Eagles-Cowboys: 15 impact players to watch on Christmas Eve at AT&T Stadium

Jalen Hurts did not participate in the Eagless practices on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday of this week, meaning Gardner Minshew will start at quarterback for Philadelphia in Saturday’s NFC East game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Head Coach Nick Sirianni said on Thursday at the NovaCare Complex in his final press conference before kickoff that Minshew will likely be the guy. Hurts has made progress rehabbing his right shoulder sprain, but the head confirmed that he isn’t ready to play this week.

“Jalen did everything he could to get his body ready to go and at the end of the day, he’s not going to be able to do it,” Sirianni said. “He tried like crazy. I know he still wants to go. Jalen Hurts is the toughest player I’ve ever been around.”

Hurts being inactive doesn’t take away from the importance of this matchup, or the big names that’ll be involved.

Here’s an early look at 15 impact players to watch.

QB Gardner Minshew

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Gardner Minshew wants to be a starter and what better way to audition for a job in 2023 than by smashing the Cowboys on the road?

Minshew has played in 30 career games with 22 starts. In his first start with Philadelphia a critical December 5 win at the New York Jets, Minshew completed 20 of 25 passes for 242 passes and two touchdowns, both to tight end Dallas Goedert, as the Eagles won going away, 33-18.

QB Dak Prescott

[Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
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The Cowboys have gone 6-2 since Prescott’s return, with both losses coming in overtime, at the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

He’ll need a huge performance at home to quiet talk of his demise.

RB Tony Pollard

Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The lightening to Ezekiel Elliott’s thunder, Pollard is a true dual threat that can gash you in the running game or spread out wide and win matchups against defensive backs.

RB Miles Sanders

Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

A 1,000+ yard rusher and first-time Pro Bowler, Saturday offers another opportunity for Sanders to show why he deserves to be paid like a top running back.

WR CeeDee Lamb

[Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
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Lamb is the Cowboys’ top pass catcher and will draw Darius Slay when matched up on the left side.

WR DeVonta Smith

Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas lost cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis, in October, and Anthony Brown a few weeks ago.

If Trevon Diggs shadows A.J. Brown, then DeVonta Smith and Kelvin Joseph’s matchup will be the ones to watch.

TE Dalton Schultz

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Schultz is the security blanket for Dak Prescott, and he has 43 catches for 445 yards and 3 touchdowns.

TE Dallas Goedert

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best in the NFL when it comes to yards per catch and yards after the catch, Goedert is the security blanket that Gardner Minshew has to produce a stellar performance.

DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dorance Armstrong is second to Parsons (13) in sacks with eight, but DeMarcus Lawrence remains their best overall edge player.

He’ll need to have success against Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson

DE Josh Sweat

Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Sweat like Reddick will be the player to watch on the edge.

LB Micah Parsons

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Parsons has dealt with an illness this week, but he’ll still be a player to watch in matchups against Jordan Mailata.

LB Haason Reddick

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Reddick has 12 sacks on the season and made his first Pro Bowl on Wednesday. With Dak Prescott under center, Philadelphia will need to duplicate their pressure off the edge.

CB Kelvin Joseph

[Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jki 121822 Bs Jaguars Vs C 47

Diggs doesn’t have interceptions this season, but he made another Pro Bowl and his matchup with A.J. Brown will be something to watch.

It’s Joseph and his matchup with DeVonta Smith that could ultimately decide the game.

S Reed Blankenship

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Blankenship looks healed from his knee sprain suffered in the win over the Giants and he’ll be a player to watch in the Eagles secondary.

S Malik Hooker

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Hooker has 36 tackles and 2 interceptions on the season playing the Cowboys 3 safety look.

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