Even after his team blew out the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was when it came to the prospects of facing the division rival Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9. "Let's soak this one up," Jones said, referring to the win over L.A. "I don't want to do anything to poke the bear."
By Tuesday, Jerry was singing a different tune. He acknowledged the importance of the game, and stressed what his team needs to come away with a win.
"This is serious shit that we're dealing with up here Sunday, man," Jones said during his weekly radio appearance, per ESPN. "We've got to really have our game face on. Philadelphia is a tough place to get your momentum going, but, to me, this is all about just what the NFL can be."
Dallas and Philly split the season series a year ago, with each team winning the game where the other had to start its backup quarterback. Jalen Hurts and Co. won the Week 6 matchup in large part thanks to three Cooper Rush interceptions, while Dak Prescott out-dueled Gardner Minshew in Week 16 as Minshew turned the ball over three times (two picks, one fumble).
Prescott hasn't lost a regular-season game to Philadelphia since 2019, but this is obviously a much different Eagles team than the one he has faced in the majority of those matchups since then.
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The Eagles have one of the NFL's most explosive offenses now, thanks to the combination of Hurts, their offensive line, and players like A.J. Brown, De'Vonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and D'Andre Swift. Hurts has struggled with turnovers this year, though, as he has already given the ball away 11 times after doing so just eight times a year ago. Dallas is one of the most turnover-happy defenses in the NFL, forcing a giveaway on 16.9% of opponent possessions to date and scoring a league-best four defensive touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Dallas offense bounced back from its embarrassing showing against the 49ers back in Week 5 with back-to-back destructions of the Chargers and Rams secondaries, and the Eagles are fresh off allowing Sam Howell to throw for nearly 400 yards and four scores. But Philly can still generate a ton of pressure up front, and the Cowboys' offensive line is banged up. They will need to keep Prescott well protected so that he has enough time to find CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, and more down the field.
It should be a fascinating game, and it's obviously one that could determine a lot in the NFC playoff race. Jerry knows that, even if he didn't want to acknowledge it on Sunday.