Philadelphia Eagles vs. Prediction, Preview & Odds Dallas Cowboys – 12-24-2022

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The Philadelphia Eagles, owners of the best record in the NFL, travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a battle of two of the best teams in the NFC. Philadelphia comes into the game with five straight wins and a 13-1 record, but will play without potential MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off a frustrating road loss at Jacksonville and is 10-4 on the season. The starting gun is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

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The Philadelphia Eagles have decided to be safe than sorry this week and will sit Jalen Hurts down and rest his ailing shoulder against second place Dallas. With a three-game lead in the NFC East standings and a two-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings with just three games remaining in the regular season, the Eagles have decided to turn to backup quarterback Gardner Minshew against the Cowboys. Minshew is 1-1 in his career as the Eagles’ starting quarterback, including a loss last year to the Cowboys. Last week, led by Hurts, the Eagles beat the Bears in Chicago, 25-20. Hurts passed for 315 yards in the win and rushed for 61 yards and three touchdowns. Hurts now has 13 touchdowns on the season and is just one behind the NFL record for touchdowns by a quarterback set by Cam Newton in 2011.

“Great teams, great players, they find a way,” Hurts said. “And I think collectively as a group, we all came together and found a way as a team. And I think that’s the biggest lesson of this game.”

The Eagles’ running attack, ranked fourth in the NFL, will feature more of its running backs exclusively this week, as Minshew doesn’t possess the running skills of Hurts. Minshew is likely to set up the ball more against the Dallas defense with the Eagles’ 11th-ranked passing offense. The efficiency in the red zone of the Eagles, ranked first in the NFL, will be tested without the threat of Hurts running the ball in it. Defensively, the Eagles’ No. 19 run defense hopes to hold off the Cowboys and force a drive of third-and-long against Philadelphia’s No. 1 pass defense.

Key injuries: QB Hurts is out (shoulder). WR Zach Pascal did not participate in practice at the end of the week.

Looking to even things out

The Dallas Cowboys’ collapse against the Jaguars likely cost them any chance of capturing the NFC East crown this season. Last week, the Cowboys blew a 27-10 lead in Jacksonville and eventually fell 40-34 in overtime on a pick-six from quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott finished the game 23 of 30 for 256 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Cowboys’ much-vaunted pass rush could only record one sack in the game and Dallas allowed 318 passing yards.

“It’s tough. It’s frustrating,” Prescott said after the game of the game-ending interception. “It’s hard to follow that line, trying to make a play, trying to be aggressive and at the same time not put the ball at risk.

Dallas is likely to try to test the Eagles’ No. 19 rushing defense with their No. 7 rushing attack. Philadelphia and Dallas are ranked 1 and 2 in turnover differential this season, but the lead could shift in the direction of Dallas without Hurts as a starter. Dallas’ 24th-ranked run defense will be tested against the Eagles’ running backs as the Cowboys try to force Minshew to beat them, against his 3rd-ranked pass defense. The Cowboys penchant for penalties, ranked 27th in the NFL, will be something to watch out for in a very even game.

Key injuries: WR Noah Brown, S Jaron Kearse and DE DeMarcus Lawrence are listed as questionable, while LB Leighton Vander Esche is out with a shoulder injury.

The best bets for this game

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These two teams are neck and neck in several categories. The Eagles have the best turnover differential in the NFL, Dallas falls to #2. The Eagles pass defense is the best in football, Dallas is third in the NFL. The Eagles’ red zone offense is #1 in the NFL, while the Cowboys are #2. The Eagles have the #2 scoring offense in the NFL, while Dallas has the #3 scoring offense. 1 in sacks per game, while the Cowboys register at number 2. In such a close matchup, Hurts’ loss is huge. Not having him in the running game will simplify the Cowboys’ approach to stopping the run, particularly critical with the loss of Vander Esche. Not having Hurts in the passing game removes the threat of him pushing himself and doesn’t force Dallas to install a spy on defense to fend off Hurts’ mobility. The two-headed running game of Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott and Joseph Pollard should be able to do some damage and allow Prescott to execute some play action. The Cowboys will also have more motivation in this case, as Philly has nearly clinched the division and the best record in the conference.

Take Dallas -2

Prediction: Dallas -2

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Two great offenses and two great defenses face off in a game that probably would have had a lot more fireworks with Hurts under center. The Cowboys haven’t really had to play with a lot of mobile quarterbacks this season, but they’ve struggled when they have. Arguably the three most mobile quarterbacks they’ve ever faced — Hurts, Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence — have put up 26, 29 and 40 against them. More traditional quarterbacks have struggled with the Cowboys’ vaunted rush. Also, keep in mind that even with Hurts in the first meeting, the two teams combined for 46 points. Minshew certainly isn’t a slacker, but he’s not as dynamic as Hurts. This one should fall short of a total that’s already down three points since Hurts was officially ruled out.

Take the bass, 47.5 points.

Prediction: under 47.5

Written by
Mark Ruelle, “Mark Ruelle”

Mark has been a sports fan since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. We now have Mark on our team here in Stat Salt. He has degrees in marketing, broadcasting and English and uses this wide range of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of stats to consider and solid opinion on every matchup he covers. Follow it daily for up-to-date analysis on all the major games.

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