There are several teams in the NFL this season that are lost in more than one way. The Eagles are included in that group, and I argue, they may have claimed the top spot following this week (okay, the Chargers make a valid argument to be included there, too). With the season already spiralling out of control, there are reports now that Michael Vick is at odds with the Eagles organization. Earlier in the week, Vick stated that the concussion Vick suffered is an excuse to keep him on the bench. Apparently he believes that it is a conspiracy to get more playing time for Nick Foles. I think it doesn’t matter if its Vick or Foles starting at quarterback, both have looked downright bad. Foles has been put into a hard spot, but I don’t believe he is the answer for this franchise. The Cowboys are in some disarray themselves, as they are looking on the outside looking in on the playoffs. Dropping a 38-31 decision to the Redskins put the Cowboys at a 5-6 mark on the year.
The Eagles would be happy to be 5-6 at this point. Currently sitting at 3-8, they have dropped seven straight. There are no indications that the Eagles will even win another game for the rest of the season considering the way things are transpiring. Not only is Vick absent, but another big playmaker will be watching from the sideline as well due to a concussion, running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy hasn’t flourished in the Eagles’ offense like we are used to seeing. Fantasy owners with McCoy on their roster are shaking their heads with great regularity on Sundays that is for sure. With McCoy only finding the end zone 2 times this season and no capable quarterback, the offense has struggled to get into any rhythm whatsoever. It hasn’t gotten better with Nick Foles at the helm, as he has passed for just 542 yards in three games with one touchdown and three interceptions. He looks like he should be a punter, and has thrown about as good as a punter. With McCoy sidelined, Bryce Brown will assume the starting duties once again. Brown has been the only bright spot for the Eagles recently, but his 178 yard effort went for nothing in a 30-22 loss to the Panthers on MNF.
The Cowboys’ defense should be Nick Foles biggest test yet. They got torched for 38 points last week against RG3 and the Redskins, but I believe they are one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL. The defense isn’t to blame for the Cowboys troubles thus far in 2012. Even after surrendering that many points and yards, they are still 8th in terms of total yards allowed. They are particularly hard to throw the ball against, giving up an average of only 218 passing yards a game. They did get exploited against the Redskins, but Nick Foles and the Eagles are not an RG3 type offense that can put up monster numbers. I expect the Cowboys’ defense to be hungry after a porous showing on national television on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys’ offense is a mixed bag. If you were to diagnose any NFL offense with bipolar disorder, the Cowboys would be a good candidate. Not only are they hot-cold from weak-to-weak, they go cold in games then pour it on for a quarter then fall flat again. Tony Romo is a big reason for the inconsistency, but receiver Dez Bryant needs to grow up and play a bigger role in the offense. He has all the talent in the world, however, his attitude continues to get in the middle of his potential. Last week was a good start to helping the offense though, as he went for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bryant will get a chance to shine at home with the lights on him in primetime in this game against the 14th best pass defense in the league. They also rank 14th in the NFL in terms of total team defense, so there isn’t much to say about them, they are just an average unit. With the money they threw at cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, they should be much better than average at this point. Asomugha has allowed five touchdown passes in 2012.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Spread and Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles +10 (+100)
@ Dallas Cowboys -10 (-125)
Over 43 (-110)
Under 43 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Eagles vs. Cowboys Pick:
I tried to give the Eagles the benefit of the doubt at the start of this slide, but that has quickly changed in recent weeks. While this game features two teams that are the epitome of the word disappointment, the Eagles have checked it in for the season and are already looking forward to the offseason. The Cowboys have looked much better than the Eagles have this year even though it is another down year for that bunch. If a few balls bounce their way then they would be within striking distance of the Giants in the NFC East. It hasn’t come to fruition, as they have suffered many heart breaking losses this season. If they can put together a complete game they can beat anybody in the NFL.
That is a big if, but I think the Cowboys put it together in front of their fans on SNF. The Eagles are as vulnerable as they have ever been, and the Cowboys smell blood. This is a big opportunity for the Cowboys to embarrass their rival in front of the nation. While I am reluctant to lay a big number like this, I think Rob Ryan will have the defense back on track in a big way against the Eagles. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles should be in for a rough night.
PICK = Cowboys -10