Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#497 Philadelphia Eagles vs.
#498 Dallas Cowboys
Monday, September 27, 2021 at 8:15pm EDT
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Written by Nathaniel Reeves

Bitter rivals will meet for a Monday night showdown when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium to close out Week 3. Philadelphia came up short last Sunday in a 17-11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers as a three-point home underdog, and is now 1-1 on the season. Dallas is also off to a 1-1 start after picking up a 20-17 road victory over the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend as a three-point underdog.

These teams split the season series in 2020, including a 37-17 home win for Dallas in late December. The Cowboys lead the NFC East rivalry 70-54 all-time.

Philadelphia puts up a fight against San Francisco

While the Eagles are coming off their first loss of the season, it has still been a positive start for a team that was expected to be rebuilding as they crushed the Atlanta Falcons before putting up a good effort against San Francisco. A Jake Elliot field goal was the only scoring of the game for the Eagles until the 4:02 mark of the fourth quarter when Jalen Hurts ran it in from a yard out, but the 49ers iced the game by picking up two first downs on the next drive.

Hurts finished 12 of 23 passing for 190 yards while carrying the ball 10 times for a team-high 82 yards and the lone touchdown of the game. Quez Watkins had two catches for 117 yards including a 91-yard effort, but the Eagles later got stopped on fourth down that drive. The Eagles finished with a 328-306 advantage in total yards and did a particularly good job limiting the prolific San Francisco rushing game.

"We had some bright spots, but ultimately, it's little mistakes, whether it's penalties ... I think it's across the board little things that we can do to get better, myself included. It's never positive when you lose, but it's all correctable," center Jason Kelce said via Philadelphia's official website.

Philadelphia is 1-1 against the spread so far, as it demolished the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 as a slight road underdog. Both of Philadelphia's games have gone under the betting total, as last Sunday's contest didn't come close to clearing 49 points.

It's been a mixed bag for the Eagles offensively with an average of 21.5 points and 381 yards per game in the early going. Philadelphia's defense has looked great, ranking second in scoring at 11.5 points per game allowed with opponents averaging 283 yards per contest.

Entering his first full year as the starter. Hurts has completed 39 of 58 pass attempts for 454 yards and three touchdowns while leading the team in rushing with 17 carries for 144 yards and a score. First-round pick DeVonta Smith is already a big part of the offense with eight catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Javon Hargrave is on track for a monster season defensively with 12 tackles including four for a loss, two sacks, and four quarterback hits already.

Injuries are once again becoming a massive concern for the Eagles, as star defensive end Brandon Graham (Achillies) and starting guard Brandon Brooks (pectoral) both left last Sunday's game and hit injured reserve immediately. Left tackle Jordan Mailata suffered a knee injury in practice on Thursday and has been ruled out. Safety Rodney McLeod (knee) is also ruled out for Monday while running back Boston Scott (illness) and linebacker Davion Taylor (calf).

Cowboys get in the win column with nice road victory

All the questions for the Cowboys this season are on the defensive side of the ball, so they will be thrilled with last weekend's performance on that end to beat Justin Herbert and the Chargers on the road. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot each recorded touchdown runs in the first quarter to get Dallas off to a hot start, and while the Cowboys wouldn't score again until the fourth, a 56-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein as time expired was still enough thanks to the defense coming up with a few timely plays.

Quarterback Dak Prescott completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 237 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception, with CeeDee Lamb reeling in eight catches for 101 yards. Pollard was the key player for the Dallas offense with 13 carries for 109 yards and a score. It was a fairly even game as Dallas finished with a 419-408 advantage in total yards, but holding Los Angeles to 1-4 in the red zone while forcing two turnovers was the difference.

“You see the best of Dak Prescott in those situations, and he knows those situations, puts a lot of time into it. I just really love his demeanor, his poise in two-minute drills, so it’s good to get these ones on Sunday,” coach Mike McCarthy said via the Associated Press about his quarterback, who had a bit of a down game but led the winning drive in the last two minutes.

The Cowboys are now 2-0 against the spread, as they were able to take the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the wire as a 10-point underdog in the season opener. Overs are off to a 1-1 start for Dallas, as last Sunday's game fell well short of the betting total of 55 points.

Dallas figures to have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, and it is averaging 24.5 points per game on 435 yards per game so far. A defense that was horrific in 2020 looks to have made some strides with 24 points and 420.5 yards per game allowed.

Making his return from an ugly ankle injury that ended his 2020 campaign after five games, Prescott has completed 65 of 85 pass attempts for 640 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Lamb and Amari Cooper are a prolific receiving tandem, combining for 31 catches for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Micah Parsons is already making a big impact defensively with nine tackles including one for a loss, five quarterback hits, one sack, and one pass breakup.

The Cowboys suffered a big injury blow last week, as top pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence went to IR with a foot injury. Wide receiver Michael Gallup is also out a few weeks with a calf problem. Starting right tackle La'el Collins is in the middle of serving a five-week suspension. Safety Donovan Wilson (groin) plus defensive ends Dorance Armstrong (ankle) and Carlos Watkins (knee) have been unable to practice this week. The defensive line depth further took a hit on Friday, as Bradlee Anae entered COVID protocol and won't be able to return by Monday.

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This will be a fairly evenly matched game that comes down to the wire, but ultimately Dallas' far more explosive offense with all the playmakers at the skill positions will make the difference. Dallas has been impressive so far against great competition in Tampa Bay and Los Angeles, while key injuries from last weekend are going to hurt Philadelphia's chances of a road win here.

The only question for a loaded Dallas offense was if Prescott would be at full strength after the gruesome ankle injury last year, and so far so good as the Cowboys have averaged 6.4 yards per play against a tough schedule of opposing defenses. While Hurts can make some things happen under center, the Eagles running backs and wide receivers don't provide a whole lot of help, and losing an outstanding lineman in Brooks is a huge blow.

Adding Parsons in the draft plus replacing Mike Nolan with a far superior coordinator in Dan Quinn has helped Dallas become a much better defense already, and the Cowboys have been opportunistic with an NFL-high six takeaways so far. Philadelphia has generally struggled against the spread on the road the last several seasons, and won't quite have enough to keep up with a Dallas offense that looks tough to stop.

Prediction: Cowboys -3

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Even if the Cowboy's defense is improved, it is certainly still far from perfect with 6.9 yards per play allowed this season to rank 28th in the NFL, and it was fortunate to only allow 17 points to a Chargers offense that moved the ball well. Dallas has already struggled to generate much pass rush as is and losing Lawrence is a brutal blow, not to mention all the other defensive line depth pieces listed on the injury report for Monday.

Even though Philadelphia's defense has looked great, things will be tough without its best pass rusher in Graham moving forward, and giving Prescott time to find all his weapons downfield against some shaky Eagles cornerbacks is not going to work out well. Dallas is a team that is going to play in a lot of high-scoring games, and the injury report for both teams makes this an easy over.

Prediction: Over 51.5
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Written By Nathaniel Reeves , "Nathaniel Reeves"

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily.