Cowboys beat Eagles in dramatic game; we should all root for a playoff rematch

Let’s do it one more time, in a month, in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, if possible. For a game that felt a bit like a bust, here’s where things stand after the Cowboys’ thrilling 40-34 win to keep the NFC East race alive for at least another week.

Of course, the Eagles were without MVP candidate Jalen Hurts as the quarterback sat out with a sprained shoulder. Dallas’ answer, obviously, would be that the Cowboys were without Dak Prescott in October when they lost 26-17 at Lincoln Financial Field.

It’s only fitting, then, that these two teams get a chance to (hopefully) bounce back and set up the series in the postseason. If Saturday was any indicator, it was going to be a little crazy. As these two teams traded haymakers over the course of a Christmas Eve classic, it was easy to forget that the Eagles were injury-free, or that the Cowboys had essentially lost their chances of winning the division last week in Jacksonville . Instead, what took center stage was a pair of teams struggling to match their fiercest competition.

Dak Prescott throws for three touchdowns as Cowboys beat Eagles in thriller

Dak Prescott throws for three touchdowns as Cowboys beat Eagles in thriller

Dak Prescott brought his A game as he threw for 347 yards and three scores in the Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Choose any number of subplots. Dak Prescott will take priority, and understandably, given the rollercoaster ride he continues to ride this season. Prescott’s day took another detour early as he misjudged the throw of his third pitch of the day and was intercepted by Josh Sweat, not just for a game-changing pick, but for a pick-six that went put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole. .

“That’s been a little bit of my luck here recently,” Prescott said afterward. While Prescott’s pick-six against the Jaguars ended the game, the Jaguars began one of their best performances of the season. From that mistake, he couldn’t bear to miss. From there, he completed his next nine passes for 93 yards and a touchdown to lead his team to a 14-10 lead.

For the day, he finished with a season-high 347 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Cowboys to points on their final five possessions — not a bad day at the office for a guy whose day started off ‘a disastrous way. “I know the type of player I am, I know what I’m capable of,” Prescott said. “This team believes in me, and that’s all. Keep your head down and keep playing.”

He got a lot of help from his defense, which struggled to get a plus-three turnover differential. To be clear, the tape won’t be too kind on Monday. With Gardner Minshew starting in place of Hurts, the Eagles racked up 442 yards of offense. Minshew threw for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns and, more importantly, converted 7-of-11 on third downs as a passer, helping the Eagles to a 53 percent conversion rate on the night.

And yet, the Cowboys managed to give Philadelphia the kind of turnover problems that have rarely bothered them with Hurts as the starter. Minshew threw two contested interceptions up the middle of the field, and the Eagles lost two fumbles in the run game, both of which the Dallas defense pounced on to give their counterparts a short field.

“They gave us opportunity after opportunity,” Prescott said. “When they do that, we’re a tough team to beat.”

‘What are we going to do?’ – Micah Parsons on the defense’s mindset in the Cowboys’ win

'What are we going to do?'  - Micah Parsons on the defense's mindset in the Cowboys' win

Micah Parsons spoke with Erin Andrews after a close win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He talked about the game going down to the wire and a home win was earned.

It’s hard to imagine the Eagles will sweat this one too much. Aside from the obvious disappointment of not sweeping the Cowboys for the first time since 2011, they were playing with house money. Minshew played admirably in place of Hurts, and they still only need one win, or a Dallas loss for that matter, to clinch the NFC East.

Instead, the Cowboys will hope to focus on what this win can mean for their own momentum. They’re still just a week removed from a heartbreaking loss in Jacksonville, one that exposed all of their biggest flaws.

A week later, they’ve picked up a win against one of the deepest squads in the league. And even if the Eagles were short at quarterback, Prescott and his offense are unlikely to apologize for 419 yards and 40 points against one of the NFL’s best defenses. They hope it will be a performance to build on heading into the final two weeks. And given the overwhelming likelihood they’ll be the NFC’s No. 5 seed in the playoffs, it could serve them well on a postseason road trip to play the NFC South champion.

And if that happens, you can connect the dots. There’s at least a decent chance the Cowboys and Eagles haven’t seen each other this season. If this Christmas Eve game was any indicator, it would be an extra treat for us all.

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David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter @davidhelman_.

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