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Cowboys news: Cowboys are favorites vs. Eagles, especially after Jalen Hurts injury

All the latest from the (playoff bound) Dallas Cowboys!

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

NFL betting, odds: Dallas Cowboys now sizable favorites against Eagles after Jalen Hurts’ injury news - Pete Truszkowski, Yahoo Sports

The Eagles beat the Cowboys by nine with Cooper Rush filling in for Dak Prescott, now Dallas may get a chance to play against Philadelphia backup Gardner Minshew.

Well, the market movement was for good reason. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Jalen Hurts suffered a sprained shoulder in Philadelphia’s win over Chicago on Sunday. His status for this weekend is in question and there’s a very good chance that the Eagles are forced to start Gardner Minshew at quarterback.

Line moved quickly

When betting lines for Week 16 were first posted late on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles were installed as a 1.5-point road underdog against the Dallas Cowboys. Many were probably surprised to see the Eagles open as an underdog. Sure, Dallas is the home team, but the Eagles have been the better team all-season long.

On Monday afternoon, the line started moving in favor of the Cowboys. Slight line variations early in the week are normal and don’t usually set off alarms. However, by late Monday afternoon, the Eagles were a 5-point underdog. That much movement was far from normal and immediately bettors knew something was up.

Dallas Cowboys clinch playoff berth despite loss to Jaguars - Jazz Monet, Inside The Star

The Cowboys are a playoff team in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1995-96.

Their exact seeding, however, is still yet to be determined. Since the Cowboys defeated the Giants twice, they cannot lose their wild card spot due to the tie breakers considered when determining playoff qualification. In order for Dallas to be locked in as a five seed next week, they would have to beat the Eagles on Saturday, and the Giants would have to beat the Vikings that day.

The Cowboys still have a slim chance of winning the NFC East title, but that scenario is highly unlikely. It would require both for Dallas to win all of their remaining games and for Philadelphia to lose all of their remaining games.

McCarthy’s Outlook

Before the outcome of tonight’s Giants – Commanders matchup had even been determined, Mike McCarthy shared his philosophy on seeding with reporters. During his postgame press conference, the Cowboys head coach was asked whether the impact of the loss the to the Jaguars was discouraging.

McCarthy responded, “I’ve been at this long enough to know that at the end of seventeen games, it sorts itself out. I’ve been the one seed and been knocked on my a** and won it from the fifth seed… We’ve just gotta keep our head down and keep working. We’ll react properly to this. It’s a very accountable locker room.”

Cowboys catch major break with Leighton Vander Esch injury update - Jerry Trotta, The Landry Hat

Leighton Vander Esch has kept the Cowboys defense together at linebacker this season, and his absence was a big one in Jacksonville.

To say the Cowboys missed the linebacker’s presence in the second level of the defense would be an understatement. On multiple occasions, Anthony Barr filled the wrong gap against the run, and was overwhelmed in coverage.

While Vander Esch is expected to miss time, Dallas avoided a worst-case scenario with the former Pro Bowler. In a colossal sigh of relief, Vander Esch didn’t suffer a neck injury as initially reported, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

It’s a right shoulder stringer for Vander Esch. More importantly, the injury is NOT related to the player’s scary neck issue from 2019.

Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch avoids neck injury, will miss time with shoulder stinger.

Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact Vander Esch avoided a neck injury is a huge win for the Cowboys, and LVE’s career. The Boise State product has dealt with multiple neck injuries in his career, beginning in 2016 with the Broncos when he missed seven games with a pinched nerve in his neck.

After putting together a Pro Bowl rookie season in 2018, Vander Esch’s career was upended by a neck injury in 2019. He ultimately underwent surgery to repair the nerve issues that sidelined him for seven games. Vander Esch returned in 2020, but was limited to 10 games due to a broken collarbone and an ankle injury.

Good, Bad, Ugly: Situational football cost Cowboys the most vs Jaguars - Ben Grimaldi, The Cowboys Wire

For the second straight week the Cowboys needed hero ball from Dak Prescott to win, but came up just short on the road.

The Good: Dak Prescott

It was a good day for the signal caller, for the most part. Prescott was extremely efficient with close to 77% completion percentage and throwing for three scores.

The offense depended on Prescott to bail them out of some tough third-down situations and he obliged by helping them convert on over 56% of their third downs in the game. Prescott’s prettiest throw was a perfect strike to tight end Peyton Hendershot for a 20-yard touchdown.

Prescott finished the game throwing for 256 yards and three scores, but also used his legs to convert on two third-down runs on their drive to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.

Prescott finished the game throwing for 256 yards and three scores, but also used his legs to convert on two third-down runs on their drive to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.

3 Takeaways from Cowboys’ Week 15 Loss vs. Jaguars - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report

A familiar story from a season ago, with far less time to fix it.

Dallas Is Trending in the Wrong Direction with the Playoffs Approaching

While Dallas will be in the playoffs this season, it’s beginning to feel like the Cowboys aren’t serious contenders. Sunday’s loss continued a troubling trend for Big D.

Yes, the Jaguars are a solid and improving football team, but they’re still a 6-8 squad with only an outside shot at making the playoffs. Sunday’s collapse against them came a week after Dallas had to mount a furious comeback against the Houston Texans.

Fans may point to the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs needed overtime to beat Houston on Sunday, and that’s true. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Dallas has not been great offensively or defensively over the last two weeks.

The Cowboys have committed five turnovers on offense over that span. The defense, meanwhile, surrendered a combined 830 yards and 63 points to the Texans and Jaguars. That’s concerning heading into a brutal three-game stretch to finish the season.

Dallas will next face the rival Philadelphia Eagles, with games against the Tennessee Titans and Commanders to finish the year. If the Cowboys cannot win at least two of the final three, they’re not going to carry any sort of momentum into the postseason.

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