Monday Night Football Week 3 Prediction and Picks: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Will the Eagles be able to keep pace with the explosive Cowboys offense on Monday night? NFL expert Ben Gretch breaks it down.
Ben Gretch
Sun, September 26, 7:22 AM EDT

Monday Night Football Week 3 Prediction and Picks: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Key Note:

Philadelphia will be without key offensive linemen Jordan Mailata and Brandon Brooks and edge defender Brandon Graham. In addition, Dallas will be without offensive tackle La'el Collins.

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Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Preview

After entering the season as the market favorites in the NFC East, the Cowboys have pretty much looked the part, taking the defending Super Bowl champion Bucs down to the wire in a Week 1 loss before a big Week 2 road win at the Chargers. The Eagles, meanwhile, were picked to finish last in the division, but they've surprised under new head coach Nick Sirianni and might be Dallas's biggest competition for the division at this stage. That sets the stage for what should be a fun divisional battle on Monday Night Football.

Both teams are unfortunately not at full strength in the trenches. Dallas will again be without right tackle La'el Collins, who is suspended. Collins missed Week 2 but played well enough in Week 1 to be PFF's 12th-graded offensive tackle to date. And yet, he's not even the best PFF-graded tackle missing this game — Jordan Mailata is PFF's No. 2 tackle through two weeks, and his absence will be a massive hit to an Eagles' line that already lost guard Brandon Brooks in Week 2.

Both offenses being without key offensive linemen has me steering toward the under in this one. After opening up at 52.5 in some spots, the total has settled in at 51.5, which has certainly squeezed a little value out. But the Eagles feature a run-heavy approach that has helped lead to both of their games going under 40 so far this year, while the Cowboys were content playing a little slower and leaning toward the run in a close Week 2 win that also stayed under 40 total points. Week 2 was a far cry from Dallas' Week 1 gameplan, which featured aggressive passing throughout against the Bucs, and Dallas ran 31 times against 27 passes in Week 2.

Jalen Hurts has looked solid through two weeks for Philadelphia, notably opening things up with more vertical passing in Week 2 after averaging the lowest intended air yards per pass in Week 1. He connected for one long play with Quez Watkins amidst several near misses. Still, more vertical passing could certainly send this game over, especially if Dallas came out more aggressively on offense as they did in Week 1. Dak Prescott hasn't really missed a beat in 2021, and in 2020 before his injury, Dallas' high-powered passing game led to shootout after shootout.

But the offensive line absences are key stories and should keep both teams a little more conservative than they might otherwise have been. So I like the Cowboys to win — though the spread doesn't offer much value — and in doing so, to play relatively slow by their standards.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Pick

  • Under 51.5

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Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch
Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.
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