COWBOYS @ EAGLES – NFC TITLE GAME – SUN. 12-22!

COWBOYS AND EAGLES BATTLE IT OUT FOR NFC EAST TITLE!

LAS VEGAS BETTING ODDS:  DALLAS (-2) @ PHILLY   ~   TOTAL: (46)

DALLAS COWBOYS (#1) OFFENSE (134 RUSH, 300 PASS)  vs.  PHILLY EAGLES (#9) DEFENSE (90 RUSH, 239 PASS allowed)

PHILLY EAGLES (#16) OFFENSE (121 RUSH, 232 PASS)  vs. DALLAS COWBOYS (#8) DEFENSE (104 RUSH, 220 PASS allowed)

FIRST MEETING IN 2019 @ DALLAS:   DALLAS WON 37-10

Hard to believe, but someone has to win this game (well we hope) and that team will actually go over .500 and unless a nightmare in Week 17 the winner will not only win the NFC East, but they will actually get a week off to rest as they grab a nice “BYE” and they will likely be hosting a team with a much better overall record. For much of the season it seemed like nobody wanted to win the East. But very big wins by both last week bring us to Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field in a winner salvages a terrible season and a loss sends loser home with tons of questions to answer ahead.

Let’s face it, Dallas is the team that should be much better than just (7-7). The #1 Offense and a Top 10 Defense and they are in this “must win” situation? This team has a ton of talent and yet they never seem to play to it’s full potential as it only plays well vs. Bad teams. With the Rams losing on Saturday, they only have one win all season to show beating a team with a winning record (Rams at 8-7). They’ve only beaten one Top 10 Defense all season (Eagles). They haven’t faced an Offense ranked 1-8 either. They’ve played 4 of the 5 worst Offenses in the NFL. 

The Eagles also have been fortunate and not really that good vs. winning teams this year. Playoff teams New England, Seattle and Minnesota all beat them up pretty good. They have beaten Green Bay and Buffalo on the Road, so they have the talent to win this game, but they need their best game all season as they are simply down too many key pieces at the wide out position. The Eagles are simply one of the hardest teams to Handicap week to week in the entire league. If this game is being played in Dallas I’d give Philly 10% chance to win. But it’s not, it’s at Home and their fans will be loud and ready for this GIGANTIC game. The Eagles are only 4-3 at Home this season, with 3 of those 4 wins only against Redskins, Giants and Jets. They lost 2 straight at Home with the Offense laying back to back eggs, and then last week had a terrible first half. but when the chips were on the line, they made a huge comeback to beat the Giants in Overtime.

Dallas is (3-4) on the Road with the 3 road wins over Redskins, Giants and Lions (9 combined wins this season by those 3). They got totally shut down on Offense by #1 New England Defense, #7 Chicago Defense and #11 Saints Defense on Road. Now they need to get the Offense tuned up vs. an Eagles Defense ranked #9. Last week the Cowboys finally played a perfect game on both sides of the ball. Since week 3, there haven’t been many great games on both sides of the ball by Dallas. Dallas dominated all phases in earlier meeting with the Birds, winning in a blowout 37-10 as they simply couldn’t stop Boys QB Dak Prescott (21-27-239, 5 rushes for 30 yards).  Last week they lit the Rams up on both sides of the ball and made us once again get that feeling “Dallas is a good team”.

The Eagles I’ll give a little rope as they have lost a ton of marquee talent to injury. It’s a miracle they are still somehow in the hunt. They really have no wide receiver talent and rely all on two very solid Tight Ends. I am not high on Eagles QB C. Wentz, but the past 3 weeks when they needed comeback after comeback, he has led league in Red Zone with 8 TD’s. Good news if you are an Eagles fan is Dallas Defense (missing stud LB Vander Esche) is allowing TD’s on 70% of their Red Zone trips the past 3 weeks. Dallas Defense was at a solid (52%) stopping TD’s in Red Zone before the Vander Esche injury. 

If Dallas ever needed QB Prescott to get hot it was now, in December, where he is now (42-72) with no Interceptions. He will be playing this game with a very banged up and sore shoulder, hurting it last week. He must get a big effort from his #1 Wide out Amari Cooper, who had 5 catches for 105 yards in earlier win over Philly and who is having just a so-so at best Road season (23 catches-296 yards- 3 TD’s). The Eagles Defense has already allowed 10 different receivers to have 100 yard games. They get burned more than toast in my kitchen daily allowing 14 pass plays of 40+ yards (2nd worst in NFL). 

The key here is clearly can the Cowboys run ball with Zeke Elliot and wear down an Eagles Defense missing numerous starters in the secondary?  With Prescott nursing a bad shoulder, no way they can expect to call 35+ passing plays and risk losing him on one bad hit. Dallas was built to run the ball and wear down opponents doing it. Dallas ran ball for 189 rushing yards in that first win, and I truly believe if you are Dallas, and you are going to sink or swim in a “Must win” game, you run the ball early and often, sprinkling in some nice “play action” when run game working and Eagles forced to load extra secondary man into the Box. 

Key INJURY LOSS:  Eagles will be without their best Offensive Lineman, OT Lane Johnson. He is not replaceable, as he is a beast and this is a huge loss for Wentz. The Eagles simply have 2 wideouts starting (Davis, Ward and Arcega-Whiteside) who have a combined 27 catches all season long. 

This game for the Eagles to win will be a game where we watch Wentz be Houdini scrambling and making just enough big plays to pull the win out. I’d expect TE Ertz to grab 10 catches as the Eagles must pass it faster without Lane Johnson in the lineup. New young RB Boston Scott has looked really good, so I’d look for him to get 15 carries here.

TOTALS TRENDS: Dallas has played 5 Overs and 2 Unders on the Road.  The Eagles played 5 Unders and 2 Overs, with their past 5 Home games all: “UNDERS”.

FINAL KICK:

Look neither team is really good, and neither is likely to go deep into the Playoffs. But for one day, in Philly, we will see two teams bang it out to grab a win and put a huge band aid on a season of bleeding. The Eagles are rarely a Dog at Home, but they are (0-2) in that department this season and an even worse (0-4) at Home when installed as a Dog vs. Dallas at the Link.

One good note is although temps in mid 40’s, wind shouldn’t be a problem and no snow either makes for a very fair playing field for two teams fighting for a Title. I hate both teams so I hope it ends in a Tie. 

Have a great Sunday with all your wagers in the NFL and Happy Holidays to you all as well.

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