Add Eagles -3 Over Cowboys to Your Week 15 NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 3:15 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 3:15 PM UTC

Somebody’s playoff hopes are going to take a huge hit when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. According to the Week 15 NFL odds, it’s going to be the Cowboys.

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Jason’s record after Week 14: 35-48-1 ATS, 18-22-1 Totals

The Dallas Cowboys have already achieved something for the first time in five years: a winning record. But if the regular season ended today, the Cowboys (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS) would miss the playoffs. They’re tied atop the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS), who hold the tiebreaker after beating Dallas (–3 at home) 33-10 in Week 13. The Cowboys would also miss out on a Wild Card berth to the 9-4 Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions.

Good news, Dallas fans: The regular season doesn’t end today. There are three games left to go, including Sunday night’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at The Linc against Philadelphia. If the Cowboys win, they’re in the driver’s seat. But the NFL odds as we go to press have the Eagles favored by as many as 3.5 points.


In the Year 2000
The extra half-point seems to be attracting some bettors. When we looked at the opening odds, the consensus reports at the open had Dallas with a slim lead at 51 percent. That support has risen to 58 percent, albeit at +3 (+105), which is still a nice extra chunk of change compared to the usual –110 juice.

So we were talking about whether or not to focus on the events of Week 13 when we’re making our NFL picks for this contest. One game is a very small sample size, of course. If you look back in time – say, 30 games worth of results – you can see that the Eagles are 18-12 SU and 27-12-1 ATS against Dallas dating back to 2000.

But how useful is that information? Virtually nothing that happened on the field 14 years ago has anything to do with this Sunday’s results. Generally speaking, the further back you go, the less relevant the games are. There isn’t even much value to be gained from looking at any Cowboys-Eagles games from before Chip Kelly took over as Philadelphia’s head coach in 2013.


Trojan Men
Let’s do that, then. Dallas is 1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS in this matchup during the Kelly Era. But what does this tell us about Sunday? In their first meeting in 2013, Nick Foles was Philadelphia’s quarterback – at least, he was until the end of the third quarter, when Foles suffered a head injury and was replaced by Matt Barkley. Dallas won 17-3 as a 3-point road dog. Their second meeting was in Week 17, when Kyle Orton had to fill in for the injured Tony Romo. Philadelphia won 24-22, although the Cowboys covered as +7 home dogs.

That leaves us with the events of Nov. 27, 2014. Romo was there. So was Mark Sanchez, who took over for Foles (broken collarbone) in Week 9 and will start again this Sunday. Sanchez (88.0 passer rating) has played quite well in place of Foles (81.4 passer rating); against the Cowboys, he completed 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown pass with zero interceptions. Romo was 18-of-29 for 199 yards, no TDs and a pair of picks.


Sanchize Tag
Having said that, the situation this Sunday is still different than it was two weeks ago. That game was played on Thanksgiving Thursday, giving Romo and his bad back only a short week to recover from his previous outing. This time, he’ll have had extra time to prepare after beating the Chicago Bears (+4 at home) 41-28 in another Thursday appearance.

Meanwhile, Sanchez and the Eagles are licking their wounds after falling 24-14 to the Seahawks (–1 away) last Sunday. Sanchez was held to 96 yards on 10-of-20 passing with two TDs and an interception. Just like that, people are already asking when Foles is coming back. But Seattle has one of the most fearsome defenses in the league. Dallas? Minus-1.5 Defensive Simple Rating System, according to Pro Football Reference. We’ll go with what we saw in Week 13, thank you kindly.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Eagles -3 at 5Dimes

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