PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Let’s get something straight at the outset: The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFC East. Let’s also get something else straight: It’s July. The Eagles will have seven months to prove it.
As of right now, the Dallas Cowboys are the defending NFC East champions and realistically the only team that can get in the way of the Eagles winning a second NFC East title in the last three years.
But here are some facts: Regardless of the situation, the Cowboys are 6-3 against the Eagles in their last nine games. The Eagles haven’t beaten Dallas since Nov. 19, 2017, 37-9, during the Super Bowl season.
Dallas beat the Eagles in two meaningful games last season, 27-20 and 29-23. Carson Wentz is also 2-3 in a small sample size against Dallas.
The Cowboys do have a more difficult schedule this season, featuring the Rams and the Saints.
Dallas went 10-6 last season to win the division, thanks to the in-season acquisition of wide receiver Amari Cooper. For the first time in four years, the Cowboys even managed to win a playoff game.
Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, with 34 sacks over five NFL seasons, is happy after signing a five-year, $105 million deal.
Ezekiel Elliott is looking for a new contract, though he runs behind one of the best, if not the best, offensive line in football, with tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, guards Zack Martin — one of the best in the game — and Connor Williams, and the hopeful return of center Travis Frederick.
Frederick could be the key to everything. He missed the entire 2018 season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. It may be a big reason why the Cowboys gave up an NFC-high 56 sacks last year.
A healthy Frederick makes for a healthy offensive line, the centerpiece of the Cowboys, which translates into a ball-control offense behind a workhorse like Elliott, while keeping Wentz and the potent Eagles’ offense off the field.
That’s the ideal template Dallas is carrying into the season. The Eagles will have something to say about it.