The Eagles (4-4) enter the second half coming off the bye after a convincing 24-18 win over the Jaguars in London to climb back to .500.
They had an extra week to lick their wounds and bolster their offense for a second-half run with the NFC East well within reach. They traded for veteran receiver Golden Tate, a big-play specialist, to spice up an offense that’s averaged about a touchdown fewer per game than last year’s Super Bowl team.
The Eagles are in the driver’s seat to repeat as division champs. With a win against the Giants already under their belts, the Eagles have five division games remaining, starting Sunday night against Dallas at home. Three of the Eagles’ next four games are at home, where the Eagles’ defense is typically stingier.
These are desperate times for the Lone Stars. They’re coming off a deflating 28-14 home loss to the Titans on Monday night to fall two games under .500 and have a short turnaround to prepare for an Eagles team that’s had an extra week to rest and prepare for them.
Head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan are under fire for presiding over an offense that ranks 26th in points scored, 27th in yards per game, 29th in passing yards and 28th on third down.
Cowboys quarter Dak Prescott has been sacked more per pass attempt than any other starting quarterback in the league, an indictment of both Prescott’s acumen and an offensive line that’s struggled to compensate for injuries.
On the flip side, the Dallas defense ranks in the top 10, buoyed by an impressive four-man rush that starts with All Pro defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and by a secondary that’s played very well.
The Eagles were hoping to finally get Darren Sproles back from a hamstring injury that’s sidelined him for seven straight games.
But the veteran running back aggravated the injury Wednesday in practice and is expected to be sidelined again, leaving the team without a true third-down back and return specialist.
Even worse, the Eagles waived backup returner DeAndre Carter, who was claimed by the Texans. Left cornerback Jalen Mills is likely out with a foot injury, thrusting Rasul Douglas into a starting spot.
Both are tall, physical corners who lack elite speed. Douglas is better at getting his hands on the ball but will struggle against top-end speed receivers. Right tackle Lane Johnson sprained his MCL against the Jags but is expected to play. He’ll have his hnads full against Demarcus Lawrence.
For the Cowboys, they’ll be without Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Titans. The Cowboys are accustomed to missing Lee, who’s been injured often throughout his career, but they’re not the same defensively without him.
Rookie first-rounder Leighton Vander Esch will have to replace Lee. On the offensive line, the Cowboys are rotating two backup guards in practice to find a starter in place of injured left guard Connor Williams.
Scat back Tavon Austin has been out of practice with a groin injury and three rotational defensive linemen are nursing injuries that clouds their status. Tight end Geoff Swaim (knee), a good blocker, is also uncertain.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
888Sport has the Eagles as a 7-point favorite, and in their five losses, the Cowboys’ average margin of defeat is just under eight points.
However, three of their five have come by at least eight points and two by double digits.
They don’t match up well against the Eagles because they lean so heavily on Ezekiel Elliott and the run game but the Eagles have the NFL’s second-ranked run defense and haven’t allowed a running back other than Saquon Barkley to gain more than 42 yards against them.
The Cowboys must avoid falling behind early because they haven’t shown they can pass their way back into a game. They’ve held double-digit leads going into the third quarter in all three of their wins.
It’s hard to see them taking a sizeable lead against the Eagles in Philadelphia going into the third quarter when they’re struggling to move the ball in the air, especially with the Eagles’ ability to dominate the trenches with their pass rush. Take the Eagles -7 with 888Sport.
The Cowboys are hardly road warriors, so the 17.5 points at 888Sport is appealing. In four road games this year they’ve averaged 13.5 points per game and haven’t exceeded 17 points in any of them.
With their injuries on the offensive line, the Cowboys will struggle to protect Prescott, who averages just 207 yards per game and has thrown just 10 touchdowns in eight games. Newly acquired receiver Amari Cooper can make plays downfield but Prescott is averaging just 7 yards per attempt, below his career average.
Last year, the Cowboys and Eagles played one meaningful game in which starters played the entire game. Dallas scored nine points at home. Bet Cowboys under 17.5 points with 888Sport.
Backing the Eagles to win the opening half and a first-half total under 21 is +155 and a good bet with Karamba. This year’s trend suggests the Eagles will be leading going into the locker room but won’t have 21 points.
The Eagles have held the first-half lead in five of their past six games but are averaging just under 10 points per first half for the season. They’re a much strong second-half team offensively.
The Eagles also haven’t scored more than 10 first-half points in their past two games and have scored 10 or fewer first-half points in seven of eight games this year. Hard to see that pattern not continuing against the Cowboys.
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