A breakdown and pick for Christmas Eve football - Eagles at Cowboys
This is the NFC East at its best, the 13-1 Philadelphia Eagles visiting the 10-4 Dallas Cowboys, While the division race is coming to its end, it hasn't been clinched. It will be one of these teams - the Iggles or America’s Team? As per NFL odds, Dallas is a touchdown favorite (total at 46½).
These two teams are, obviously, getting their share of support to win the title, Philadelphia priced at +450, Dallas at +1000, according to Super Bowl odds.
Philly Out to Clinch Division
The Eagles have not looked this good since winning that Doug Pederson-Nick Foles Super Bowl. This version is even better, though sluggish in beating the Chicago Bears last week. Quarterback Jalen Hurts' 315 passing yards. He didn't have a passing touchdown, but ended with three touchdowns on the ground. AJ Brown had nine catches (181 yards).
Back to Hurts, and the one minor issue that may impact the Eagles Christmas Eve. He suffered a sprained right (throwing) shoulder in Chicago and won't play, so it's Gardner Minshew getting the start. While limited duty in three games this season, Minshew has had previous success in Jacksonville and last season with Philadelphia. Philly’s defense produced a pair of Pro Bowlers, Hasson Reddick and Darius Slay.
With no Hurts, the Eagles’ goal is to dominate time of possession. The Cowboy run defense has been lackluster this season, the pass defense has not distinguished itself since cornerback Anthony Brown’s season-ending (Achilles) injury.
Cowboys Lax in Jax
So, last week was a tough loss for America's Team, putting it mildly. Blowing a late lead in Jacksonville as the game went to overtime, a bobbled Dak Prescott-to-Noah Brown pass resulted in a pick-six losing effort. A poor performance by the Cowboys, insisting that they were not looking ahead to this game. Out of sync coming after halftime, they struggled on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Dak Prescott (17 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) has thrown seven picks in his last four games. And the defense surrendered a season-high 40 points against the Jaguars.
If you’re counting, Dallas has seven Pro Bowl selections (Tony Pollard, Ceedee Lamb, Zack Martin, Demarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs and Kavonte Turpin). It's a consistently-good roster awaiting the Hurts-less Eagles Saturday afternoon.
Dallas can not afford to lose here
Cowboys on Christmas Eve
Dallas lost by nine points to the Eagles in the beginning of the season with backup Cooper Rush at quarterback. This will be a different story, as it's the Eagles with the understudy quarterback.
The Cowboys had their first bad defensive game of the season last week, so the plan here will be to pounce on Minshew and force turnovers.
It's a bit strange getting a touchdown with the league's best team, but no Hurts changes the narrative. Expect a 24-17 Dallas victory, keeping its NFC East title hopes alive at least another week. Since we’re predicting a seven-point outcome in a seven-point game, go under here.