While today’s Sunday Night Football game may not feature teams with great winning records, the battle between the NFC East’s 2-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles and 2-5 Dallas Cowboys offers some intriguing storylines nevertheless (8.20pm ET Sunday; TV: Live on NBC).
Such is always the case when these two rivals go head-to-head, even if nothing tangible is on the line. However, tonight, given the woes of this division so far, these teams are indeed fighting for something more than just their pride. Here are our Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles predictions and full NFL game preview, with betting picks at the conclusion.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?
Much has been made of the NFC East’s absolutely abhorrent and abysmal first half of the 2020 season and with good reason. Garnering the moniker of the NFC Least, the East has been this year’s worst division and one of the sorriest divisions of all time. In fact, the division has been so bad, that here we are, in week eight, and the East is currently being led by a two-win team. That is the Eagles, who by nature of a tie earlier in the year to the Cincinnati Bengals, hold a half game lead over the Washington Football Team, who are on a bye this week.
The Cowboys, who once led the division themselves with two wins not all that long ago, have been stuck on that number due to back-to-back losses by a combined total of 50 points. Dallas is on their third-string quarterback and their defense is performing at historic lows. Yet a win on Sunday puts them right back in the driver’s seat of this division.
It sounds crazy but that is how bad the East has been this year. Early metrics predicted that at worst, this division could send a four-win team to the playoffs, something that simply sounds unheard of. At best, should the Eagles run the table, the division could send an 11-4-1 team to host a postseason game. That record would be entirely respectable but it would involve winning each of their remaining nine games, which is all but impossible.
It is being predicted that the winner of the East lands more around six or even seven wins, the former of which would mark the first time a six-win team has made the playoffs since the merger. With a benchmark so low and plenty of divisional games remaining, that’s why the East is still winnable to a trio of two-win teams and the one-win New York Giants, at this the midway point of the season.
Carson Wentz vs Ben DiNucci
As is the case every year when the schedule comes out, fans circle the first Dallas game on their calendars as normally one of the bigger games all year. However, I’m not sure any fan on either side of the rivalry could have predicted the state of affairs the two teams would be in when meeting this year, given the lofty preseason expectations of both franchises.
Injuries have plagued these squads, with Philadelphia especially being hit at the skill player level. They have lost top wide receivers, tight ends and their running back (not to mention the entire offensive line) in just a matter of months. Through it all, one constant has remained for Philadelphia: Carson Wentz.
Wentz has not been having his best year no matter which way you look at it. He has made some uncharacteristically bad plays, has turned the ball over entirely too much, and just hasn’t looked sharp for the bulk of this campaign.
When the Eagles have needed greatness from No. 11, they have gotten it in stride. Despite Wentz’ overall struggles, at times, he has been downright exceptional, showing flashes of the guy Philly knows him to be. Those glimpses are growing as the season does, with Wentz making less mistakes and instead finding more accuracy with his throws and decision-making as the weeks have gone on. The Eagles are slowly but surely getting healthier with one of Wentz’s top weapons, Jalen Reagor, expected back against Dallas to face off against fellow rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, a player who the Cowboys leap-frogged the Eagles in the draft to get.
Through all the ups and downs, Wentz has kept his resolve and has been a leader the Eagles have needed. He has been the field general and he has been on the field, which is more than the Cowboys can say for their signal callers. While most anticipated a showdown of same year draft picks, Wentz and Dak Prescott, that won’t materialize this year. Prescott, who was having a fantastic season despite the Cowboys’ struggles, was injured a few weeks ago and ruled out for the season.
That opened the door for Andy Dalton, in his first year as back-up in Big D, to take the reins. Only Dalton’s own time as starter lasted merely a week as against Washington, he suffered an illegal targeting hit that has him ruled out of action this week and led to him leaving the game under concussion protocol. So enter rookie Ben DiNucci, Dallas’ fifth round draft choice.
DiNucci finished last week’s game off for Dalton and looked, at best, like a rookie quarterback who was still finding his footing. With a week of first team reps under his belt, will DiNucci find some magic?
It’s not unheard of for teams to find success with starting quarterbacks later in the draft. Just look at the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson, who was also a fifth-round pick and now is one of the best in the NFL and could well be headed to an MVP trophy this year. DiNucci may not be the next Wilson but he could certainly endear himself to many a Cowboys’ fan if he leads Dallas to a win over the Eagles under the Sunday night lights.
Our Preview’s Cowboys vs Eagles Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
The Birds vs the Boys with the East on the line. In some ways, this feels like any other season of recent memory. Yet one look at the combined four wins of the two teams entering week eight, tells an entirely different tale. When NFL schedule makers slotted this game for primetime, they too likely never expected that would be the case. It’s still Philly vs Dallas and that means there is national value to this game. The woes of the East will be on full display but after tonight, perhaps one of these two teams will turn a definitive corner.
According to the major leading sports betting sites for American bettors, that team would be Philly as the Eagles are a whopping 11-point favorites in this NFL matchup. There are a few reasons for the high spread, namely Dallas’ QB situation and the fact the game will be played in Philly. There may only be some 7,500 fans in attendance but any sort of crowd atmosphere against the Cowboys is meaningful.
Dallas have lost their last two games by 28 and 22 points respectively and that was with their second-string signal caller so a spread this large shouldn’t feel out of place given this week it’s the third string guy taking the reins. So, mindful of everything discussed in this preview, these are our Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles predictions and concluding picks for this football game:
- It is not USAbetting’s favorite pick this week given large spreads are tough to call, but take the Eagles to cover as Dallas’ defense is atrocious and shouldn’t give Wentz any problems at home. Bet Philly -11pts @ best odds of -110 with Intertops. It is -113 with BetOnline and -115 with Bookmaker and Bovada, all for the same spread.
- The total points is also pretty low at 43pts. Again however, Dallas has scored just 13 points combined in their last two games meaning Philly would have to do the yeoman’s work to hit that number. While the Eagles’ offense does seem to be improving, that number still feels a bit high. So take the under 43pts @ -115 with Bovada or Intertops. It is under 42.5pts with the others.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.