Frustration, if you were to sum the Cowboys and Eagles’ season up in one word that would be it. With so much promise and hope coming into this year for both teams it is disappointing for them to be where they’re currently at. In fact, both of these squads figured to be going head-to-head down the stretch for a chance at the NFC East crown. With both teams tied at 3-5 and the Giants at 6-3, the door is slowly closing on both clubs. Needless to say this is an absolute must win for both sides. It will already be difficult enough to come back and win the division from 3-5, but 3-6 will be a near impossible task. The Eagles will be in the comfort of their own home after a bad loss against the Saints in the Super Dome, 28-13. We all know how bad the Saints offense is and the Eagles still couldn’t do anything offensively. Unacceptable for a team that has Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy on their roster. Not to mention receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin who have been non-existent so far in 2012.
The Cowboys aren’t without their troubles either, as it seems like they keep suffering heart breaking after heart breaking loss. The latest bad beat came last week against the Atlanta Falcons who they played tough in a 19-13 loss. Not only was it a tough loss for the Cowboys, but people that had Cowboys +4 felt the sting as well. The problem hasn’t been the defense, because they have been extremely impressive. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has the unit firing on all cylinders heading into the latter half of the season. Tony Romo on the other hand has cost this team a few victories. Two weeks ago against the Giants should have been an easy victory, but the Cowboys were denied after Dez Bryant caught a potential game winning touchdown with a finger out of bounds. Romo turned the ball over four times in that contest, including a pick-6 in the first half. The running game has been inadequate as well since DeMarco Murray went down to injury. Felix Jones has definitely lost a step in 2012. He is a solid third down option, but expecting Jones to carry the full load is a big task. Jones currently has only 207 yards with a putrid 25.9 yards per game. Even though Romo has been erratic with the football, the Cowboys best chance at winning games is putting it in his hands.
The Eagles have gotten below average outings from their offense as well, but they don’t have the kind of defense to rely on that the Cowboys do. They were doing fairly well early on in the season, but as the season progresses they continue to get worse. They have allowed 26, 30, and 28 points in their last three games. I expect this trend to go on as the Eagles’ season continues to take a nose dive. Once a top-10 unit, they have plummeted to 15th, allowing 343 yards per game. Defending the pass or run doesn’t particularly stick out as they are 14th and 16th in those departments.
For the Eagles’ standards, the offense has been downright horrid. They may average 373 yards a game (10th), but the only category that matters is points scored and that has been abysmal, scoring only 16.6 points a game. The Cardinals and Jaguars are the only teams worse than 16.6. Consider the teams that are scoring more than the Eagles: the Chiefs, Browns, Panthers, Rams, and Colts. The Eagles were expected to be in the top-5 in scoring, not bottom 5.
Cowboys vs. Eagles Spread and Betting Odds:
Dallas Cowboys -2 (-115)
@Philadelphia Eagles +2(-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Cowboys vs. Eagles Pick:
I have kept trying to give the Eagles the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they just had a few fluky games and that’s why the offense has been so anaemic. I thought the Saints’ defense was going to be the perfect medicine to jumpstart them. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they still looked clueless against a really bad defense. Vick finished with 272 yards with a touchdown and interception. Yes, another turnover added to Vick’s tally. Not just any pick, this one came on the Saints 2-yard line which went the other way for a pick-6. Vick and the Eagles’ offense have been terrible in the red zone with four turnovers and six sacks at the hands of Vick.
It won’t get any easier against one of the more underrated defensive units in the NFL. The Cowboys’ defense has most certainly flown under the radar. They rank 5th in total defense, 5th against the pass, and 15th against the run. If the Cowboys don’t screw this up with awful play calling then they should win and cover the spread. While both teams have identical records at 3-5, I believe the Cowboys are much more battle tested. They have fought tooth and nails against the best teams in the NFL, but have come up just short repeatedly. I think the offense and defense will put a complete game together and take down their division rival on the road.
PICK = Cowboys -2