There are several pointless games partaking today in the NFL, but this certainly isn’t one of them. The Tony Romoless Dallas Cowboys will welcome the Eagles in which is essentially a playoff game. The winner advances and the loser will immediately be faced with the offseason. Romo led the Cowboys to late minute heroics over the Washington Redskins to force this meaningful game, but he also suffered a back injury in the process. The injury needs surgery, which ultimately knocks him out of this game. Instead, backup Kyle Orton will get the call to start. It isn’t like Orton is a quarterback with no experience coming in to play this game. Orton has plenty of experience, and has been a starter in this league before, most notably with the Denver Broncos.
The Cowboys had a lot to play for last week, but with the Cowboys win, the Eagles game against the Bears was meaningless. Nevertheless, the Eagles still went on to demolish the Bears at home by a score of 54-11. The offense could do no wrong, as they looked flawless running the Chip Kelly offense. Nick Foles has been nothing short of fantastic, as he has officially made people forget about Michael Vick at this point. He’ll look to cap off a stellar campaign with a trip to the playoffs.
Broncos vs. Raiders Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles -7(-110)
@Dallas Cowboys +7 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Broncos vs. Raiders Pick:
The line here is a reflection of the absence of Tony Romo. I think you’re looking at a 3 point line with Romo in, or perhaps a pick ‘em. I can tell you one thing, if Romo was healthy and the Cowboys were getting 7 points I would jumping all over that. Kyle Orton will try and prove the oddsmakers wrong though, as he looks to be the unlikely hero Sunday night. It seems that Dez Bryant has had enough with Romo, and the guy has already been dubbed a choker by the Cowboy faithful, so why not Orton? The headline Monday morning will go one of two ways: either we told you so about Romo, or that the Cowboys would have won if Romo wasn’t injured. It really is a lose-lose situation for him, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Enough about Romo though, because it’ll be Orton’s offense to run Sunday night. The last time Orton was a regular starter was way back in 2010 where he appeared in 13 games, passing for 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He followed that up in 2011 playing in five games for 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Then of course it was Tebow Time in Denver. Since then, though, he has been a fixture on the sidelines. It will be interesting to see how Orton handles this offense. An offense that is scoring 28 points per game.
The Eagles’ defense is suspect to say the least, where they are ranked 30th in the NFL in yards allowed per game. When you hear the name Chip Kelly, you know it is all going to be about the offense, and that’s exactly what it is with the Eagles. Foles has asserted himself nicely and has made a name for himself. In fact, his quarterback rating of 118 tops Peyton Manning’s 113. His touchdown to interception ratio is also quite unbelievable, as it is 25:2. Foles also gets help from a solid running game led by LeSean McCoy. McCoy is also a threat out of the backfield, so he has been a valuable weapon at Foles disposal. The Phili defense is bad, but the Cowboys are even worse, allowing an abysmal 418 yards per game, 32nd, and 28 points a game. If the Eagles get this offense in a rhythm early, I just don’t think Orton and company will be able to claw themselves back.
Against this defense in a dome, I just don’t see the Eagles not scoring some points. At the same time, I find it tough to lay the points with the Eagles on the road in Dallas. I have this funny feeling that Orton is going to surprise a few people in this game, maybe not to win it, but he may be able to trade points with the Eagles for a while. It seems like a no-brainer to take the Eagles in this spot with Romo on the bench, but it could be closer than some people think. I do think the Eagles win it, but I can see anywhere from a 6 point win to a 21 point win. What I do know is that the Eagles should be able to score some points Sunday night. Given the Eagles’ troubles defensively this season, I find it hard to back them on the road, however. That is why I will look at the total instead, and make a play on the OVER 52.5 for my final play of the 2013 regular season.
PICK: OVER 52.5(-110)