Last week, Philadelphia Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson, guaranteed a win against the Cowboys. It looked like a strong possibility. The Cowboys had just lost to the New York Jets, of all teams, and the Eagles saw a golden opportunity to push themselves back into the playoff race. Pederson’s guarantee was foolish. It was obvious that the Cowboys were highly motivated on Sunday night. The defense forced a fumble on the first Eagles drive of the game. Dak Prescott and the offense then took six plays to reach the endzone. Within two minutes, Dallas had forced another fumble, and Ezekiel Elliott had pounded the ball in for another touchdown. Just before his one-yard touchdown run, Elliott had a 13-yard run that essentially signified what this game would turn out to be. Elliott had burst through the line, avoided a defender, slammed an Eagles’ safety to the ground and nearly got to the endzone. Elliott’s ruthless determination was something every Cowboys player utilized that night. They wanted to demolish their opponent. From that point on, it was clear that the Eagles were going to lose this game.

The final score: 37-10

The player of the game: Brett Maher. Yep, the kicker.

Elliott could have easily been the player of the game; his 111-rushing yards and physical style of play wore down the Eagles’ defense all game long. Maher however, impressed again this week. He managed to hit a 63-yard field goal just before halftime. It was the longest kick in Cowboys history and the second longest in NFL history. It should be noted that Maher also hit a 62 yarder against the Jets last week. He was three-for-three on his field goal attempts and is looking more confident every week. Maher has experienced his fair share of horrible misses since taking over for Dan Bailey, but a kicker that can hit 60-yard field goals in back-to-back weeks has the potential to be special.

Prescott was able to make some great reads and throws during the game on offense. He did not have the positive attitude that he had through the first three weeks, but he also did not experience the lows of the Saints and Packers games. He completed 77% of his passes for 239-yards, a touchdown and an interception. Elliott, as mentioned before, looked powerful, and Amari Cooper continued to make opposing defenses look ridiculous.

Defensively, Dallas played well but lost several players to injury. Leighton Vander-Esch left with a neck injury, Robert Quinn with a rib injury and Jeff Heath with a minor chest injury. Heath, Vander-Esch and Quinn are all expected to be back on the field in week nine.

With the Cowboys heading into a bye week, now is a great time to look ahead to what Dallas has to do to reach the playoffs. As the season closes in on its halfway point, a select few teams have been established as contenders. Teams like the Seahawks, Packers, Saints and 49ers are looking like potential playoff locks. The Packers will most likely win their division, meaning that the Vikings, who are currently on a three-game win streak, could take up a wild card spot. The same goes for the 49ers and Seahawks. The two teams have one loss combined. Only one of them can win the division, so the other has to hope for a wild card spot. Teams like the Rams, Panthers and maybe even the Eagles will also be competing for those two wild card spots. Essentially, the Cowboys must win their division to make the playoffs; there are too many good teams in the NFC to count on obtaining one of the last two spots. Winning against Philadelphia was a good start, but the Cowboys have to play at a more consistent level. Inexplicable losses like the one with New York cannot happen again. Games against the Rams, Eagles, Patriots and Vikings will not leave any room for error.

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