
DT Javon Hargrave vs. Dallas interior offensive line
Heralded as one of the better offseason additions across the league, the Eagles have yet to yield a return on their sizable investment. Sure, Hargrave suffered a pec injury that robbed him of precious weeks of preparation in training camp, as well as the season-opener. The argument could be made that Hargrave was finding his footing the first few games. However, the 27-year-old has just seven tackles, a sack, and two quarterback hits in six games.
With Malik Jackson coming off a quad injury and Hassan Ridgeway lost for the season with a biceps injury, now is the time for Hargrave to deliver. His mere presence alleviates double teams for Fletcher Cox, but against a banged-up Cowboys interior, Hargrave must push the pocket and make plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
CB Avonte Maddox vs. WR Michael Gallup
Maddox returns as the starter opposite Darius Slay after easing his way back from injury last week in a limited capacity. The 5-foot-9 Maddox figures to see a lot of the speedy Michael Gallup on Sunday night. Many, including myself, tabbed Gallup as a 2020 breakout candidate. While that has yet to happen through seven weeks, the talented Gallup has the skill set to win consistently on the outside and work all three levels of the field.
Gallup has the speed, catch radius, and body control to stretch the field, and with Slay expected to shadow Amari Cooper, I expect the Cowboys to test Maddox deep in the early goings.