Preview and pick for the MNF matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys
Well, after two weeks of the football season, we can conclude that the Philadelphia Eagles, who suffered from all kinds of injuries last season, are a more competitive side, and the drama that surrounded this franchise last season has been put to rest. But BetAnySports patrons might be wondering how they stack up against the best team in their own division.
Of course, that's assuming the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFC East. Perhaps we'll find out who the "beast of the East" is when these teams meet up at AT&T Stadium on Monday night. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. eastern time.
Remember a couple of things here: At BetAnySports, you'll get reduced juice so that you have more value in your wagering, and after this game kicks off, you can keep up with the action doing real-time wagering through the facilities of Ultimate Lines, Super Lines or Premier Lines.
I guess these are going to be the "Cardiac Cowboys," after two dramatic finishes to start the season. They got oh so close to beating the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the opener before losing on a last-second field goal, but then they got their own dramatic field goal at the final gun from Greg Zuerlein, who pumped it in from 56 yards to beat the Chargers. So far, the jury may still be out on whether Dallas can defend on a consistent basis.
Defending is something the Eagles have done pretty well through their first two games. According to official Drive Stats as they are compiled by the analytics site Football Outsiders, they are fifth best in the league in yards allowed for drive and fourth best in points allowed per drive. They have been pretty solid against the run, allowing just 3.8 yards per attempt, and they have faced a couple of quarterbacks in Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo who have taken their teams to the Super Bowl in the recent past.
But there appears to be some inconsistency on offense. They mustered only eleven points against the 49ers last Sunday, and Jalen Hurts may not be all the way there yet as a passer, as he completed just 12 of his 23 throws.
In the Monday Night Football odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Cowboys are favored at home, after spending their first two weekends on the road:
Dallas Cowboys -3.5 (- 105)
Philadelphia Eagles + 3.5 (-115)
Over 51.5 points - 110
Under 51.5 points - 110
We're not sure whether Dallas is going to abandon the run or not, as they did against Tampa Bay; that part of their attack did make a comeback against the Chargers, who play a defensive scheme that will allow opponents to move on the ground. They had 198 yards, 109 of them produced by Tony Pollard, who has developed into quite a compliment for Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard is currently averaging 7.7 yards per carry.
The Cowboys have a great trio of wide receivers. But of course, Michael Gallup got injured in the opener and for the time being he is not available. No worries; Amani Cooper and CeeDee Lamb have combined for three touchdowns and 348 yards on the other end of Dak Prescott's passes. Prescott encountered some concerns about whether he could come back quickly after missing most of last season with a broken ankle, but he has completed 76.5% of his passes, and he has not been afraid to take short gains over big chunks.
You know it's kind of interesting; when we take a look at this Philadelphia offense, it might appear as if they are lacking weapons. But if you break it down, there is the capability to do a lot more. First-year head coach Nick Sirianni came over from Indianapolis, where he was the offensive coordinator, and he ran a pretty efficient unit there under Frank Reich, who if you recall, was Philadelphia's O-coordinator when they won the Super Bowl.
The Eagles had plenty of injuries along the offensive line last year, playing 14 different combinations, an NFL record. And Carson Wentz was more or less a sitting duck in the pocket.
That's not the case with Hurts, who is pulling the ball down and running with it a lot. The Eagles have 324 rushing yards, and Hurts has accounted for 144 of them.
Even with the OL problems last season, Philly was able to run the ball pretty well, especially when it was in Miles Sanders' hands, as he averaged 5.3 yards per carry. And Hurts, who got experience as a rookie and now has the respect of the locker room, could neutralize pass rushes.
This is not an offense that throws predominantly to the tight end, as it had in the recent past. But Sirianni was pretty good with his tight ends in Indianapolis, so we are going to assume that Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are going to find their place. Hurts spreads it around to other people, with Jalen Reagor and Devonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner, who is bound to improve on his 16 yards from last Sunday.
And the guy to keep an eye on, perhaps, is Quez Watkins, who had 117 yards last week against San Francisco, including a 91-yard hookup where he was running almost 22 miles per hour, which is the fastest of any player in the NFL this season with a football in their hands. So he's going to be a scary proposition for Dallas to deal with.
One thing that's important about Hurts is that he has not thrown an interception yet. His mobility counts for something, and his offensive line can't help but be more stable than it was last season.
This is possibly a bigger test for the Philadelphia stop unit then it was the first two weeks. We know that trends favor Dallas, as they have covered twelve of their last 14 laying more than two points within their own division. But we are going to opt for a totals play instead. We expect these offenses to come alive, as we go OVER the total of 51.5 points.
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