Report: Darren McFadden, Mark Sanchez expected to play a lot Sunday

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The Cowboys have been resistant to the idea of resting their starters despite wrapping up the NFC East title and the first seed in the NFC playoffs, but a knee injury to left tackle Tyron Smith reportedly has them thinking about expanded roles for a couple of backups this weekend.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott are both expected to play against the Eagles this weekend, but that Smith’s absence will leave much of the playing time to their backups.

In Elliott’s case, that means veteran Darren McFadden. McFadden has played in two games since returning from an elbow injury and has run 17 times for 59 yards.

At quarterback, the team is expected to go with Mark Sanchez as Prescott’s No. 2 in Week 17. That’s not a surprise given what owner Jerry Jones said this week about it being “better not to have a risk with” Tony Romo heading into the playoffs. Sanchez played in one game in relief of Prescott earlier this season and completed the only pass he threw for eight yards.