Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Prediction: Week 18 Motivation and Health Drives the Best Bet

With plenty of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list and questionable motivation for both teams, don't expect a high-scoring affair. NFL expert Ben Gretch is here previewing the Week 18 Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup on Saturday night.
Ben Gretch |
Fri, January 7, 9:30 AM EST | 7 min read
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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Prediction: Week 18 Motivation and Health Drives the Best Bet

Dallas heads to Philadelphia for a matchup of division foes that has little riding on it. The Cowboys clinched the NFC East which locks them into a home game in the first round of the playoffs, but they currently sit in the No. 4 seed and have only slim paths to moving as high as No. 2. The Eagles currently sit in the No. 7 seed and could climb to No. 6, but it isn’t even clear what the matchup would be in either scenario. 

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Saturday, January 8

Game Time: 8:15 pm ET

Where to Watch: ABC/ESPN

  • Key Note: Dallas has clinched the AFC East, while Philadelphia has clinched a spot in the playoffs, with both teams having limited incentive to go all out in Week 18

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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Over/Under Movement

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Eagles vs. Cowboys Prediction

Philadelphia put 12 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. All could theoretically play Saturday under the new regulations, but head coach Nick Sirianni didn’t rule out resting starters against the Cowboys. Miles Sanders has already been ruled out with his broken hand.

The Cowboys also have 11 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and have been adding more through the week, including Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite Micah Parsons, who will miss the game Saturday. The Cowboys also added cornerback Trevon Diggs to the Thursday injury report with an illness, while starting left tackle Tyron Smith was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday and seems unlikely to play. Defensive backs Anthony Brown and Jayron Kearse were also added to the list mid-week and similarly seem doubtful. 

So we have two teams with questionable motivation and long lists of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. These games are always tough to handicap, but we know pass rate can be a major driver in points scored, and both of these teams have shown a willingness to be run-heavy at times, especially the Eagles. If either or both Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts play, they will be candidates to not make it the full 60 minutes, and while both teams can be expected to try to win this game, these are the types of games where teams might throw in the towel a lot earlier than they typically would. 

The incentive for both coaching staffs here is to get their guys healthy for the Wild Card Round. The Cowboys lost wide receiver Michael Gallup for the season last week, while the Eagles have been dealing with nagging injuries to several key pieces. I don’t expect either team to play an up tempo style or throw at a high rate, and it’s hard to imagine a back-and-forth affair in the second half that can elevate scoring. I’m going the easy route and playing the under.

Eagles vs. Cowboys Pick

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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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