DALLAS — For the first time in franchise history, the Dallas Cowboys will play a Week 18 regular season game with the NFL expanding to a 17-game season. At 11-5, and with the NFC East already conquered, Dallas will be playing for nominal gains in seeding the NFC playoffs as they travel to take on the arch rival Philadelphia Eagles in the regular season finale.
Dallas held hopes of grabbing the top overall seed – and the conference’s lone bye that comes with it – before stumbling against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. The 25-22 loss last Sunday all but assured the Cowboys of claiming the fourth seed in the NFC and, barring some upsets around the league, likely a date with Arizona once again for Wild Card Weekend.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia has surged from a 3-6 start to the season to go 6-1 over their last seven contests, including a four-game winning streak. The upswing has already allowed the Eagles to clinch a wild-card spot in the playoffs before Sunday’s contest. Philadelphia clinched with a 20-16 win over Washington in Week 17.
With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as the Cowboys look to close out the regular season with a rare undefeated record in the division:
SERIES FACTS (14)
-The Cowboys are 11-5 for the fourth time in team history. All three of those previous teams lost in the divisional playoffs (1979, 1991, 2009).
-The Cowboys are 26-33 in season finales with a 13-23 record on the road.
-The Cowboys are 28-28 in January, including the postseason, with a 7-19 record on the road.
-The Cowboys are 23-21 on Saturdays, including the playoffs, with a 10-12 record on the road.
-The Cowboys are 5-2 against the Eagles in January, including the postseason, with a 1-2 record on the road.
-The Cowboys are 30-29 against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Franklin Field: 4-6
Veterans Stadium: 16-15
Lincoln Financial Field: 10-8
-The Cowboys’ 10-8 record at Lincoln Financial Field is the best among NFC East opponents:
New York: 5-14
-The Cowboys are the only NFC East team to have eight or more wins in all of their divisional opponents’ venues:
FedEx Field: 16-9
Lincoln Financial Field: 10-8
MetLife Stadium: 8-4
-The Cowboys are the winningest divisional opponent in the other three NFC East venues:
FedEx Field: Dallas (16-9), Philadelphia (15-10), New York (14-10-1)
Lincoln Financial Field: Dallas (10-8), Washington (8-11), New York (6-13)
MetLife Stadium: Dallas (8-4), Philadelphia (8-4), Washington (3-8)
-A win would give Dallas their second ever complete sweep of the NFC East (last: 1998) and third ever complete sweep of the division in team history. In 1969, the Cowboys were in the NFL’s Capitol Division of the Eastern Conference.
-The Cowboys are going for their 20th series sweep of the Eagles. Here is where their sweeps of the Eagles compares to the rest of their NFC East opponents:
New York: 24
-The Eagles being swept by the Cowboys is tied with New York for their most times being swept since 1960:
New York 19
-The Eagles are 9-7 for the fourth time in team history. All three of those previous teams made the playoffs. Two of them lost in the wildcard round (1978, 2019) and one lost in the divisional round (2018).
-The Eagles are 21-21 in January games, including the postseason, with a 13-11 record at home.
DAK PRESCOTT FACTS (10)
-Prescott has the eighth-most passes in the league on first down with 217.
-Prescott has a career-high 32 touchdown passes, the eighth-most in the NFL. Tony Romo has the Cowboys’ single-season record with 36 in 2007.
-Prescott has thrown 10 interceptions. However, his 1.8% interception percentage is tied with Jacoby Brissett for the eighth-lowest in the NFL.
-Prescott’s 276.9 passing yards per game are the seventh-most in the NFL.
-Prescott is tied with Kyler Murray for the sixth-highest passer rating at 100.9.
-Prescott’s 4.8% sack percentage is the seventh-lowest in the league.
-Prescott is tied with Kirk Cousins for the seventh-most red zone passing touchdowns with 22.
-Prescott’s 101.0 passer rating on third down is the sixth-highest among quarterbacks with at least 100 such pass attempts.
-Prescott is tied with Matthew Stafford for the eighth-most passing touchdowns on third down with 10.
-Prescott is tied with Tom Brady and Baker Mayfield for the ninth-best air yards to the sticks at minus-0.4 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
JALEN HURTS FACTS (10)
-Hurts’ 61.3% completion percentage is the sixth-lowest in the NFL.
-Hurts is tied with Baker Mayfield for the fourth-highest yards per completion at 11.9.
-Hurts’ 209.6 passing yards per game are the fourth-lowest in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts.
-Hurts is tied with Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns with 10.
-Hurts’ nine red zone rushing touchdowns are the seventh-most in the league.
-Hurts has rushed the most on third down with 33 attempts.
-Hurts’ 223 rushing yards on third down are the second-most in the league.
-Hurts is tied with Josh Allen for the most third down conversions on the ground with 22.
-Hurts’ 6.76 yards per carry on third down are the fourth-most among ball carriers with at least 20 such attempts.
-Hurts is tied with Carson Wentz and Tom Brady for the eighth-highest yards per pass attempt on third down at 7.3.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS (10)
-Elliott has had five games of 100-plus rushing yards against the Eagles, his most against any NFC East opponent.
-Elliott is tied with Derrick Henry, who hasn’t played since Week 9, for the seventh-most carries with 219. However, Henry is still sixth in the NFL with 937 rushing yards to Elliott’s 915.
-Among running backs with at least 200 carries, Elliott’s 4.2 yards per carry are the fourth-most in the NFL.
-Elliott’s 10 rushing touchdowns are all inside the red zone, and the sixth-most red zone rushing touchdowns this season.
-Elliott is tied with Nick Chubb for the sixth-most first down carries with 129.
-Elliott has generated 16 third down conversions on the ground, tied with Antonio Gibson for the fourth-most in the NFL.
-Elliott has taken the seventh-most third down carries with 25.
-Among running backs, Elliott’s 108 rushing yards on third down are the fifth-most in the league.
-Through 16 games, Elliott’s 4.2 yards per carry is the fourth-highest of his career.
-Through 16 games, Elliott’s 10 rushing touchdowns are the third-most of his career.
MIKE MCCARTHY FACTS (8)
-This is the 73rd week that a McCarthy coached team has held undisputed first place in the division and his 15th with the Cowboys.
-The only time that a McCarthy squad has swept the division was in 2011 when the Green Bay Packers went 15-1 and a perfect 6-0 in the NFC North.
-McCarthy is 7-3 against the Eagles with a 3-2 record on the road.
-McCarthy is 7-3 against the Eagles. Here is how that compares to the rest of the NFC East:
NY Giants: 8-5
-McCarthy is 20-13 against the NFC East with a 9-9 record on the road.
-McCarthy is 60-27-2 in division games with a 27-17 record on the road.
-McCarthy is 25-12 against rookie coaches with a 10-5 record on the road.
-McCarthy is 50 for 100 on challenges in his career with a 2 for 3 rate in 2021.
NICK SIRIANNI FACTS (6)
-With a loss, Sirianni would become the first Eagles coach since Marion Campbell in 1983 to get swept by the Cowboys in his first season.
-Sirianni joins Chip Kelly, Ray Rhodes, Rich Kotite, Nick Skorich, Jim Trimble, and Greasy Neale as the only Eagles coaches to post a winning record in their first season.
-Sirianni is 3-2 against the NFC East with a 2-0 record at home.
-Sirianni is 1-3 against Super Bowl-winning coaches with a 1-2 record at home.
-A loss would tie Sirianni for the worst home record by a coach for the Eagles since 2015, the year Chip Kelly was fired with a game to go.
-Sirianni is 5 for 6 on challenges in his career.
BROADCAST FACTS (10)
-WFAA will simulcast the game in Dallas-Fort Worth, and are the fifth Metroplex station to do so since 1987.
-The Cowboys are 50-37 on WFAA, including simulcast games.
-Week 18 will be the first time since the 2003 NFC wildcard at the Carolina Panthers that the Cowboys have played on a Saturday on WFAA.
-The Cowboys are 11-19 all-time on ESPN.
-The Eagles are 24-12 all-time on ESPN.
-Week 18 will also be the first time since Dec. 21, 2002, also at the Philadelphia Eagles, that Dallas will play a Saturday game on ESPN.
-Week 18 will mark the first time since 2002 that the Cowboys played multiple games on ESPN. It is also just the third time in franchise history (2000, 2002, 2021).
-The Cowboys are 9-14 in their white jerseys on ESPN compared to 2-5 in their blues.
-The Cowboys are 0-2 in January on ESPN. Here is the breakdown by month:
-Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick are the play-by-play team for ESPN. Here is the Cowboys’ record for all talent that participated in ESPN’s coverage of Dallas Cowboys football since 1987:
Mike Patrick: 2-12
Roy Firestone: 0-1
Joe Theismann: 2-12
Paul Maguire: 1-9
Solomon Wilcots: 1-4
Suzy Kolber: 4-8
Mike Tirico: 5-5
Tony Kornheiser: 2-1
Michele Tafoya: 3-2
Jon Gruden: 5-4
Ron Jaworski: 4-1
Ed Werder (2011, Cowboys sideline): 1-0
Lisa Salters: 3-4
Sean McDonough: 2-0
Joe Tessitore: 1-1
Anthony McFarland: 1-1
Jason Witten: 0-1
Steve Levy: 1-1
Brian Griese: 1-1
Louis Riddick: 1-1
RON TORBERT FACTS (12)
-This week’s referee is Ron Torbert. The Cowboys have a 2-4 record in his games:
2015 – CAR, 14-33 – L
2016 – NYG, 19-20 – L
2017 – @SF, 40-10 – W
2018 – WAS, 31-23 – W
2019 – GB, 24-34 – L
2020 – WAS, 3-25 – L
-Dallas has had fewer penalties 1 of 6 times with Torbert:
2015 – CAR: 8/53; DAL: 8/40
2016 – NYG: 4/40; DAL: 6/50
2017 – SF: 2/22; DAL: 5/36
2018 – WAS: 4/25; DAL: 4/30
2019 – GB: 9/78; DAL: 11/124
2020 – WAS: 4/30; DAL: 6/49
-Torbert has the fourth-highest (.625) home team winning percentage.
-Torbert has the third-highest (.688) percentage of home teams with fewer penalties.
-The Eagles are 4-2 with Torbert making the calls:
2015 – NO, 39-17 – W
2017 – RAI, 19-10 – W
2018 – @NYG, 34-13 – W
2019 – WAS, 32-27 – W
2020 – WAS, 14-20 – L
2021 – @NYG, 7-13 – L
-The Eagles have had fewer penalties 3 of 6 times with Torbert:
2015 – NO: 7/78; PHI: 4/35
2017 – RAI: 7/50; PHI: 8/60
2018 – NYG: 5/61; PHI: 4/25
2019 – WAS: 12/96; PHI: 6/55
2020 – WAS: 5/56; PHI: 6/41
2021 – NYG: 2/15; PHI: 4/26
-Torbert’s games average the most sacks (5.5) per game.
-Torbert calls the fifth-most offensive holding calls (3.1) per game.
-The Cowboys are 1 for 3 on challenges under Torbert while opponents are 1 for 1. Replay Assistant is 1 for 1 with that call benefiting the Cowboys.
-The Eagles have never challenged Torbert. Opponents are 0 for 1 challenging Torbert. Replay Assistant is 2 for 5 with all five of those calls benefiting the Eagles.
-Torbert is tied for the third-lowest (.300, 3 for 10) coaches challenge overturn rate.
-Torbert is tied for the third-highest (.750, 6 for 8) booth review overturn rate.
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (20)
-The Cowboys are tied with the Colts for the most takeaways in the NFL with 33.
-The Cowboys’ 33 takeaways are tied for the 21st-most in team history. The most was 53 in 1981.
-Dallas has generated 107 quarterback hits, the third-most in the league.
-Dallas has generated pressure on 26.6% of opponents’ dropbacks, the fifth-most in the NFL.
-Opposing quarterbacks have compiled a 76.3 passer rating against the Cowboys defense, the third-lowest in the NFL.
-The Cowboys are tied with the Colts and Patriots for the seventh-most yards per carry surrendered at 4.5.
-Though he is likely to miss Sunday in COVID protocol, Micah Parsons has the sixth-most sacks with 13.0.
-Parsons and T.J. Watt are tied for the most tackles for loss in the NFL with 20.
-Parsons is tied with Nick Bosa for the third-most quarterback hits with 30.
-The Eagles are tied for the fifth-fewest takeaways with 16.
-The Eagles’ 28 sacks are the fourth-fewest in the league.
-The Eagles have sent the blitz 99 times, the second-most in the league.
-The Eagles give up 3.9 yards per carry, tied with the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens for the third-fewest in the NFL.
-Philadelphia gives up 103.9 rushing yards per game, the seventh-fewest in the league.
-Eagles cornerback Darius Slay leads the NFL with two fumble recovery touchdowns.
-The Eagles and the Titans are the only two teams with multiple players with at least one fumble recovery for a touchdown.
-Eagles linebacker Alex Singleton is tied with Chargers linebacker Kyzir White for the ninth-most combined tackles with 137.
-The Cowboys are 1-0 on Jan. 8. The only game they played was the 1994 NFC divisional when they clobbered the Green Bay Packers 35-9 at Texas Stadium.
-The Eagles have never played a game on Jan. 8.
-The Cowboys have one birthday to celebrate with receiver Ray Alexander, who was born on Jan. 8, 1962. Alexander played with Dallas from 1988-89, catching 55 passes for 804 yards and six touchdowns.
Do you think the Cowboys will finish the season with 12 or more wins for the 14th time in franchise history? Share your predictions with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.