If I told you that I’ve never made a bad bet on an NFL game in my life, I’d be lying. This week isn’t necessarily a bad bet, but it might be the most difficult one that I have ever made. I am desperately searching my soul and I’m really torn apart with the point spread for the Eagles/Cowboys game. I am a fan of the Eagles, but a line so out of whack like this, only comes around so often.
When I first saw that the Eagles were seven and a half point favorites when this week’s lines opened, I immediately wanted to go to the bank, take out the biggest loan I could get, and bet it all on the Cowboys. I’ve never bet against the Eagles in my life, so why is this week’s line so tempting to me? Many factors are leading me to believe that this game will be a close, nail-biter of a contest, that could be decided in the 4th quarter.
With all signs pointing to Tony Romo missing this Sunday’s game with a herniated disk in his back, national perspective is that the Eagles could easily win a run away game to go to the playoffs.
Truth be told, most NFL teams tend to play better in the first game that their star quarterback is missing due to injury. A perfect example would be in 2007 when the Eagles, who went on to be 8-8, nearly upset the New England Patriots, who went on to be the first team in NFL history to ever go 16-0, with A.J. Feely playing quarterback for an injured Donovan McNabb. Whether players feel pressed to try harder or coaches just come up with a better game plan, better play from the supporting cast often happens around a backup quarterback. Let’s also keep in mind, Kyle Orton is a decent back-up, and has more weapons to rely on than Matt Cassel had in Minnesota, when they demolished the Eagles just two weeks ago.
Having home field advantage for this contest is also huge. It is essentially a playoff game, having the same exact implications; winner moves on and loser goes home. Dallas has a big advantage playing at home, especially considering they are in a loud dome that traps sound well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Nick Foles had his worst game of the season in the Eagles week seven showdown against the Cowboys; going 11-29 for 80 yards, against the lowest ranked defense in the league. This time he has to try to put that game in the past, in “Jerryworld”. Foles is definitely going to play better, but by how much could determine the outcome of the game. He is 0-3 career against the Cowboys, and despite how much he has grown as a quarterback this year, and the fact that Andy Reid coached two of those games, that stat has to scare you a bit.
The 54-11 blowout of the Chicago Bears has risen the stock in the Eagles far too much. The Eagles aren’t that much better of a team than the Bears. After the Eagles pounded the Lions, similar views were cast, and then the Minnesota game happened. Unfortunately, a lot of teams in the NFL seem to not play as well the next week following a big win. As much as I hate to say this, there isn’t anything saying that it couldn’t be the Eagles this weekend.
With the flattening of the Bears and Romo’s injury, the Eagles are heavily favored to win this game and the public is pounding the action on them. However, the line on this game has dropped from 7.5 to 6.5 in the few days since it opened, and that tells me the “sharps” are all over the Cowboys. I would rather side with the professionals, then the general public any day.
The home dog covers the line 70 percent of the time in the NFL. Dallas is a winning team, that is 5-2 at home, and they are still getting 6.5 points. I expect them to at least keep it close.
I’m taking the 6.5 points and putting my money on Dallas, but my heart is hoping that the Eagles will crush them. I can afford to lose a few bucks, especially if it means a beat-down of the Cowboys.
What will hopefully happen, is that the Eagles will win by three, satisfying both my heart and my pocket book–and making me look like a genius.
If you’re going to be in the Dallas area, make sure to grab Eagles vs. Cowboys tickets and cheer on Philly in enemy territory.