Cowboys vs. Eagles Odds, Picks, Predictions: An Expert Guide To Betting This Saturday Night NFC East Showdown
Getty Images. Pictured: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
Update: Jalen Hurts has been ruled as inactive for the Eagles’ showdown with the Cowboys on Saturday night, moving this spread from Cowboys -3.5 to as high as -6 (check real-time NFL odds here).
Hurts’ status has minimal impact on our expert’s predictions for this game, though. Find his picks and which numbers he’d bet them to below.
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
The Cowboys and Eagles will meet on Saturday night in Philadelphia for a clash of two playoff-bound teams. This game could have had a lot more intrigue if there was more on the line for either team, but now questions linger about who might play on either side — each team also has COVID issues, which complicates this game even further.
Before we dive deeper into each team’s situation and assess this matchup from a betting perspective, let’s take a look at where these NFC East foes stand in the current NFL playoff picture.
Dallas has already clinched the division title, which means it will host a wild-card game no matter what happens this week. The Cowboys currently hold the No. 4 seed, where they’re most likely to finish at the end of the weekend. If that’s the case, they will host either the Cardinals or Rams, depending on which of those teams wins the NFC West.
However, if Dallas wins and other factors break its way, it could move up to as high as the No. 2 seed.
If the Cowboys win but the Cardinals and Rams both lose on Sunday, Dallas will move up to the No. 3 seed. And if the Bucs also lose, the Cowboys would ascend to the No. 2 seed, setting up a rematch with the Eagles next week. But the Bucs’ result would be meaningless if either the Rams or Cardinals win, which would lock the Cowboys into the No. 4 seed.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have also clinched a postseason berth and currently hold the No. 7 seed in the NFC standings. If the season ended today, they would travel to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the Bucs. The Eagles would remain as the No. 7 seed with either a Saints loss or 49ers win, but they would move up to the No. 6 seed if the Saints win and 49ers lose.
An Eagles victory only matters if both the 49ers and Saints lose. In that scenario, the Eagles would move up to the No. 6 seed and most likely still travel to Tampa Bay, which is their most-likely first-round opponent by a wide margin.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Cowboys vs. Eagles Injury Report
- CB Trevon Diggs (illness): Out
- S Jayron Kearse (hamstring): Out
- RB Tony Pollard (foot): Out
- S Donovan Wilson (illness): Questionable
- RB Miles Sanders (hand): Out
- OL Landon Dickerson (thumb): Questionable
- T Lane Johnson (rest/knee): Questionable
Cowboys vs. Eagles Matchup
|Cowboys Offense||DVOA Rank||Eagles Defense|
|Cowboys Defense||DVOA Rank||Eagles Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Cowboys Offense Has Tailed Off
Dallas (11-5) won the NFC East with relative ease in large part due to domination within the division. With a victory on Saturday night, the Cowboys would finish 6-0 in the division. That would include a season sweep of the Eagles, who got blasted 41-21 in Arlington earlier this season.
The Cowboys defense has arguably been the most surprising unit in the entire NFL. Yes, it has benefited from some turnover luck and good fortune in regard to non-offensive touchdowns, but this is still a unit that ranks No. 1 in the league in DVOA.
Rookie Micah Parsons, who is in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year, has been an integral part of Dallas’ defensive resurgence. He’s been spectacular at generating pressure from all over the field, but won’t be suiting up on Saturday due to COVID, leaving the Cowboys very thin at linebacker.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn also deserves plenty of credit, especially for evolving his scheme from his old Cover 3 tendencies. Dallas still remains a bit vulnerable against the run, and Trevon Diggs — who leads the league in interceptions and receiving yards allowed — can be beat with double moves, but this unit has enough juice to make the Cowboys a legit Super Bowl contender.
The Cowboys offense still remains a top-10 unit that oozes with potential, but it’s actually been trending down in the second half of the season. That has to be the biggest concern for head coach Mike McCarthy and Co.
Since Week 9, the Cowboys offense ranks a very pedestrian 16th in EPA per play and a subpar 21st in Success Rate. The rushing attack has suffered the most, ranking 26th or worse in both aforementioned statistical categories.
I’m not sure if it’s simply a late-season lull or if offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is holding things back in the playbook, but the offense looks off as of late. Over that same stretch, Dak Prescott ranks 22nd out of 39 quarterbacks (min. 100 plays) in EPA+CPOE composite, per RBSDM.
If the offense can right the ship in the postseason, the Cowboys are real threats to win it all.
Eagles Clean Up On Poor Competition
After starting the season 3-6, the Eagles have won six of seven to clinch a spot in the dance.
It took some time to get things going with a brand new staff, but the rush offense has been elite all season, ranking in the top four in both EPA per Rush and Success Rate. Also, the defense has continued to improve as the season has progressed under coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who likes to use a lot of zone looks with a focus on eliminating explosive plays. The Eagles are also very strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Overall, the Eagles are a slightly above-average team with some deficiencies in pass coverage and with Jalen Hurts’ ability in the passing game. They’ve also benefited from a very favorable schedule of opposing quarterbacks.
Take a look at the quarterbacks they’ve defeated in their nine wins this season:
- Matt Ryan
- Sam Darnold
- Jared Goff
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Trevor Siemian
- Zach Wilson
- Garrett Gilbert
- Mike Glennon
- Taylor Heinicke
Not exactly a murderer’s row. And unless the Saints sneak into the postseason, the Eagles will have zero wins over 2021 playoff teams.
Whenever the Eagles stepped up in class against opposing quarterbacks, things haven’t gone as well. They have losses to Prescott, Brady, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Daniel Jones.
I like what the Eagles are building, and their ground game will play on the road in the postseason, but I don’t see them making a deep run this postseason. Then again, you never know what can happen in a one-and-done scenario.
Just order up a double-doink and a Philly Special and who knows where you’ll end up in a league full of parity?
Cowboys vs. Eagles Predictions
This is a very tough game to handicap since we are essentially guessing who is going to play for each team and for how long. You also have the added factor of both dealing with COVID, throwing another wrench into the equation.
The Eagles had 12 players who either started or contributed on the COVID list this week, including defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, center Jason Kelce, tight ends Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll, running backs Jordan Howard and Boston Scott, safeties Rodney McLeod and Marcus Epps, linebackers Genard Avery and Alex Singleton, cornerback Avonte Maddox and guard Nate Herbig. My assumption is none of those players will give it a go in a fairly meaningless game.
So, how about the other starters? Well, Hurts and DeVonta Smith have indicated they would like to play, but the tea leaves suggest head coach Nick Sirianni will sit everyone who is important. Again, there’s no way to know for sure, but that’s my best guess.
The opposite may hold true for the Cowboys — although they are also dealing with COVID, which will keep three starters out of the lineup (Micah Parsons, Tyron Smith, Anthony Brown).
However, McCarthy came out and said he’ll play his starters in an attempt to win this game.
I can see that for a few reasons:
- Dallas wants to gain some momentum after last week’s loss.
- It wants to get its offense going after sputtering late in the season.
- McCarthy rested his starters in Green Bay in 2011, which backfired. That could create bias.
- The Cowboys rested starters in the final week of the 2017 regular season (Prescott’s rookie year) and then lost their first playoff game.
Therefore, my best guess is the Cowboys at least play their starters in the first half. I could see them easily pulling guys in the second half, especially if they build a big lead.
It’s hard to say who will play for the Eagles, but they do have a very capable backup quarterback in Gardner Minshew. He should be able to make some things happen against a Cowboys defense that will be without two starting cornerbacks and Parsons. Meanwhile, I’d imagine Prescott and Co. should move the ball with relative ease if the Eagles decide to sit their starters.
I would make this game closer to a pick’em if both teams were at full strength. However, given all of the circumstances, I have adjusted Dallas up based on who I think will play for both sides.
I bet the Cowboys to cover the first half and would up to -3. I also dabbled on the over, which I’d play up to 44. That said, given all of the uncertainty, I wouldn’t recommend betting anything big in this particular game.
- Pick: Over 43 | Bet to: 43
- Pick: Cowboys 1H -2.5 | Bet to: -3
|More Cowboys-Eagles Odds, Picks, Trends|