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.
|PHI Win||DAL Win||PHI Win||DAL Win|
Depending on the outcome of the Giants-Jets game in the early afternoon slot, this game could be meaningless or it could decide the NFC East division race. A Dallas win and a Giants loss or tie clinches the division for the Cowboys. Even a Cowboys tie, coupled with a Giants loss would give the Cowboys the division. But neither of those scanarios are a sure things.
The always reliable Advanced NFL Stats have summed up everything in the nifty table to the right that lists each team's respective probability of making the playoffs given each of the four possible combinations of the two game outcomes.
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, the Eagles are slightly favored. 28 of the 50 'Experts' we check in with after the break have the Eagles winning this one. Vegas has the Cowboys down with -1.5.
I know the Eagles are hot and suddenly playing the football we expected them to back in August when everyone tripped all over themselves to award Philly the Lombardi Trophy, but I like the Cowboys to finally put an end to the Dream Team's "Nightmare Season" on Sunday. Tony Romo will come up big in a huge spot.
Peter King: 30, Cowboys 27.
Great game. Game of the weekend. And if I'm right -- Philly over Dallas, Jets over Giants -- the Eagles will have a very solid playoff shot in Week 17. In this game, I trust Michael Vick to make more plays than Tony Romo, and that's saying something because of how well Romo's playing.
The Philadelphia Inquirer also weighs in with picks for the game, and their two writers both have the Cowboys ahead. Jeff McLane calls a close one, 31-28, for the Cowboys:
Between the lines, Dallas seems to have put that 34-7 October embarrassment at the Eagles behind them. Tony Romo is playing at a high level, his four top receivers are as good as any foursome in the league right now and a healthy Felix Jones complements that passing attack. Jones won't be 100 percent because of a tender hamstring but as long as he can hit some early holes and establish the run Dallas' offense should be better off this time around.
His partner in crime, Jonathan Tamari, sees a slightly larger margin of victory for the Cowboys, 30-24:
I’m torn, but I’m going back to the big picture. I don’t think the Eagles team that went 4-8 to open the year is suddenly so different that they’re about to go on a four game winning streak. So, facing decent opposition with a quarterback who is playing well, I’ll take Dallas in a close game decided late.
For the Inside The NFL team, Chris Collinsworth and Phil Simms pick the Cowboys while predictably picks whoever is playing the Cowboys.
Collinsworth: You know, a guy that never really gets any credit? Jason Babin, leading the NFL with 18 sacks. How about that?
Simms: You're not going to get a lot of credit if your team has a losing record, that's what it comes down to. But I'm going to take the Dallas Cowboys. They got embarrassed in Philadelphia - don't look at me like I'm crazy [to Sapp], I'm still beating you in the picks segment [Sapp grins awkwardly] - but I'm taking the Cowboys. Miles Austin is going to be back, he looked better last week, and I think those three receivers, along with Tony Romo, at home, it's going to be enough to beat the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sapp: Three receivers, you spread them out, Jason Babin is coming home 'cause it's just him and Doug Free one-on-one [Ed. note: Babin will be lined up on Tyron Smith for most of the game]. Vick, Shady, DeSean, Celek - that's too many weapons for the Cowboys. They get into so much man-to-man ... I'm going with Philly.
Collinsworth: The Cowboys have blown five 4th-quarter leads. They have to win this game though. I'm taking the Cowboys.
Profootballtalk's two lead writers are split 1-1. Gregg Rosenthal, who has the better season pick 'em record of the two at 151-73, likes the Cowboys 30-27.
I predicted the Eagles would miss the playoffs at the beginning of the year. Despite a 6-8 record, they are somehow still alive and look like the best team in the division. I’m trying not to fall for it. It’s all part of an elaborate plan for Andy Reid to torture Eagles fans in the most painful way possible.
Mike Florio (142-82) sees the Eagles taking this one 33-27.
Jerry Jones fears the Eagles. And for good reason. Philly has found its groove, perhaps too late. But not late enough for the Dream Team to complete a sweep of America’s Team.
The Cowboys and Eagles are both coming off their most impressive victories and both are still alive in the playoff race, although the Eagles could be eliminated by kickoff if the Giants win earlier. Even so, I expect the Eagles to come in and play hard. This should be an up-and-down the field game with Tony Romo finding a way late to get the victory.
The NFL "Playbook" team is evenly split 2-2. Solomon Wilcots and Matt Millen are picking the Cowboys, Joe Theismann and Brian Baldinger aren't.
The eight USAToday panelists favor the Cowboys by 5-3.
Yahoosport's trio of columnists favor the Eagles 3-0, while the Yahoo users like the Cowboys.
Pro Football Focus is 6-1 in favor of the Eagles.
ESPN's eight experts favor the Eagles 6-2. Mike Golic and Seth Wickersham are the odd men out. Also, Accuscore and ESPN's Pigskin Pick'em like the Cowboys over the Eagles.
The Experts - and I'm using this word loosely - seem to be predicting a tight, high-scoring game. Which of course makes it pretty likely that the exact opposite will happen.
What's your prediction for Eagles - Cowboys on Christmas Eve?