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Eagles open as underdogs to the Cowboys in critical NFC East matchup

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Not unfamiliar territory.

NFC Championship - Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

For the second time all season, the Philadelphia Eagles are set to enter a game as underdogs.

The first experience didn’t go so well. The Saints were heavily favored to beat the Eagles in Week 11 and that’s exactly what happened as New Orleans won, 48-7.

Now the Eagles are set to play the team that just defeated the Saints last week: the Cowboys. Dallas also previously beat the Eagles in Week 10.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Cowboys are more than standard three-point favorites in this big NFC East matchup. SB Nation’s odds page shows Dallas favored by 3.5.

The Cowboys have some advantages coming into this game. Having won their last four games, Dallas is the hotter team. The Eagles have won two in a row, sure, but they’re probably not going to be able to beat good teams playing the way they did against the Giants and Washington.

The rest factor also favors the Cowboys. Dallas last played on Thursday night (November 29) while the Eagles just played on Monday night (December 3) and will have to travel to Arlington, Texas over the weekend.

Then again, rest might not mean much. The Eagles had the advantage when they were coming off their Week 9 bye and Dallas had just lost to the Titans on Monday Night Football. And yet Philadelphia lost that home game.

Another thing worth noting is that the Eagles have played well at AT&T Stadium in recent years. Philadelphia is 6-2 in their last eight games in Dallas. Those losses include an overtime defeat in 2016 (where the Eagles arguably outplayed the Cowboys for most of the game) and a 2012 game in a season where the Eagles went 4-12.

On paper, these two teams might be closer than you think. Football Outsiders has the Cowboys ranked 18th in DVOA while the Eagles are 20th. There’s a little bit more of a difference when it comes to point differential as the Cowboys rank 12th and the Eagles are 17th.

The expectation is that both sides are going to give it their all in this one. It’s a huge game. If the Cowboys win, the NFC East crown is essentially theirs. If the Eagles win, they won’t have the division locked up, but they’ll be in reasonable position to be the first team to repeat as NFC East champions since 2004.

The stakes are high. Will the Eagles step up and deliver or will Sunday’s game be the next disappointment in an uneven season?

Poll

Which bet do you like more?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Eagles +3.5
    (1001 votes)
  • 51%
    Cowboys -3.5
    (1070 votes)
2071 votes total Vote Now