With Jalen Hurts injured and unavailable to play on Saturday, the Eagles are now underdogs against the Cowboys. Does Hurts’ unavailability warrant such a steep drop in the betting odds?
Saturday, December 24, 2022 – 04:25 PM EST at AT&T Stadium
The Philadelphia Eagles won’t have Jalen Hurts for Saturday’s game against the Cowboys.
Everyone’s up in arms. Hurts likely won’t play the rest of the regular season. But sitting on the bench is former starting quarterback Gardner Minshew, who has always deserved a second chance.
Minshew is slotting into an excellent situation. The Eagles are 13-1 on the season. The only loss came against the Cowboys, but don’t let Dallas’ loss to Jacksonville last week escape your brain.
The Eagles have a genuine shot at defeating the Cowboys on Saturday, even as 5.5-point underdogs.
Can The Eagles’ Offense Stay Explosive?
The Eagles have scored 29.4 points per game this season. They still have Miles Sanders, they still have A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith will still suit up, and the offensive line is still intact.
Minshew won’t be able to use the designed runs that Hurts always gets, but he’s capable of earning yards with his feet too. He’s an absolute gamer.
Philadelphia’s offense has still gained 250 yards in the air. That should stay the same with Minshew. He’s still young enough to be mobile and old enough to have experience.
The pass protection has been excellent this year. If Minshew gets time in the pocket, he can make some magic happen.
The Cowboys have struggled against the run all season long. If Philadelphia gets the run game going, they’ll keep Dallas off-balanced and earn plenty of points to win this game.
Can Dallas Regroup After Pitiful Loss?
Rivalries are fun. You can expect the unexpected.
The expectation is that the Eagles struggle against the Cowboys, on the road, without Jalen Hurts. But the Philadelphia defense hasn’t changed. The Eagles have been the better defense this season. They’ve simply been more consistent, allowing teams 321.4 yards per game.
The Philadelphia secondary is better, and the pass rush has improved immensely this season. Sure, the Eagles could probably do better tackling, but the run defense has also allowed fewer yards per game than the Cowboys.
The Cowboys have only earned 370.4 yards per game, with 145.1 yards on the ground. Dak Prescott has thrown 11 interceptions and hasn’t even played an entire season. He had the most costly interception last weekend.
The run game has held up nicely for the Cowboys between Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. But players like Michael Gallup are entirely lost, giving the Cowboys just two real threats in the passing game at the wide receiver position. That’s between CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown, who excelled last week, despite the loss.
Dallas figured to have Odell Beckham Jr. by now. But he likely won’t play until the postseason, even if he does decide to take his talent to Dallas. That game against Jacksonville might’ve thrown him off the Cowboys.
What Should We Expect?
The line was in favor of the Eagles before the Hurts news. Hurts is an MVP-caliber player. But his absence won’t change how well the Eagles have played this season in all other assets of the game.
Philadelphia has been the better team most weeks. The defense is better, and the offense still has plenty of weapons for a player like Gardner Minshew.
Minshew is finally getting his chance to start in the NFL again. Performing in these games will help him earn another job in the future.
Everyone went nuts when Cooper Rush had to step in for Dak Prescott. The Cowboys made life simple for Rush. Rush didn’t turn the ball over and helped the Cowboys stay together earlier in the season.
That was beneficial for the Cowboys. Now we’re talking about the postseason for the Cowboys, despite Prescott missing more than a month due to injury.
The Betting Pick
Minshew will do what’s asked of him for the remainder of the season. Hurts will be available for the playoffs. So, for now, the Eagles will try and get Minshew comfortable with the offense. We all know what he’s capable of. His ceiling is way higher than Cooper Rush’s, for example.
So here’s my warning to you. The public loves the Cowboys. 72% are on the Cowboys -5.5.
The Eagles aren’t 13-1 just because of Hurts. Don’t fall into the trap.
NFL Pick: Eagles ML (+188) at SBK