Eagles - Cowboys games are always a highlight of the schedule, regardless of what the records of either team are. Emotions always run high, in recent years perhaps a little more than with the other division rivals.
A win here would move the Cowboys to 4-1 under Garrett and further cement Garrett's claim to the permanent head coaching job. But perhaps more importantly, it would deliver a big blow to Philly's playoff aspirations. But this will not be an easy game to win.
Even the BTB writers are not unanimous in picking the Cowboys to win, and as we look at who other news outlets and blogs are picking to win, it quickly becomes clear that the Cowboys are the underdogs in this one: 40 of the 51 'Experts' we check in with after the break have the Eagles winning this one, and the Eagles are -3.5 Vegas favorites.
This is one of those be-careful games for the Eagles. The Cowboys aren't playing for anything, but these teams have lots of history. The Eagles are first in total offense and the Cowboys are 23rd. That means Mike Vick will score some points. But I think the Cowboys will score their share as well. It's close.
Profootballtalk's two lead writers are split 1-1. Mike Florio likes the Cowboys 27-24.
Gregg Rosenthal sees the Eagles taking this one 34-27.
If not for the Cowboys, Donovan McNabb might still be Philadelphia’s quarterback. The real issue Dallas exposed last year was Philly’s offensive line, which can still occasionally look shaky. Dallas no longer has the pass rush to make a difference, though, and Michael Vick is a massive upgrade from McNabb. This is the type of cutting edge analysis you can only get at PFT.
ColdHardFootballFacts weekly picks are always worth checking out, if for no other reason than that they unfailingly feature a picture of a scantily clad Teri Hatcher.
Jason Garrett has the Cowboys playing well and primed to play a huge spoiler role down the stretch in the NFC East: this meeting in Big D is the first of two between the Eagles and Cowboys over the last four weeks of the season.
Despite their great start under Garrett, Dallas still has some major problems, such as the most inefficient defense in the NFL (No. 32 in Bendability), poor Defensive Hogs (No. 24) and a very bad pass defense, which still ranks a paltry 29th in Defensive Passer Rating – even after receiving 4 gift picks from Peyton Manning last week.
All those problems spell bad news against Philadelphia’s offense, quarterback Michael Vick and the best Big Play team in football.
The Cowboys defense has generated 11 takeaways in the past four games, after getting just 10 in the first eight games under Wade Phillips. That includes four takeaways on Sunday against the Colts, two of which were interceptions returned for touchdowns. Opportunistic, high-flying and full of optimism, the suddenly rejuvenated, Jason Garrett-led Cowboys are enjoyable to watch. At 3-1 since the guy took over, it’d be easy to take the Cowboys at home on Sunday. Eh, I like Vick — 6-1 in games he’s started and finished this year — with the Sunday night spotlight and first place in the NFC East on the line.
The Cowboys have allowed 35 points or more in five of the last seven games. Now, they're about to play one of the NFL’'s most explosive offenses led by the NFL best dual-threat quarterback. Even if Dallas plays quite a bit of zone, it's hard to fathom them slowing down Vick enough to win the game, especially since this team doesn't do a great job stopping the run or the pass. Andy Reid is going to have every facet of his offense at his disposal.
Peter King: 31, Cowboys 27.
It's all about the quarterback here ... but could that quarterback be Jon Kitna? Since Jason Garrett took over, Jon Kitna's a 68-percent passer, with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Even with Dez Bryant, I think Kitna makes this a good game, not a Michael Vick-led walkover.
The Philadelphia Inquirer also weighs in with picks for the game, and their two writers both have the Eagles ahead. Les Bowen calls a close one, 31-29, for the Eagles:
I think the Eagles will score a lot of points on this Dallas defense, and Andy Reid with extra days to prepare is money in the bank.
Yeah, it bothers me that under Jason Garrett, the Cowboys are playing like the team they were supposed to be this season. And at some point, the things that caused Dallas to start out 1-7 will start to matter again, when the Garrett adrenaline wears off.
His partner in crime, Paul Domowitch, sees a larger margin of victory for the Eagles, 38-28:
If the Cowboys run against the Eagles as effectively as they have the last four games and force a few turnovers, it could be a long trip home for Andy Reid's team. But I don't see Michael Vick and Co. becoming a turnover machine 13 games into the season. The Eagles are 51-2 under Reid when they score 30 or more points.
Make it 52-2.
The eight USAToday panelists all have the Eagles winning the match. Last week, they all had the Colts winning. That didn't work out too well, did it?
ESPN's eight experts favor the Eagles 6-2. Adam Shefter and Seth Wickersham are going for the underdog this week.
The DMN staff picks deliver a unanimous 9-0 verdict in favor of the Eagles. That is just not right.
Yahoosport's trio of columnists favor the Eagles 2-1. 78% of Yahoo users agree.
What's your pick for Sunday?