The Philadelphia Eagles are set to take on the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday at 4:25 PM EST in Dallas, Texas. This is the game of the season for the Eagles. A win lands them tied atop the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. On the other hand, a loss all but guarantees the end of a playoff hope for the Eagles. With everything on the line, who is favored to win this game and this Division?
Coming into this game, the Philadelphia Eagles are 6-6, riding a two-game winning streak after getting demolished by the Saints 48-7. Although they’ve managed to win 2 games in a row, the Eagles have yet to get in a groove and really get into tip-top form. Furthermore, they still have a deeply injured and susceptible defensive secondary. The Eagles can best be summarized as being the most consistent sub-par team of the 2018 season.
On the other side of the field, the Cowboys sit atop the Division at 7-5 after capping off a four-game winning streak with an impressive 13-10 shutdown of Drew Brees and the Saints. This time of the season is all about getting hot and going on a roll and that’s exactly what the Dallas Cowboys are doing. They are on a four-game winning streak, with their team looking better and better each week. Just last week, their defense came into prime form against the Saints, keeping the #3 scoring offense to just 10 points and the MVP candidate, Drew Brees, to just 127 yards!
Overall, going into this game, the Dallas Cowboys have every single advantage possible. Other than their winning streak and prime defense, this game against the Eagles is in Texas. This season, the Cowboys are 5-1 at home while the Eagles are 2-3 in away games. Again, a clear advantage for a team heating up at the right time. Let’s also not forget how badly hurt the Eagles defensive secondary is, leaving them extremely susceptible in the passing game. Their whole starting defensive secondary and main rotational players, with the exception of Safety Malcolm Jenkins, are injured. Last but not least, the Cowboys have already figured out the Eagles this season, when they beat them 27-20 at Philadelphia back on November 11th.
To make matters worse for the Eagles, even if they win this game, they are still unlikely to win the Division. Currently, the Eagles are 6-6 and the Cowboys are 7-5 with this upcoming match-up left and then 3 more games for each team. If the Eagles win this game, they’ll improve to 7-6 and the Cowboys will demote to 7-6, making them tied atop the Division. In such instances of a tie, the Division goes to the team who has the better record in “head-to-head” match-ups. In this case, each team will have won one game against the other. Thus, the Division winner is then found by analyzing the record of each team for games played in the Division. Again, if the Eagles win at Dallas, their Division record will be 4-1 while the Cowboys record will become 3-2, thus giving the Eagles the Division.
However, there will still be 3 more games left in the season and that’s the real problem for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles will still have to play the 11-1 LA Rams, 9-3 Houston Texans, and rival 6-6 Washington Redskins. Two out of the three games are away for the Eagles, leaving them at another disadvantage. In all likelihood, the Eagles are going to lose at least two out of the three games, leaving them at an 8-8 record. Winning against the Redskins is also not guaranteed, as we’ve seen Division rivals ruin playoff hopes in the final game of the year on many occasions.
On the other hand, the Cowboys will have to play the 6-6 Indianapolis Colts, 5-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and 4-8 New York Giants. The Cowboys can win all three of these games and are favored to do so after their performance against the Saints. Even if the Cowboys go 2-1, they’ll end up with a 9-7 record, enough to win the Division.
Ultimately, the Dallas Cowboys control their own destiny and have all the advantages in their favor. It sounds like what a team would hope for, but the Dallas Cowboys have a sour history in such situations. It’s in instances in which they are favored that the Dallas Cowboys fumble apart and analysts know this.
None the less, this Division is favored for the Cowboys and if the Eagles want to at least try to make a stand, they must get out with a win this Sunday. It’s strictly Division winner or bust for the Eagles and in order to represent the NFC East in the playoffs, the Eagles pretty much have to win out. If the Eagles fail at step 1 this Sunday and lose to the Cowboys, the season is guaranteed to be over.