• declanquillen

Monday Night Football Preview: Eagles @ Cowboys

(FanDuel Sportsbook)

Welcome to our Monday Night Football preview blog! This will be the start of a series of blogs previewing the primetime NFL games each week. We're going to start off with Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football.

The third MNF of the season kicks off tomorrow night with a crucial NFC East matchup. The Philadelphia Eagles travel to Jerry's World to take on the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams enter this matchup with a 1-1 record on the year, tied with the WFT for the division lead. If we learned anything from last season, it is to expect the unexpected when it comes to the NFC East. If you'll recall, the Washington Football team won the division in 2020 with an uninspiring 7-9 record. This has led to the tongue-in-cheek moniker of the fearsome NFC (b)East.


This game comes off the heels of a crucial Week 2 victory over the Chargers for Dallas. Despite a far-from-stellar performance for Dak Prescott, the Cowboys were able to take the lead late in the 4th quarter and hang on by the skins of their teeth for the W. The opening matchup of the NFL season saw the Cowboys lose on a last second field goal to the defending champ TB Bucs.

My takeaways from the first two games of the year for the 'Boys? First of all, this team is much better than they were last year. As long as they stay healthy, I would think they should be the odds-on favorite to win the NFC East. Most sportsbooks currently have those odds anywhere between -125 and -150. They have two major athletic weapons at WR with Ceedee Lamb and Amari Cooper. The overall team defense has certainly been an issue the last few years, and this seems to still be a weakness at this early point in the season. For me, the most important factors for the Cowboys this season will be the consistency of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. Prescott is obviously coming off that devastating leg injury from last season. Zeke Elliot has been an odd situation over the last season and a half. At his best, we all know he can be one of the top RBs in the entire NFL, but he has failed to reach 60 scrimmage yards in four of his last eight games, and he tends to have entire quarters or even halves where he becomes invisible out there. As we saw in Week 1, the Cowboys have the personnel to compete with the best teams in the league. Their two biggest concerns have got be staying healthy and finding consistent play from their superstars on offense.

The Eagles clobbered the lowly Falcons in their Week 1 matchup, but then couldn't get anything going on offense in their Week 2 loss to the 49ers. Philly has got to be one of the hardest teams to get a read on this year. They have finally rid themselves of their Carson Wentz problem. This feels like the first season in a new, fresh era for Philadelphia. That's not necessarily a good thing though. This season all comes down to the progression of Jalen Hurts. It seems as though the Eagles' front office has Hurts pegged as their guy (at least for the 2021 season). His future as a starter in the NFL will likely be decided in the next 8-12 weeks. I am personally not a big Hurts guy. While he had flashes of brilliance at both Alabama and Oklahoma, his ball security was a major issue at times, and he had several lackluster performances in big games (most notably getting benched for Tua in the National Championship game at Alabama...). The Eagles have so many question marks and a ton of turnover in personnel from last season that it makes it hard to have a ton of confidence in them this early in the season. Who knows though? Maybe Hurts is their quarterback of the future, and the Eagles faithful will soon have something to get excited for yet again.

My pick: Cowboys -3

This is a game where I'm going to have to give the three points and take the home team. Based on the first two weeks of the season, I don't really see any distinct advantage the Eagles have over the Cowboys at any specific position. On paper, the Cowboys roster just has way more speed and strength. If they can get Zeke and the run game going, I just don't see a way where Philly outscores them. This Cowboys team really should be making the playoffs this year, whereas the Eagles probably have another year or so of rebuild.

by Declan Quillen

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