Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) vs. Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
Sunday, 8:30 pm EDT at AT&T Stadium, Dallas
Spread: Cowboys -4.5
The Philadelphia Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl! Well, perhaps that’s a bit of an overreaction, but it’s hard to not be impressed with the way this Eagles defense plays against some of the top teams in the country. Less discussed in the week after a good win against the Vikings and former Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was just how bad Carson Wentz looked in the victory. Granted, it was against the best defense in football (by points allowed), and Wentz is still a rookie, but the offense has been in a funk and didn’t look much better against Washington – a decent, but by no means great defense. The Dallas Cowboys also lack an imposing defense, so Wentz should have more success against a sub-par secondary this week. The matchup to watch will be the Cowboys elite offensive line versus the Eagles elite defensive line. The defense has been the difference in the big games Philly has won, thus far, and it will again be the deciding factor on Sunday Night Football in Dallas. Can Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox force rookie stud QB Dak Prescott into turnovers and bad decisions? Can the linebacking corps keep Prescott contained when there is pressure? Can anyone in the Eagles secondary effectively defend a healthy Dez Bryant? Oh, and that Ezekiel Elliot kid ain’t bad, either. It won’t be easy, and either way, fans will learn a lot about this Eagles football team tonight.
As we await kickoff, here are the predictions from the football minds here at Pattison Avenue and what we’ll be watching throughout the game – please follow and harangue them on twitter dot com:
I don’t have a good feeling about this one. Whether we like it or not, Dallas appears to be the most consistent team in the NFC. They’re running the same blueprint from 2014 – dominate with the run game and keep the defense off the field as much as possible. If the Cowboys get a lead, I really worry about Ezekiel Elliott taking on this defensive line sans Bennie Logan. Logan wasn’t missed last week because the Vikings were playing 2nd stringers at running back and on the offensive line, but the Cowboys are a totally different animal. The Eagles just don’t have the weapons on offense to get into a shootout yet and I don’t think the defense can limit the Dallas offense enough to win. COWBOYS 27-21
I can’t read this game. Heart says Eagles, head says Cowboys, and Vegas is just screwing with us. Here are the positives: a rookie Dallas quarterback hasn’t beaten an Eagles team in ages. Dak Prescott is due to have a bad/rookie game. The Cowboys are coming off a bye and the Eagles have shown that coming off a bye for or against them, is not good. Now here’s the bad: the Cowboys are coming off a bye. Prescott is playing great football and he gets Dez Bryant back. As you can see, I’m just posturing here. So, I’m going to cheat the system and take both teams. If you’re betting, take the Eagles +4.5. If you’re picking the game outright, pray that my reverse jinx goes to 3-0 on the season. Dallas, 23-21
The Eagles love to follow up a big win with a dud (see the Detroit game). The Birds’ defensive line needs to show up big to get the win tonight, but Wentz also needs his receivers to pick him up a little bit, as well. There’s a reason rumors about Alshon Jeffery and Torey Smith are swirling right now, and it’s has something to do with the leading receiver on the Eagles – Jordan Matthews – having just 25 receptions going into week 8. I expect Wentz to play better this week, but I have a sinking feeling that it won’t be enough. Cowboys 34-27
I am of a virtual two minds this week for this pick. On the Birds side they have one of the best special teams in the league (lead the NFL with a 38.7 average on nine kickoff returns and have the only two kick returns for touchdowns) , but they are also one of the worst teams in regards to penalties (10.2 penalties per game, 3rd worst in the league), something I have railed about ad-nauseum in these pages. On the Cowboys side rookies QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliot – much like the Birds Carson Wentz – have not played like first year guys, but then again on defense they have only 11 sacks on the year and four came against the Bengals. Only the Lions are worse. The thing that really makes me go back and forth on this pick is that the Eagles have beaten the teams they should not have, and vice verse the last few weeks. For this last point alone, I am going to pick the Eagles this week in a thriller – which being a Prime Time game with a reffing crew that has tossed the most yellow in the league (average 20.3 penalty flags per game) , this old head will most likely not see the end of. Eagles 24-21
Eagles are coming off a huge win over Vikings so momentum should be high. The defense and special teams are amazing under God himself Jim Schwartz. Carson had been having some trouble while Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott has been on fire. Ryan Mathews has made huge mistakes and Ezekiel Elliot has been unstoppable for the Boys (which my fantasy team loves). Dez Bryant also comes back this week. The officials have been truly against the birds and the refs this week are flag-happy. My hope is for a high scoring game so the Eagles will win and Zeke will put up points so I can win this week. Eagles, 24-21
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