Philadelphia Eagles: What we learned from Dallas’ Week 1 loss

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Welp, it’s official: The Dallas Cowboys have the worst record in the NFL.

… okay, technically by this time Tuesday, as many as 15 other teams will also be sitting ugly at 0-1 with 16 more games left to play, but for the time being, the Cowboys are the low men in the league and will be the (bad) goat of many an article like this one right here.

That, my friends, is the good news if you are a Dallas-hating Philadelphia Eagles fan.

The bad news? This Dallas team looks pretty darn good and could be a problem all season long.

What Philadelphia Eagles fans can learn from Dallas’ Week 1 loss.

In 2020, the Dallas Cowboys were one of the most statistically anomalous teams in the NFL.

Their offense was lights out. When Dak Prescott was still under center – Weeks 1-4 plus a little bit of Week 5, if you don’t remember – the team averaged 422.5 passing yards per game on 50.25 attempts and scored an average of 31.5 points per game, a mark only one team, the Green Bay Packers, matched over the full 2020 season.

While the team was a bit too pass-happy considering the strength of their running backs corps, averaging 50.25 passes versus 18.75 runs per game, the Cowboys could shoot out with the best of them and force foes to fight a game they were seldom equipped to win.

Fortunately for, well, for every other team in the league, the Cowboys also bolstered one of the worst defenses in the league, which facilitated their need to throw the ball so darn much.

Bolstering a secondary that is largely gone sans 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs, the Cowboys gave up an average of 6,183 yards per game and 29.6 points per game, the 10th and fifth-ranked marks in the league, respectively.

Would the Cowboys right these issues heading into 2021, with Prescott finally back under center?

No. Fortunately – or not so much, depending on your opinion – this Cowboys team looks pretty much the same as last season.

In their eventual loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys turned in a classic game. They threw the ball 42 times for 403 yards, including a pair of massive performances by Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, but were ultimately outgunned in the end by a better defense that forced a crucial second-half interception that turned into a touchdown and a pair of missed field goals by the typically sure-footed Greg Zuerlein.

Prescott looked fantastic, as did his receivers, but notably, Ezekiel Elliott turned in one of those duds he’s accustomed to recording every dozen or so games, rushing for 33 yards on 11 attempts.

While this may have been an exception to his typical rule, as Elliott has turned in eight games with an average yards-per-carry of three or less over the past 60 games, if he starts to falter, it’ll severely limit the team’s options moving forward, as he’s on the books for an average of $16.6 million from 2021-26.

Good luck with Fletcher Cox, Jalen Mayfield. dark. Next

Ultimately, the 2020 Dallas Cowboys likely would have won the NFC East had Dak Prescott remained healthy. With that the case now in 2021, that sentiment should largely hold true, even if they couldn’t pull out the W in Week 1. Still, with clear deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, don’t be surprised if this Cowboys team is as inconsistent as Mike McCarthy‘s maiden voyage with the team and ultimately falters down the stretch. If that happens, the Philadelphia Eagles might just have a chance to shock the world and secure another pennant for the first time since 2019.