Philadelphia Eagles (11-4, 9-6 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (10-5, 8-7 ATS), NFL Week 17, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Sunday, Jan. 3rd, 4:15 PM Eastern, Fox
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cowboys -3/Eagles +3
The NFC East Division title and playoff seedings are on the line in Arlington this weekend when the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles meet in the regular-season finale Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.
Most online sportsbooks opened this game Monday with Dallas favored by three points, with a total of 48 and a hook. But while the spread has held steady in early betting action, the total has been dropped at most places to 47 or 47.
The Cowboys are also giving about -155 on most NFL betting moneylines, with Philly getting around +135 to win outright.
Both teams are already in the playoffs. At 11-4, Philly is a game up on 10-5 Dallas in the divisional race. But with a win Sunday, and thanks to their 20-16 victory over the Eagles earlier this season, the Cowboys would claim the division crown. And the division champ, of course, gets to play at home on Wild-Card weekend, while the loser will start the playoffs on the road.
The Eagles are also still alive in the battle for the second NFC Wild-Card weekend bye, thanks in large part to Minnesota’s loss at Chicago Monday night.
And if some of Sunday’s action falls a certain way, these two teams could also meet next week in a Wild Card game.
After a 31-23 loss out at San Diego in mid-November, Philly sat at 5-4. But after beating Denver last Sunday 30-27 the Eagles now own the second-longest winning streak in the league, six, behind only the Chargers, who have won 10 in a row.
The Cowboys have had a few ups and downs this season, but the shit really hit the fan earlier this month when Dallas lost two straight games to fall to 8-5. However, the Pokes then knocked off previously undefeated New Orleans, then beat Washington Sunday night 17-0. Combined with the Giants’ ugly loss to Carolina, Dallas clinched a playoff spot.
The Cowboys may be playoff bound, but they haven’t scored more than 24 points in a game in eight straight outings. Combined with the fact that the Dallas defense has allowed more than 20 points just once over that same span, the totals have gone 1-7 over those last eight Cowboys games.
Philly ranks 10th in the league this season in total offense at 367 YPG, but only 20th in rushing at 107 YPG. On the other side of the ball, Philadelphia ranks seventh in total defense at 311 YPG and eighth vs. the run at 100 YPG.
The Cowboys rank third in the league in total offense at 394 YPG, eighth in rushing at 128 YPG, 12th in total defense at 322 YPG and fifth vs. the run at 94 YPG.
Also, Dallas ranks ninth in the league in average time-of-possession at 31:30, while quick-strike Philadelphia ranks 21st at 28:49.
As mentioned above, the Cowboys beat the Eagles in Philly back in early November 20-16. Dallas outgained the Eagles that day 358-297 in winning outright as three-point road dogs. The game also easily stayed under its posted total of 50.
Last year, for the second season in a row, these two teams split their two games. Dallas won a Monday night shoot-out 41-37 in Irving, while Philly won the more important game, crushing the Cowboys 44-6 in the season finale to win a Wild Card berth and end the Pokes’ playoff hopes. Both those games went over the posted totals, as have four of the last seven games in this series.
Also, the underdog has won six of the last 10 games in the series between these two teams outright, and has covered eight of the last 10 pointspreads.
The Eagles took a hit health-wise last Sunday when C Jamaal Jackson, who has started 70 straight games, tore an ACL, and is lost for the season.
Philly games are averaging a healthy 49 points this season, and they’ve gone 10-5 on the totals. Dallas games, meanwhile, are averaging just over 39 points, and they’ve gone 6-9 on the totals.
Sagarin’s PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com rate the Eagles at 26.6, the Cowboys at 25.8. Factoring in Sagarin’s updated NFL home-field advantage figure of 2.3, and Dallas is a 1 1/2-point favorite over Philly on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man’s Pick: Under 47.