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Eagles @ Cowboys Expert Picks: High-Scoring Game Expected

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The Vegas oddsmakers predict a high-scoring game today, but a sampling of picks made for Sunday's Eagles @ Cowboys game suggests the game may not be the high-scoring game many expect.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys are 3-point favorites at home against the Eagles, with the over/under set at a fairly high 54.5, the second highest total of the week behind only Patriots @ Packers. Still, the building blocks are there for the teams to get the OVER: both teams are quite prolific scorers, the Cowboys behind an offense that is ranked third in the league in passer rating (the Eagles rank 23rd), the Eagles behind an uncanny ability to score on defense and special teams, where they rank first in the league with 70 points scored (the Cowboys rank 13th with 14 points). Here's what the two teams have looked like so far this season in terms of points scored and points allowed:

Points per game, 2014
Points For (Rank) Points Against (Rank)
Cowboys 26.5 (7th) 21.8 (14th)
Eagles 31.1 (3rd) 25.0 (21st)

The nine published opinions polled below are coming down 5-4 for the OVER, so today's game may not be quite the high-scoring affair many expect it to be. Or will it? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments section.

Name
(Cowboys accuracy)
Pick Score Comment
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (8-3)
Dal_medium 34-30 With first place in the NFC East the winner’s prize, this feels like a fireworks festival of a game, one in which the two punters might as well take the day off and see a movie together. Offense should reign as Dallas hosts its 47th Thanksgiving game. This is only Philly’s sixth turn on the holiday stage but the Birds are 5-0 on Bird Day. Make it a venue call as Phils have lost three of past four on road. Also, Tony Romo should stay hot against an Eagles pass defense ranked 30th in the league. Special-teams and turnovers figure to play a significant role. In the mistakes department I don’t exactly trust Romo. But I trust him a heck of a lot more than I trust Mark Sanchez.
Sam Farmer, LA Times (8-3)
Dal_medium 28-24 This should be epic. The Eagles have been scoring a lot of points lately, but the Cowboys have a rock-solid running game and that offensive line forms an airtight pocket for Tony Romo.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (7-3)
Dal_medium 31-30 The last time Mark Sanchez played in a Thanksgiving Day game, well, you know what happened. Let's ignore the "Butt Fumble" and focus on what might be Chip Kelly's biggest national TV audience ever. I'm not a TV ratings guru, but I'd think more eyeballs -- though perhaps not television sets -- are watching a Thanksgiving late-afternoon game against the Cowboys with the NFC East lead on the line than either the Oregon-Auburn BCS Championship Game in 2011 or the playoff game last year versus the Saints. Expect some bells. Expect some whistles. I think the Cowboys take care of business, winning on a last-second Dan Bailey field goal, setting the stage for an epic rematch on Sunday night in Week 15.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (7-4)
Dal_medium 31-23 This game features two of the top-10 scoring offenses in the league, so expect a lot of good offense. The Eagles have a tough task traveling on a short week. That gives the Cowboys a huge edge in this first meeting between the two. Tony Romo outplays Mark Sanchez.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (7-4)
Dal_medium 34-27 The Eagles won’t be capable of keeping pace with a Cowboys Offense that will present a pick-your-poison dilemma for Philly’s defense. The Dallas offense continues to fire on all cylinders, and it’ll be enough to secure the first of two games between these teams in only 17 days.
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News (7-4)
Phi_medium 38-34 The Cowboys need to dominate time of possession to protect their D. The Eagles don’t need much time to move the ball quickly and rack up points. They have a few more home-run hitters in their lineup, and Chip Kelly will put them all to good use. Defensively, Philadelphia also sports more of a pass rush to force a few key stops in the second half. The Eagles officially take control of the NFC East (again).
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (5-6)
Dal_medium 30-24 Tony Romo is really @#%*$^& good on Thanksgiving. He's 6-1 with 18 touchdowns against just six interceptions. Only Dandy Don Meredith was better, having won all three of his contests. The Eagles can ill afford Mark Sanchez turning the ball over in this game. With the way the Cowboys limit possessions by running the football, the Eagles simply won't have opportunities to overcome multiple mistakes. Dallas ranks fifth in the league in time of possession and opponents' total possessions.
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (5-6)
Dal_medium 24-21 First place in the NFC East is up for grabs, and I’m leaning toward the Cowboys mostly because I don’t trust Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. Although Sanchez is putting up plenty of yardage in Chip Kelly’s offense — three straight 300-yard games — I expect him to throw a couple of interceptions and the Cowboys to capitalize on his mistakes.
John Breech, CBSSports (5-6)
Dal_medium 38-31 For some reason, I'm still not sold on Mark Sanchez. As a matter of fact, I'm the opposite of sold. Unsold? Sanchez's two wins this season have come against teams that currently have a combined record of 5-16-1. Dating back to 2011, Sanchez has started 31 games and only one time has he beaten a team that would finish the season with a winning record. Coincidentally, if the Cowboys win on Thursday, they'll finish the season with a winning record. I think I've talked myself into picking against Sanchez.

Our selection of pick 'em panels doesn't provide any indication of scoring totals, but does come down strongly in favor of the Cowboys:

Site Cowboys Eagles Cowboys Season
Pick Accuracy
USA Today 7 0 .620 (51-27)
NFL Around The League 2 3 .580 (32-23)
ESPN 10 3
.562 (83-60)
CBSSports 7 1 .537 (51-39)
Dallas Morning News tbd tbd .533 (56-41)
SB Nation 3 4 .500 (40-37)
Foxsports 2 0 .500 (23-19)
Yahoosports 1 1 .500 (11-11)
Pro Football Focus 6 2 .494 (46-45)
Total 38 14 .565 (393-302)

Even the guys at CSNPhilly.com don't have a lot of confidence in the Eagles, and their "(cough) expert predictions" are 6-1 in favor of the Cowboys. Ray Didinger explains why:

Tony Romo is on a roll (22 touchdown passes) and DeMarco Murray leads the league with 1,354 yards running behind a very good offensive line. This is a game where the Eagles really need a DeMeco Ryans but they don't have him. It should be an entertaining, high-scoring game, but right now the matchups favor Dallas.

The pundits above seem to be pretty confident in a Cowboys win. Are you?