Eagles vs Cowboys – NFL Pick for November 19th
- Spread: Eagles -4 1/2
These are strange times for the Dallas Cowboys. The team is still 5-4 and in second place in the competitive NFC East, but things seem to be trending in the wrong direction. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott is suspended for the next 5 games. Left tackle Tyron Smith is set to miss his second straight game with groin and back problems. Sean Lee, who left last week’s game after injuring his hamstring, won’t play in this one, either. Oh, and the team’s owner, Jerry Jones, is currently in the midst of a war of words with the rest of the league’s owners regarding the contract status of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Fun!
Let’s not forget that last week, without Elliott or Smith on the field, the Cowboys were pummeled 27-7 by a Falcons team that hasn’t exactly been lighting it up so far this season. Frankly, the 20-point margin of defeat didn’t do justice to just how badly Dallas was outclassed on the field last Sunday.
High Flying Eagles
The ‘Boys will be back at home this Sunday night, but they’ll face a far tougher opponent with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town. Few had the Eagles pegged for great things before the season began, but Philly is off to a flying 8-1 start. Not only is that the best record in the NFL, but the Eagles also hold a cushy 3-game lead over Dallas in the NFC East.
The Eagles have been racking up wins on the broad shoulders of Carson Wentz. The former No. 2 overall pick has taken a massive step forward in his second pro campaign. Through 9 games, Wentz has completed better than 60 percent of his throws for 2,262 yards with 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. As a rookie, Wentz finished with just 16 touchdown passes along with 14 picks.
While it seems as though the Eagles could go into cruise control after an 8-1 start, this is a game they can’t really afford to lose. The Cowboys are wounded right now, and Philly needs to take advantage, especially because this is a great opportunity to snag yet another win on the road.
After this game and next week’s tilt with the lowly Bears, the Eagles’ schedule gets quite a bit tougher. 4 of the Eagles’ last 5 games of the season will come against the Seahawks, Rams, Raiders and Cowboys. Dallas will have Elliott (and, presumably, Smith) back by the time these teams tangle again in Week 17.
Cowboys’ Porous Offensive Line
Smith may be the biggest missing piece for Dallas this week. The All-Pro left tackle was sorely missed last week, to say the least. His replacement, Chaz Green, surrendered a whopping 6 sacks in a little over 3 quarters of action against the Falcons. It got so ugly that Green was replaced with Byron Bell, who promptly gave up another one. The Falcons had 8 sacks against the Cowboys’ makeshift offensive line. Bell is likely to start over Green this week, but the Eagles’ defense is no joke. Philly is tied for 10th in the league with 25 sacks on the season.
While picking up a win here would obviously be huge for Dallas, they do have a favorable upcoming schedule. 2 of their next 3 games will come against the struggling L.A. Chargers and New York Giants, who are a combined 4-14 so far this year.
While random things seem to happen in the NFL more than they do in other leagues, it’s hard to imagine the downtrodden Cowboys sticking with a team playing with the confidence the Eagles are at the moment. It also helps that Philadelphia is coming off a bye this week, so they’ve had 2 weeks to get ready for this one.
Sacks are drive-killers. If Dallas can actually keep Dak Prescott upright, they have a chance at keeping this game competitive. Based on last week, though, there’s no telling how the offensive line is going to hold up. If they’re opening the floodgates to Philly’s pass rush the way they were in Atlanta last week, it could be another long night for Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense.
It’s a risk, but Philly’s -4.5 looks pretty favorable in this spot. This is an offense that has put 283 points on the board through 9 games which is the second-most in the league. The Eagles have scored at least 30 points in 3 straight games and in 4 of their last 5.