The Cowboys and Eagles will rematch a game from a month ago that the Eagles won 28023; since that time, the Cowboys have caught fire, and the Eagles defense has struggled. The winner of this game will have a heads up on winning the division and will have a shot at the number one seed.
Mike McCarthy’s path to redemption is very real.
After going a disappointing 5-11-1 against the spread in his inaugural season with Dallas (2021), Mike McCarthy has overseen an NFL-best ATS record of 31-15 since. Tied with the Detroit Lions for this distinction but by no means equivalent: Dallas boasted an average ATS differential of +1.2 while Dallas averaged an ATS margin of 5.2.
McCarthy made excellent adjustments, opening up the offense and being more aggressive on early downs – leading to averages of 39 points and 431.0 yards over six games since Dallas’ Week 7 bye as opposed to 25.7 points and 329.8 yards prior.
The Cowboys are currently enjoying a 14-game home winning streak that includes 11-3 (79%) against the spread wins by four or more points over that timeframe.
Since drafting Parsons in 2021, the Cowboys are 11-2 against the spread when coming off an ATS loss from their prior game and covering by an astounding average margin of 12.4 points per game. Though Hussey may loom large in this particular matchup, Cowboys or nothing is still the play to take.
The Philadelphia Eagles pass defense has struggled this season since Sean Desai took over for Jonathan Gannon as defensive coordinator, going from first in DVOA last season to 24th this year, according to FTN Fantasy.
At first, it appeared injuries were to blame, yet the unit has continued to struggle despite becoming healthier. One factor contributing to their struggle has been cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry whose play has declined dramatically.
Slay saw his PFF grade drop from 73.1 (21st of 118 qualified corners) last year to 65.0 (73rd out of 106) this year; Bradberry experienced a similar decline, moving from 71.7 (27th) last year to 61.5 (76th) this year.
The Eagles haven’t performed as well as their record (10-2) indicates. A +41 point differential equating to 6.9 Pythagorean wins suggests they might actually be closer to 7-5 than 10-2.
Pass defense has taken a considerable hit this season, yet pass offense has had its share of difficulties. Perhaps due to losing offensive coordinator Shane Steichen or Jalen Hurts’ persistent knee injury, the pass offense has not been as dynamic this year.
Hurts’ decision-making seems to have slowed considerably this season, as evidenced by his average time to throw increasing from 2.86 seconds last season to 3.23 this season and his yards per attempt falling from 8.0 to 7.4.
PFF reports that Hurts’ completion rate this season drops from 73.7 in an unpressured pocket to 53.2% when under pressure from a Cowboys pass rush led by Micah Parsons – leading them to generate pressure on 43.8% of his dropbacks during their initial meeting against Hurts.
Nick Sirianni acknowledged his goal is to improve the running game against an elite Dallas Cowboys rush defense that ranks ninth in DVOA and held Philadelphia to just 109 yards on 33 carries (3.3 yards per carry) in their initial meeting.
One factor which could prove pivotal to the Eagles’ success in this game is refereeing. John Hussey will serve as referee, having seen them go 7-0 against the spread (ATS), covering by 12.3 points per game with his officiating (including postseason games) per our Action Labs data.
The Cowboys are playing better and, as of this moment, are the better team. Look for Dak Prescott to have a big day, and Jalen Hurts to turn it over a time or two. Cowboys 38 Eagles 28.
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