Who wants control of the NFC East?
Of course there are still four more weeks of action in the aftermath, but head-to-head fixtures are imperative, especially for two playoff contenders.
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The Cowboys are still seeking their first signature win of the season having narrowly beaten the then-6-5 Seattle Seahawks 41-35 at home. Philadelphia, on the other hand, are coming off a blowout 42-19 loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers after grinding out some tough results.
Can Dallas make the NFC East -- and the NFC as a whole -- race more riveting? Or will the Eagles fly once again? These six players could very well decide the game:
QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Yeah, here we go. Prescott has been in the league eight seasons. He's battle tested. But how many decisive battles has he won? You have to give him credit for his numbers in the reverse fixture in November, but quarterbacks are ultimately judged by wins and losses, especially in the big games. If Prescott wants to legitimize himself in the MVP discourse, delivering a win in this one will most definitely help.
QB Jalen Hurts, Eagles
If the Eagles want to bury Dallas' 14-game winning streak at home, they'll need a bounce-back game from their star quarterback. Hurts posted his worst completion percentage of the season versus San Francisco, a game in which he often had to scramble and find his targets on last-ditch throws.
That won't be a recipe of success against a sturdy Dallas defense that ranks seventh in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), a useful method in evaluating team strength. For comparison's sake, the Eagles' offense ranks seventh, too. May the best unit win.
LB Micah Parsons, Cowboys
Spearheading Dallas' defense is star linebacker Parsons, who has logged 11.5 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and two passes defended, among other statistics, thus far in 2023. They all factor into him being in the Defensive Player of the Year, a recognition not yet penned into his resume. But if he wants to keep building his momentum toward his first, there's no better time than to stand out versus Hurts and Co.
LB Shaq Leonard, Eagles
Haason Reddick would've gotten the nod here due to his 9.5 sacks and game-changing abilities, but instead it's the new man on the block. The Eagles picked up free agent linebacker Shaq Leonard following his release from the Indianapolis Colts a few weeks back. The 28-year-old is a three-time All-Pro, but injuries have diminished his strengths despite still being in his prime. How much can he boost an Eagles defense that ranks 21st in DVOA? Leonard having some gas in the tank left could be significant, though it shouldn't be counted on.
K Brandon Aubrey (Cowboys), Jake Elliott (Eagles)
The last two meetings -- dating back to last season -- ended in a single-possession game. In the scenario that happens again -- it very well could given their respective qualities -- the two kickers in play could be paramount.
Looking first at Dallas, Brandon Aubrey has been perfect in his first NFL season. The 28-year-old former professional soccer player is a perfect 26 of 26 on field goal attempts, with a long of 58. But he's 36 of 39 (92.3%) on extra points.
Jake Elliott of Philly is 21 of 23 on field goals (91.3%), with a long of 61. The seventh-year pro is 34 of 35 (97.1%) on extra points. Are either of them due for a miss?