The Philadelphia Eagles clinched the NFC’s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the postseason on Christmas night, but the team hasn’t looked the part in narrow victories over non-playoff-bound teams. The Eagles aim to give the fickle faithful at Lincoln Financial Field reason for optimism heading into the playoffs in the regular-season finale against the rival Dallas Cowboys.
Philadelphia, which is the top scoring team in football, looked out of sorts by mustering just 13 points and 216 total yards on offense while going 1-for-14 on third-down conversions against what has been a forgiving defense in Oakland last week. “I didn’t play good enough,” quarterback Nick Foles said on the heels of a 19-10 win over the Raiders. “I have to play cleaner and, obviously, play better. Third down is a big thing with a quarterback: pinpoint accuracy, making good decisions. I’ll look at the film. I’ll improve.” Dak Prescott sang a similar tune while placing the results of his sophomore campaign against those of last season, when he received NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. “Having a first year like I did, I think you almost want to take things for granted,” Prescott said. “And then you come in the second year and a lot of things just go against you and it’s tough. On the field, off the field — you have to battle through it, and I feel like I’ve done that. I’ve given my all, I’ll learn from it and get better.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -3. O/U: 39.5
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (8-7): Prescott’s low point this season came in a disastrous outing against Philadelphia in a 37-9 rout on Nov. 19, in which he threw a career-high three interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown on his way to a personal-worst 30.4 passer rating. Prescott saw his fifth multi-interception game come to fruition on Sunday, with Justin Coleman returning the ball 30 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s 21-12 win that ended both Dallas’ three-game winning streak and any slim chance for the playoffs. Ezekiel Elliott returned from a six-game suspension with 97 yards on 24 carries on Sunday, moving him within 120 of joining Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett as the only running backs in franchise history to begin their careers with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
ABOUT THE EAGLES (13-2): Tight end Zach Ertz has recorded 27 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns in his last four games and figures to be busy for however long he plays on Sunday as Philadelphia attempts to re-establish its offensive rhythm. “I don’t think we’re in panic mode by any means,” the 27-year-old Ertz said. “I think we’ve got a lot of good players on the team and I think we have a lot of guys with a lot of pride that are going to figure this thing out.” Ertz reeled in 13 catches for 139 yards and two scores in his last home game versus Dallas, although he had just two catches for eight yards in the first meeting this season. Alshon Jeffery had a touchdown reception in that encounter and found the end zone seven times in seven games before being held without a catch on two targets versus the Raiders last week.
1. Philadelphia QB Nate Sudfeld is expected to receive his first action of the season after Foles and the rest of the starters depart.
2. Dallas LB Sean Lee has 41 of his team-leading 93 tackles in the last three games.
3. Eagles rookie DE Derek Barnett had two sacks and a forced fumble in the first encounter versus the Cowboys.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 21, Eagles 13