The Philadelphia Eagles are flying high at 5-0 after Sunday’s road victory in Arizona, but a Week 6 showdown with NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys already has Nick Sirianni focusing on what lies ahead.
It will be the first of two head-to-head meetings between the Eagles and Cowboys this regular season, and an important one as always for the never-ending jostling of the NFC East standings. The Eagles escaped Arizona with a 20-17 victory over the host Cardinals, keeping their unbeaten start alive and adding more momentum to what has been an impressive start.
Since a Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys have won four-straight including victories over last season’s Super Bowl winners (Los Angeles Rams) and losers (Cincinnati Bengals). Sirianni knows the importance of an Eagles-Cowboys matchup, but is also keeping a “next game up” mentality regardless of the opponent.
“We know how big of a game it is because it’s the Cowboys and we know how big of a game it is because it’s the next one and we know how big of a game it is because it’s a division game,” Sirianni said.” We’re just going to go about our business that way to prepare like we always prepare and leave no stone unturned. So, we don’t get wrapped up in that. The best teams I’ve been on don’t get too wrapped up in all those different things and they go about their business this week to get ready.”
One of the premier faces on the Cowboys roster and among the NFL’s best defensive players is defensive end Micah Parsons, who is one of the top pass rushers in the league. Parsons has totaled six sacks so far in 2022, registering two apiece in games against Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles.
The former Penn State product totaled 13 sacks, three forced fumbles, and 84 combined tackles during his rookie season in 2021, winning the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Parsons will be among the top targets for the Eagles offense to try and keep in check, but it certainly won’t be easy for them or any team in the NFL.
“Whatever you do, again, you’re trying to put your players in the best position to succeed, and while you’re doing that, you’re trying not to allow their best players to wreck the game,” Sirianni said. “So, he’ll be accounted for every single play. That’s doesn’t mean he’s not going to make some plays here and there. He’s a really outstanding, outstanding player. I think we all know that. The league knows that. He’s proved it for the last year and a half.
The Cowboys offense has continued to chug forward despite the early-season injury suffered to quarterback Dak Prescott, which has forced Cooper Rush into the starting job. Dallas has not surpassed 300 total yards in each of their last two games, but have been able to rely on both units to pick up needed victories.
Rush has thrown for 839 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in his four starts, managing the Cowboys offense well and also relying on veteran tailback Ezekiel Elliott (305 rush yards, one touchdown) when needed. The loss of Prescott as well as offseason departure Amari Cooper has taken some of the spark out of the Cowboys offense, but the Eagles will be focused on shutting down Rush and his weapons at what will be a rowdy Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night.
“I know [defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon has some things that he’s ready with that answer.” Sirianni said. “I need to talk to him still because all my preparation has been on the defensive side so far. But I will say that Cooper Rush has done an excellent job. I think the perception was like, oh, Dak is hurt and they’re in big trouble. This is a good football team, and this is a well-coached football team with really good football players all over it. So you’re seeing that they’ve weathered the storm, and that speaks a lot of who Cooper Rush is.”