Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (12/10/23)
The Dallas Cowboys (9-3) host their NFC East division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) on Sunday Night Football this week (12/10/23). Betting odds have the Cowboys as the favorites at -3.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 51.5 total points.
This article provides Eagles vs. Cowboys analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Cowboys -3.5.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Prediction & Best Bet
The once-vaunted Eagles are on the precipice of collapse.
In their 42-19 thrashing at the hands of the 49ers last week, San Francisco exploited the Eagles’ weaknesses that have been apparent for most of the season, but which they had been able to overcome up until that game. Those weaknesses – namely their poor pass defense and terrible tackling – were bound to catch up with them eventually.
Now the question is how quickly they can clean things up before their next big test against their heated division rival. If the Eagles lose this game, they will not only fall out of the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they will be at risk of tumbling all the way to the No. 5 seed. A Dallas victory would tie these teams in the standings, with Dallas temporarily holding the tiebreaker, but the Eagles would still win the division (and likely become the No. 2 seed) if they win the rest of their games.
With a few more tough matchups remaining at the Bills, at the Dolphins, and home against the Lions, the Cowboys cannot afford to lose this game if they want to win the NFC East.
The stakes could not possibly be higher for both teams.
Dallas probably should have won the game when these teams played back in week 9. The Eagles won by literal inches when a pair of Cowboys scoring plays in the 4th quarter were overturned on replay.
The Cowboys are undefeated at home this season and have won 14 consecutive home games; their last home loss was against Tom Brady’s Bucs in week 1 of last season. The Eagles have not won in Dallas since 2017 (although Jalen Hurts was out for this game last year). They also have not swept the Cowboys since 2011.
By nearly every statistical measure, the Cowboys are a better team right now and not only have home-field advantage but also have a rest advantage having not played since last Thursday. The best reason to pick the Eagles in this game is simply believing that they will bounce back from such a terrible performance and put together an inspired effort against their heated division rival. While that is certainly possible, it’s not a good reason to bet on them.
As of this writing, you can get even money for taking the Cowboys -3.5, and the value there is simply too good to pass up.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Prediction & Best Bet: Cowboys win 31-26 | Best Bet: Cowboys -3.5 (+100 at BetMGM)
Eagles vs. Cowboys Betting Odds
The Cowboys opened as the betting favorites in this game with a spread of -3.5 sitting just above the key number of 3. That line has dropped to -3 at some sportsbooks and could see some movement, so it’s worth monitoring.
The over/under is currently at 51.5 total points and has been as high as 53 at some sportsbooks. For context, the over/under in their previous matchup in week 9 was 46.5 points, and the game finished with 51 points scored.
The implied outcome of the current odds is the Cowboys winning 28-24.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Key Injuries
Remarkably, aside from players that have been on IR for several weeks already, neither of these teams has any players with significant injury questions.
The Eagles should be getting back some key players who missed the last game (LB Zach Cunningham) or the last several games (TE Dallas Goedert). Top CB Darius Slay popped up on the injury report Wednesday but does not currently seem to be at risk of missing this game.
The Cowboys have no starters or even key backups on the injury report.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Eagles vs. Cowboys below.
CeeDee Lamb vs. Eagles’ slot coverage
We highlighted this matchup in these teams’ previous meeting, and it ended up being one of the biggest factors in the game. Lamb went off for 11 catches on 16 targets for a career-high 191 yards. He is currently 2nd in the league in receiving yards (98.5 per game) and 3rd in receptions (7.5).
Lamb is currently leading the league in receiving yards from the slot for the second consecutive season, per data from Pro Football Focus. The Eagles have struggled to defend slot receivers all season after losing starting slot CB Avonte Maddox early in the season. They signed veteran Bradley Roby who has helped to provide some stability at that position, but it’s still an area of weakness that the 49ers exploited last week.
While Lamb is the Cowboys’ biggest threat, it’s also worth highlighting tight end Jake Ferguson, who had 7 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in the last game operating primarily out of the slot as well. The Eagles have struggled to defend tight ends this season, and it will be interesting to see if the addition of LB Shaq Leonard, who is expected to start in this game, can make an immediate impact on their pass defense over the middle of the field and particularly against tight ends.
If Dak Prescott carves up the Eagles’ pass defense the way he did last time (374 yards on 65.9% passing), the chances are high the outcome will be different this time.
A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith vs. Cowboys’ secondary
One of the lone bright spots for the Eagles against the 49ers was the play of their elite receiving duo of A.J. Brown (8 catches for 114 yards) and DeVonta Smith (9 for 96). Brown and Smith combined for 10 catches for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys in week 9.
Given the concerns about the Eagles’ defense right now, they will likely need to rely on their offense to win this game. The sensible strategy would be to lean on the running game against a Cowboys’ run defense that is 30th in success rate, and to use their ground attack to control the ball and keep their defense off the field.
However, the Eagles have struggled to run the ball recently and have been quick to abandon the run. So it’s likely that their success in this game will rest heavily on how well Jalen Hurts is connecting with Brown and Smith. Brown is certainly expecting a big bounce-back performance.
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) December 6, 2023