Eagles at Cowboys: If you bet this game way back in May, you could have gotten the Cowboys at +1. If you bet them this week, you got them at somewhere close to -10. Last week, the Eagles were 2.5 underdogs… at home… to a 2-8 team. And I actually thought that line was too low.
As noted earlier in the week, the Cowboys are hurting on defense up the middle. Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, and Barry Church are all out for the season. Meanwhile, Jay Ratliff is listed as doubtful with a groin injury, and has yet to practice this week (as of Wednesday). Here is what Dallas’ starters were supposed to be on defense up the middle, and what it has become, if in fact Ratliff is not a go tonight:
If I’m the Eagles, and I really want to win this game, I go run-heavy. Right at them. Again and again. Punts are OK, turnovers are not. I doubt that will be the case. The closest comparison to this 2012 disaster of a season in the Andy Reid era was the 2005 “Terrell Owens season.”
As the team played out the string, they remained pass heavy with QB Mike McMahon, instead of feeding the ball to Ryan Moats, who at the time had some similarities to Bryce Brown, in that they were both rookies who were putting up good numbers. Here were the Eagles’ pass vs run numbers in their last 4 games that season (Side note: This game has been so thoroughly washed from my memory that I don’t even know who “L. Gordon” is):
26-23 OT loss to the Giants:
17-16 win over the Rams:
27-21 loss to the Cardinals:
31-20 loss to the Redskins:
I don’t expect Andy Reid to run the ball more in his last few games as the Eagles head coach, and in turn, I don’t expect them to win any of their final 5 games. That includes this week in Dallas, where the Cowboys have to have this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. DeMarco Murray is expected to return tonight, which should help the Cowboys 32nd ranked run game.
Giants at Redskins: The first matchup between these two teams earlier in the season was one of the more entertaining games of the season. The Redskins have some juice all of a sudden, but I wonder how warranted that really is. The last two weeks, the Skins faced two of the most injury-decimated teams in the NFL. Hell, just look at the Eagles’ and Cowboys’ injury reports:
That’s a long list with some big names. Some of those guys listed above played against the Skins, but the point remains that both teams were incredibly banged up when the Redskins faced them. And those lists don’t even include Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Sean Lee, and Bruce Carter. It’s not always about who you play… It’s about when you play them, and the Skins benefited greatly by how their schedule played out. Meanwhile, the Giants are relatively healthy. Jason Pierre-Paul is listed as questionable, but I wouldn’t count on him sitting this one out.
The bottom line for me is… “Can the Redskins consistently stop the Giants’ passing attack?” My thinking is an emphatic “No.”
The Redskins haven’t won a meaningful division game this late in the season… in ever, Jerry… in ever.
OK, so maybe not “in ever,” but it sure feels that way. Of course, RG3 was never a part of the Redskins’ stink over the last decade and a half, but until they actually come through, I’ll side on the “tried and true.” Hey, that rhymes. Giants 31-17.