Philadelphia Eagles (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS)
Week 8 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, October 30, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: PHI +4/DAL -4
Over/Under Total: 43
The Philadelphia Eagles come to AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys in NFC East action on Sunday Night Football. Both teams are in the mix to win the division after fast starts to the season. Both teams have some things in common, each with quarterbacks no one thought would be starting. So far, it's been working. On Sunday, Philly emerged victorious. The Eagles beat the Vikings, 21-10, handing the Vikes their first loss of the season and getting their season back on the winning track after two straight losses after a 3-0 start. Dallas, meanwhile, is coming off a bye after scoring a conclusive road win in Lambeau over the Packers, 30-16, in week 6
Dallas has been getting great performances from their rookie QB-RB battery of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, in addition to a defense that is allowing just over 17 points a game. They have the top rushing offense in the league, bolstered by the eye-opening performance of Elliott, who leads the league in rushing with 703 rushing yards in 6 games. Prescott has thrown 7 TD passes against just one pick, while completing nearly 70% of his throws. He has also shown useful movement with 3 rushing TDs. The aerial attack awaits the return of Dez Bryant, as Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams have picked up the slack in his absence. They've been between 27 and 31 points scoring in 4 of their last 5 games and with a defense that has been finding its stride, that's not half bad. They've committed just three turnovers on this side of the ball all season. In his last game, Prescott threw three touchdown passes, while Elliott ran for 157 yards.
The Dallas defense has been pretty good, as well, and really showed their fangs in holding a home Green Bay team to negligible production on offense in week 6. They've been getting good play up-front, with opposing ground games struggling to gain footing. Their secondary can be exploited at times, but when the situation gets critical, this defense has a knack for tightening up at the right time. And help is on the way, with Orlando Scandrick ready to return to the secondary, along with other players returning from suspension in coming weeks.
There were some questions Philly needed to answer heading into their week 7 game against the undefeated Vikings. After a 3-0 start, things had gotten a bit sideways. A late collapse against the Lions was followed by a loss against the Redskins and at 3-2, people were jumping ship. Not so fast. On Sunday, the Eagles' defense rendered the Vikings offense a mess, with Minnesota putting up three points until a last-minute garbage touchdown. The offense wasn't great, but they overcame their issues and got a big special teams play with a kickoff return for a TD from Josh Huff.
All told, it wasn't a great day on Sunday for rookie Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz. He's flattened out a bit in recent weeks, though not a lot of quarterbacks look all that great when playing the vaunted Minnesota defense. The run game is led by Ryan Mathews, with occasional sprinklings of Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood. The aerial crew is led by Jordan Matthews, Huff, Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, and others. This is not an offense that inspires a ton of confidence. They can't run the ball all that well, as their aerial attack is pretty pedestrian with underachieving receivers. But they get the most of what they have, with big assists from special teams and defense. Despite being ranked 29th in the pass and 17th in rushing, they're the league's 7th highest scoring team.
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On defense, the Eagles are giving up under 15 points a game. Only two teams have allowed fewer points than the Eagles this season. The secondary has been robust with good play. And they've been getting an average of two turnovers a game. Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, and others have been applying a steady pass rush. It's a part of the team that can make plays. They're not just running around out there on the field. New head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has whipped this unit into shape and they're getting good play across all areas.
This is a tough one to call. Dallas has certainly been impressive without some of their heavy hitters on both sides of the ball. Philly, meanwhile, has a look of a really classy team—a resourceful and overachieving bunch that looks to be responding well to new leadership at the top. I see a close game, with both teams having their share of success. I'm inclined to take the points.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Philadelphia Eagles plus 4 points. Bet the Philadelphia vs. Dallas game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!