Cowboys vs. Eagles Odds & Predictions: Our Expert’s Monday Night Football Spread Pick
Getty Images. Pictured: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.
- Getting ready to bet on Monday Night Football? Find Cowboys vs. Eagles odds, including the spread and over/under, below.
- With the Cowboys listed as 3.5-point home favorites, where's the betting value on this primetime NFC East showdown?
- Our NFL betting expert reveals his Cowboys vs. Eagles spread pick in his full preview of this matchup below.
|Moneyline||+155 / -180|
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
We have an intriguing NFC East showdown in Jerry World on Monday night between a pair of 1-1 teams.
The Eagles came scorching out of the gates with a dominant road win in Atlanta, then dropped one at home against the 49ers. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have played in two thrillers that came down to the final seconds. In their season opener, they lost on a last-second field goal against the Bucs, but then bounced back in Los Angeles with a field goal of their own to get to .500.
Dallas and Philadelphia have split the season series in each of the past two years with the home team taking all four meetings by an average of 17.25 points. Will that trend continue on Monday Night Football? Let’s take a closer look.
Eagles Defense Solid Despite Injury
The Eagles could easily be 2-0. They simply ran into some bad luck (and self-inflicted wounds) in the first half against San Francisco last Sunday. They somehow trailed at the half, 7-3, despite averaging seven yards per play. And for the game, Philadelphia finished with more yards and averaged 1.5 more yards per play.
New offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has done well so far compensating for some of Jalen Hurts’ limitations as a quarterback. As a result, he has significantly decreased his turnover-worthy throw percentage, while also improving his accuracy by a wide margin compared to last season. Both of those are promising signs, especially when you consider Hurts can also make things happen with his legs. However, Hurts still needs to improve when it comes to going through his progressions and getting more comfortable throwing between the hashes.
Hurts does have another weapon to work with this season after the Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith in the first round. He also is working behind an offensive line that is in much better shape health-wise than last year. Although, the Eagles did lose star guard Brandon Brooks (now on IR) to an injury last game. Expect either rookie Landon Dickerson or Nate Herbig to take his place. This will undoubtedly result in a drop-off in the interior.
The defense is under the guidance of first-time coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who I think is one of the brightest minds in the NFL on that side of the ball. Coming into the season, I said multiple times this Eagles defense will be one of the most improved units in the NFL. A few key offseason additions certainly helped bolster the overall talent, especially on the back end. But more importantly, I thought Gannon would significantly elevate this D through scheme alone.
So far so good as Philadelphia’s defense has played at a top-10 level through the first two games. It’s truly a multiple defense that should befuddle opposing quarterbacks all season long.
Philly did lose a key defensive piece to injury last week in defensive end Brandon Graham, who will be sorely missed rushing from the left side of the defensive line. He potentially would’ve had a huge night against a Dallas team playing without star right tackle La’El Collins.
So, how will the Eagles replace Graham? It’s an interesting question. They could opt to start Ryan Kerrigan, but he’s 33 years old. The other option is to move either Josh Sweat or Derek Barnett, who primarily play from the right side, to the other side. You also might see more snaps for rookie Tarron Jackson and/or fellow rookie Milton Williams (who I love) get more run off the edge. The answer is probably a combination of all five.
They have enough capable bodies to at least somewhat compensate for the loss of Graham.
Dak Is Back For Cowboys
You can almost throw out last season’s offensive numbers for the Cowboys, who lost Dak Prescott and had to deal with a decimated offensive line throughout the year. The biggest question coming into the season for this unit was the health of Prescott.
Well, Dak is back and has quickly put all of those questions to rest as he’s looked great to start the year. It’s worth noting that he is relying on much shorter passes this year, ranking 26th in average depth of target (6.6 yards) out of 31 quarterbacks with at least 50 drop backs. That number was 9.8 and 8.3 in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Similar to the Eagles, the Cowboys’ O-line came into the season fully healthy as one of the best units in the entire league. However, right tackle La’El Collins’ suspension has left that unit a bit more vulnerable. His replacement Terence Steele is a major liability, especially in pass protection. In fact, of 70 offensive tackles with at least 50 blocking snaps over the first two weeks, Steele graded out 69th out of 70 in pass blocking, per PFF.
Also, the wide receiver group has taken a few recent hits. The reliable Michael Gallup recently hit IR, while Amari Cooper’s status remains unclear for Monday due to a rib injury. If Cooper can’t go in Week 3, it will severely hamper this offense as it does not have great depth at the position. Philadelphia could focus on simply taking away CeeDee Lamb.
The other issue with the Cowboys offense (and overall team) is it gave Ezekiel Elliott the bag. They have since compounded that problem by not understanding that it’s a sunk cost and continuing to feed him much more than Tony Pollard, who is the better option at running back in my opinion.
Per PFF, of the 40 backs with at least 15 carries over the first two weeks, only Nick Chubb graded out higher as a runner than Pollard. Elliott ranked 27th. And Pollard is averaging 3.5 yards after contact (fifth-best) compared to Tony Elliott’s 2.3 (32nd). When fully healthy, this is one of the NFL’s best offenses. However, they are a bit shorthanded right now and also hurting themselves a bit with play-calling.
On the other side of the ball, Dallas has a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn, who has seemingly evolved to a scheme perspective from his predominantly Cover 3 days. So far, Dallas is running mostly single-high safety man looks and two-safety zone looks. I’ll be closely monitoring that as the season goes on to build a profile on this Dallas defense.
The Cowboys have a mediocre-at-best defense, but they do have some interesting young pieces. I believe Trevon Diggs is on his way to becoming a top-10 cornerback in the league within two years. And speedy rookie Micah Parsons looks like a home run draft pick.
The defense has benefited from forcing six turnovers (three of which came in the red zone) through two games, which leads the NFL. That’s more than double what they averaged last year. And while they did pick up the pace in the second half of 2020 and have averaged 2.4 over their past nine games, that’s simply an unsustainable pace. This is still a unit that ranks 22nd in Football Outsiders’ overall DVOA.
Plus, the Cowboys defense won’t be at full strength on Monday. This unit already lost top pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore to injuries. And now it will be without starting defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, backup defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. and potentially starting nickel linebacker Keanu Neal (COVID-19). Not ideal.
I will be curious to see how Quinn utilizes the ultra-versatile Parsons, who actually lined up at defensive end last week against the Chargers and had a ton of success. We could see that again, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him used periodically as a spy on Hurts. Parsons’ sideline-to-sideline speed could really help contain Hurts in that aspect.
I still believe this Philadelphia defense remains undervalued in the market, which is why I’ve seen value on the Eagles and the under in three straight weeks. Gannon’s zone-heavy, multiple scheme will confuse opposing quarterbacks and prevent explosive plays, forcing teams to put together long drives to put points up on the board. The Cowboys offense is certainly capable of doing just that, but they are not at full strength.
These teams do both prefer to play on the faster side, but the total is a touch high and the spread should be no higher than Dallas -3, especially with home-field advantage dwindling with each passing season. Also, with an extra day to prepare, that gives an even bigger edge to Philadelphia since I see its coaching staff as clearly superior.
I’m taking the points in a game I fully expect to come down to the wire. I also dabbled on the under at 51.5 or better, but smaller as I still continue to gather data on penalties, crowd impact and fourth-down tendencies early on in the season.
Pick: Eagles +4 or better