Week 16 arrives for the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve, as they prepare to host the Philadelphia Eagles. What was once a game of great importance has now turned into a strange affair. Playoff positioning is still possible for both teams, but they are not too likely to move. The Cowboys want to jumpstart their season after some turbulent weeks, and the Eagles want to see if they can play without Jalen Hurts for the next few games.
The Cowboys were 1.5-point favorites to start the week, but that number grew once it was leaned Jalen Hurts would miss the game and back up Gardner Minshew would take over. DraftKings Sportsbook has settled their line at 4.5-points with Dallas as the favorite.
So what are the experts saying about this game? We surveyed some picks and predictions for the game.
Gardner Minshew is a great backup, but his presence hurts the biggest game left on the NFC schedule. The Eagles have so many ways to win that they could still pull this off, making the five-point spread too much. Dallas’ defense is giving up big plays lately — biting hard on misdirection — and could be pushed around by Philadelphia’s offensive line. The Eagles’ pass rush will make life very difficult on a reshuffled Cowboys line. It’s a coin flip, with the ‘Boys getting the slightest of edges because they are home and need the game more.
Cowboys 27 - Eagles 26
This is a popular take. The Cowboys win the game, but do it narrowly, allowing the Eagles to cover.
Moody: My recommendation is to bet on the Eagles and take the points. With 22 career starts, Minshew is a very capable backup. In each of those starts, he averaged 243.6 passing yards. Minshew has an excellent supporting cast that includes A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. A strong Eagles offensive line that can run block and pass block well will put him in a good position to succeed against the Cowboys. There is a strong chance Philadelphia will play well enough to keep this game close or outright win.
Sometimes, there is sentiment that the Eagles may just win outright despite being underdogs. The quality of Gardner Minshew gives confidence that the Eagles can win without their star QB.
There’s a reason why Hurts was on track to win the MVP after all given the share of offense he was responsible for, but at the same time, there might not be quite as big of a drop-off with Gardner Minshew coming in compared to other backups being thrown to the fire. It should all add up to a compelling matchup with the NFC East on the line that sees the home squad win a close thriller on Saturday afternoon and inject a little bit of late drama into the playoff picture right on the doorstep of Christmas.
Prediction: Cowboys 26, Eagles 24
Here is another ‘Cowboys win but Eagles cover’ take.
Safid Deen: Cowboys 31, Eagles 17
Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury comes at an opportune time, but the Eagles are firmly ahead of the field in the NFC by two games entering this game. The Cowboys need a win desperately to stay in the Wild Card mix, and going against Eagles backup Gardner Minshew might be the defensive spark Dallas needs to find before the playoffs begin.
Victoria Hernandez: Cowboys 28, Eagles 20
It has been so much fun to watch the Eagles dominate this year, but this week is another hiccup in their season. Without Jalen Hurts, the Eagles offense won’t have the same firepower, especially against this fierce defense. Micah Parsons will get the win, but with it comes proof that he was wrong about Hurts not being the MVP.
But, there are those that believe the Cowboys will win comfortably. With Dallas being at home, facing a backup QB, and desperately needing to rebound, they have a lot going for them in the game.
Some of the BTB staff have been picking games with Tallysight. You can see all of the picks for Week 16 below.