The Philadelphia Eagles scored a big win in Week 14, as their Monday Night Football victory over the New York Giants brought them to a tie with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East at 6-7. The Cowboys currently own the tiebreaker, having beaten the Eagles in Week 7 at Dallas.
While both teams now control their own destiny, with a crucial Week 16 rematch in Philadelphia looming, the Eagles stand out in a few statistical areas that could give them an edge in obtaining the division crown and a playoff berth. With that in mind, here are four stats that show just why the Eagles are the superior NFC East team.
1. Rushing Yards Allowed
The Philadelphia Eagles have gained a bad reputation for their pass defense in recent years, but they've continued their strong play against the run in 2019. Philly permits 89.6 rushing yards per game this season, the third-lowest amount in the NFL, and 20 yards fewer than Dallas is allowing per contest (109.8). While Ezekiel Elliott was one of only two running backs to exceed 100 yards against the Eagles this season, Philly would put itself in a much better spot to win in Week 16 if they can limit the All-Pro Dallas back from having a big game at Lincoln Financial Field. Elliott has averaged only 4.1 yards per carry on the road this season, compared to 4.8 yard at home.
Takeaways have been hard to come by for Dallas, as they are tied for last among NFL teams with five interceptions on the season. Philadelphia has double that amount with 10, and the Eagles have some exploitable matchups left on the schedule with the Washington Redskins and Giants sandwiching the Week 16 game against Dallas. Philly's more aggressive approach on defense could be a difference maker in the weeks ahead, especially if Dak Prescott finds himself in pressure throwing situations when these two teams face off in Philly.
3. Time of Possession
Dallas used to be the king of time of possession in the NFL, but the Cowboys have appeared to relinquish that title this season in favor of a more pass-heavy offense. As a result, Dallas has just a 49 percent time of possession average per game, compared to the Eagles who are at 55 percent on the season. Philly has not been able to establish a firm running game this season, but hope to have Jordan Howard back in the coming weeks to provide a thunder element to Miles Sanders' lightning running style. If Philly can prevail in the trenches, both in rushing the ball and stopping the run, the team may be able to overcome its passing woes, especially with Alshon Jeffery now out for the season.
4. Return Yardage
One of the Cowboys' greatest deficiencies this season has come on special teams, specifically on kick returns. The Cowboys are dead last in kick return yardage (227 yards), while also giving up the seventh-most return yards (674) on the other end. Meanwhile, the Eagles have allowed the ninth-fewest return yards in the league (398), while ranking No. 14 in return yards gained. The battle for field position can become crucial in the coming weeks, and the Cowboys' inability to establish anything in the return game will put them at a disadvantage if they are forced to score all their points in longer drives.
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