Dallas Cowboys -164 (+10.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles +145 (-10.5) : Total 42.5
The Cowboys season has become a complete paradox at this point. They limp into this game with their organization and talent pool in virtual tatters. The Cowboys have lost their best player, QB Dak Prescott, for the year, and have been so bad on defense that they are actually ahead of the all-time pace for points allowed per game in a single 16-game season. The 1981 Baltimore Colts own that record at 33.3 per game, by the way, but the Cowboys are set to challenge it this year as they enter Week 8 allowing 34.7 points per contest.
The news hasn’t gotten any better since the Cowboys lost Dak either as they now look like they’ll be forced into starting 7th round draft pick Ben Dinucci at QB this week after Andy Dalton was nearly decapitated in last week’s embarrassing 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team. Here’s the thing though, and the reason why we can’t just sit back and laugh at Dallas (yet) as they proceed to slump through a miserable season. They’re only a half-game out of first place in their division!
Yes, if the Cowboys win this game on Sunday Night, they will in fact own at least a share of first place in the NFC East. As of now, both the Eagles and Cowboys own just two wins each on the season–with the only difference being the Eagles tie they had back in Week 3 against Cincinnati. That brings us to Philly, whose poor season has really only gone under the radar due to the complete dumpster fire seasons that other teams in their division–mainly the Giants and Cowboys–have produced this year.
Philly enters this game off a somewhat lucky 22-21 win vs. NYG that they would have lost if Evan Engram could have simply caught a perfectly thrown deep shot late in the fourth quarter. While they enter this game as big favorites, the Eagles still have a multitude of injury issues at every skill position outside of QB on offense and aren’t set to get most of their big names back until after their bye in Week 9. Their own incompetence could very well make this game one worth watching till the very end.
From an Against the Spread perspective, Dallas has been a miserable target for bettors in 2020 going 0-7 ATS. Philly has also been a terrible investment though going 2-5 ATS. Going back to last season, the Eagles are now also 2-7 ATS as home favorites. Realistically, these two teams are so beaten down that we don’t get much from these trends this week.
- RB Miles Sanders (knee) – out
- WR Alshon Jeffery (knee) – out
- WR Jalen Reagor (thumb) – questionable
- TEs Zach Ertz (ankle) – out
- Dallas Goedert (ankle) – out
- QB Andy Dalton – doubtful
- G Zach Martin – questionable
- S Xavier Woods – questionable
- CB Chidobe Awuzie – questionable
- LB Sean Lee – questionable
Cowboys offense vs Eagles defense
Ben Dinnuci doesn’t seem likely to be the hero that Cowboy fans likely think they deserve this week. He struggled at PITT in his first year of college and transferred to the less competitive James Madison afterwards where he did put up nice numbers. Judging by how completely out uncomfortable he looked in the pocket against Washington, his best chance here to make an impact will likely come on the ground. Dinucci piled up 7 rushing TDs and 569 yards rushing in his last year at Madison, so potentially look for the Cowboys to use him in that area. The speed of the defenses in the NFL though suggest he won’t be as effective as a rusher at the pro level, but he could catch the Eagles off-guard if he chooses to take off a couple times.
Dinucci looked Amari Cooper’s way on two of his three passes and targeting the Cowboys best receiver here will likely be his best path to success thus Sunday Night. Philly does have Darius Slay back on defense to counter but have allowed five TDs to opposing WRs now in their last three games.
The Eagle’s pass rush here will likely be a big factor in how this game turns out. Philadelphia is now up to third in adjusted sack rate and sacks as a team on the year. Going up against an inexperienced pocket passer makes this a great matchup for an elite D-Line but with Dallas’ O-Line banged up and not as effective as they’ve been in past seasons, a complete massacre in the trenches here is possible. Dallas currently ranks just 18th in adjusted sack-rate allowed but will be getting back G Zach Martin for this game.
Dallas should be looking to run Ezekiel Elliott here a ton but he’s averaging just 4 ypc and will be going up against a strong Eagles D-Line. Perhaps Martin coming back will open up some holes here and that may be the only way that Dallas is able to keep this game close.
Eagles offense vs Cowboys defense
The Eagles were likely hoping to get at least some of their skill position players back this week, but look like they’ll again be starting third-stringers at wide receiver. Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham have actually looked competent over the last couple of weeks and have allowed the Eagles to score some points and at least keep games competitive. QB Carson Wentz is posting career lows in areas like Passer rating and INT-rate but he’s also thrown for multiple TDs now in three straight games.
The Eagles QB looks like a player who is trying to do too much at this point and the fact he’ll again be without RB Miles Sanders, to help cover his flaws, does pose the very real potential that Dallas’ defense comes to life here a bit. The Cowboys have been terrible on defense this year, producing just three turnovers on the season (last in the league) but they may be getting quite a few bodies back this week–including their best cornerback in Chidobe Awuzie and LB Sean Lee.
The additions here may not be enough to win the game for Dallas but it could keep this one interesting. The Eagles only managed 68 rush yards last week against the Giants and with Sanders out and Lee in, Dallas could have a chance at shutting down the run and forcing Wentz into some bad decisions. You still have to give Philly the edge here, but don’t be shocked if this Cowboys unit at least shows some life this week and makes this game interesting.
Game and prop bets
It’s really easy to beat up on the Cowboys, and for good reason. They are terrible. Even with Dak Prescott in the lineup they rate out so poorly on defense that their early-season lines were completely out of whack with how good they were as a team. That said, the spread here now properly represents how bad a team Dallas is, but perhaps doesn’t recognize how poor the Eagles have played.
Philly is just 2-7 ATS as home favorites the last two seasons and are now being asked to cover a -10.5 spread against an actual NFL team? They do carry the best of the four units on the field here (their defense) but the Cowboys have the weapons to potentially stifle their pass rush a bit if they can get Ezekiel Elliott moving and complete quick hitters to some of their WRs, who are all yards after the catch threats.
The public here is also all over the Eagles as over 60% of the bets right now are on the Eagles. Given the public narrative surrounding Dallas, I expect that number to grow before kickoff. As much as it stinks, the play here seems like the Cowboys. They’re getting healthy bodies back on defense and at O-Line and should be able keep this within 10-points.
Player prop bets
Ward has hit the over on this number in three of his last four games and with the Eagles still missing all their important pieces at receiver, it seems foolish not to take the over side on this bet. The WR has averaged 5-targets over the last four games and developed a nice chemistry with QB Carson Wentz. Dallas’ secondary has let two or more WRs hit 4-receptions (or more) in all but two of their games this year. With the Eagles also missing their best RB, expect Ward’s targets to remain steady here and for him to have a great shot at hitting the over here.
As mentioned above, Wentz is suffering through a pretty miserable season from a statistical perspective. His 10 INTs are tied for the league lead and he’s looked like a player who is trying to do too much with several of the Eagles other top skill players out. Dallas has been terrible at creating TO’s this year but get two pretty key players back on defense this week. The plus money offered here seems very worthwhile given Wentz’s record this year.