The Eagles enter Week 3 as one of the more intriguing teams in the NFC with a new quarterback and head coach duo in Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. They’ve flashed signs of potential on the offensive side of the ball in each of the first two weeks of the season, rolling the Falcons on the road in Week 1 and hanging with the 49ers, who will likely find themselves in the thick of the NFC playoff picture in December and January, in Week 2.
The Eagles are off a loss in their home opener, while the Cowboys enter the matchup off a win over the Chargers on the road. But when you dive into the box score and highlights, there’s a different story to be told ahead of this NFC East matchup.
The Eagles wasted several opportunities to put points on the board in the first half of their matchup with a very respectable 49ers defense.
Jalen Reagor had a 36-yard touchdown overturned late in the first quarter after he stepped out of bounds at the 5-yard line, and the 49ers blocked the ensuing field goal attempt three plays later. Hurts connected with Quez Watkins for a 91-yard gain on the following drive, but the Eagles turned the ball over on downs at the San Francisco 3-yard line after failing to capitalize on the monster gain. Two possessions later, the 49ers strung together a 12-play, 97-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-3 lead into halftime, managing a sequence in which they could have quickly found themselves down 17-0 late in the second quarter on the road had Reagor not stepped out of bounds and the Eagles found a way to punch the ball in from the 3-yard line.
Dallas meanwhile enters Week 3 off a 20-17 victory on the road against the LA Chargers. The Chargers had two touchdowns nullified on their final two drives of a one-score game, settling for two field goals and 6 points instead of two touchdowns and 14 points in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the difference. Dak Prescott finished with just 237 yards passing on 23 completions with 0 TD’s and 1 INT. Herbert finished the day 31-41 with 338 yards passing and 8.2 yards per attempt, while Keenan Allen and Mike Williams took advantage of Dallas’ clear weakness in the secondary, finishing with a combined 11 catches and 199 yards receiving (18.0 yards per catch) on 18 targets.
Against Dallas in 2020, Jalen Hurts finished with 342 yards passing and 69 yards rushing in his third career start. He found Desean Jackson in the first quarter of that matchup for an 81-yard touchdown, and has shown a willingness to attack opposing defenses with the deep ball in 2021.
The Eagles currently lead the league in yards per play differential in 2021 (+1.9), an indicator of their efficiency and success on both sides of the ball. Their offensive line is relatively healthy despite losing All Pro RG Brandon Brooks for the next eight weeks to a pectoral injury. They’ve moved the ball effectively on the ground with 162 yards per game through two weeks, and have plenty of speed at receiver with Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins to attack Dallas’ suspect corners in Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown. Dallas obviously features a highly potent offense with Amari Cooper and Ceedee Lamb split out at WR, but first year defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has injected a shot of life into the Eagles defense in 2021, as the Eagles rank 3rd in the league in yards per play allowed and pass yards allowed, 5th in 3rd down defense and 8th in defensive DVOA.
The Eagles should be considered a very live dog at +3.5 and are an excellent teaser candidate through key numbers 6 and 7 up to +9.5 in Week 3.