The NFC East is on the line in The City of Brotherly Love on Sunday, as the Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) host the Dallas Cowboys (7-7). The Cowboys snapped a three-game losing streak with a big 44-21 win over the Rams last week, while the Eagles had back-to-back wins against the Giants and Redskins to end their own three-game losing streak.
Here is a preview for Sunday’s game, along with odds and a free pick.
By The Numbers
Despite being only 7-7, the Cowboys’ offense grades out as one of the strongest in the NFL. Dallas averages more yards than anyone in the league at 434 per game while averaging the fifth-most points with 27. The Cowboys are second in passing yards with 300 and sixth in rushing yards with 134, while also boasting the league’s best third-down conversion rate.
There’s not a huge drop-off for Dallas on defense either. Overall, the Cowboys are seventh in yards allowed with 323.6 and 12th in points allowed with 20.6. They’re eighth in passing yards allowed with 220 and 12th in rushing yards allowed with 103.6 as well.
For the most part, the Eagles have been a fairly average unit on offense this season. Philadelphia is 15th in total yards with 352.9 and 12th in points per game with 23.9. The Eagles are slightly better at running than passing, averaging the 12th-most rushing yards with 121.4 compared to the 16th-most passing yards with 231.5. They also are second to Dallas in third-down conversion rate.
On defense, Philadelphia allows a pedestrian 23.4 points per game, 16th in the league. However, the Eagles are ninth in yards allowed with 328.5, thanks in large part to the third-best run defense that gives up just 90.4 yards on the ground. Against the pass, the Eagles give up an average of 238.1 yards, ranking 18th in the league.
The Cowboys have gotten a career year from their quarterback, Dak Prescott, who has thrown for 4,334 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The fourth-year QB is also facing a good matchup with an Eagles secondary that has continued to struggle against the pass.
However, Prescott is dealing with a sore shoulder and a finger injury on his throwing hand and has been limited all week in practice. Even though he’s expected to play, we’ll see if Dallas has to rely more on Ezekiel Elliott out of the backfield if Prescott isn’t 100 percent.
Elliott is a perfect 5-0 versus the Eagles in his career, averaging 163 scrimmage yards per game.
The Eagles have continued to push through injuries, and will now look to attack Dallas’ secondary with a very limited receiving corps. Last week against Washington, Carson Wentz heavily relied on tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, as well as running back Miles Sanders, since his top three wide receivers were out.
Both tight ends had five catches, with Ertz finding the end zone, while Sanders had six catches and a score as part of his 172 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Look for these players to be at the center of the action once again, this time in a much tougher matchup.
The Cowboys have a number of players listed on this week’s injury report, including Prescott. But only a few are considered questionable, namely cornerback C.J. Goodwin and linebacker Joe Thomas. Star linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who has missed the last few weeks with a neck injury, is still out.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have fewer overall names on the injury report, but also more impact players listed as questionable. Cornerback Avonte Maddox and pass-rusher Derek Barnett are each questionable after being limited in practice, as is receiver Nelson Agholor and guard Brandon Brooks. Offensive tackle Lane Johnson is once again out.
Odds and Pick
The Cowboys are slight favorites on the road at -1.5. Ultimately, I think the Dallas we saw last week is going to be similar to what we see on Sunday. Look for Prescott and Amari Cooper to exploit Philadelphia’s secondary and for Elliott to once again have a big game against their rival. Give me the Cowboys -1.5 to win this one and clinch the NFC East title.