The Dallas Cowboys (4-1) and Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) meet in the biggest game in the NFC so far this NFL season. The Eagles had their first close win of the season in Arizona to get to 5-0 and have an MVP candidate in Jalen Hurts.
The Cowboys were left for dead after a Week 1 loss, but Mike McCarthy has the team with four straight wins while starting backup quarterback Cooper Rush.
Dallas is a 4.5-point road underdog with a total of 42 points at many of the top-rated sportsbooks. Can the Eagles remain undefeated, or can Dallas get Dak Prescott back in time for a pivotal game in the division race?
Let’s look at the NFL odds of multiple betting markets in this matchup.
Sunday, October 16, 2022 – 08:20 PM EDT at Lincoln Financial Field
Over/Under 42 Points: Expect the Under?
We are going to work with the assumption that Prescott (thumb surgery) is a long shot to play on Sunday night, so it will be Cooper Rush for the fifth game in a row at quarterback.
The last time these teams played in Week 18 last year, it was a 51-26 win by Dallas’ starters against Philadelphia’s backups in an irrelevant game. But even the time before that was 41-21, another Dallas win, as the Eagles were three games into Nick Sirianni’s coaching tenure.
These teams are different than last year. The Eagles, ranked No. 7 in points allowed, are allowing quarterbacks to complete under 60% of their passes right now, while last year they set a record by allowing five quarterbacks to go over 80% in a game.
They have not allowed more than 21 points in four straight games, and when they are not playing the crazy 2022 Lions, they have scored 20-to-29 points each week. The use of the running game leads to some longer drives than average, and the Eagles have turned the ball over just twice this season.
How Are The Teams Doing?
Philadelphia has scored at least 22 points in 9 out of 11 of the home starts under quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is in the top four for MVP candidates this season along with Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson.
As for Dallas, the Cowboys are starting to get the turnovers again with five in the last two weeks, but they have legitimately become a top-tier defense this season led by Micah Parsons, the odds-on favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. Dallas is third in the NFL at allowing 14.4 points per game, and no one has scored 20 points yet on the Cowboys.
As for the offense, the Cowboys are far from the No. 1 scoring team like they were in 2021, which was largely fueled by the takeaways and return scores. But Dallas is only 24th in scoring this season, and the Cowboys have scored 20-to-25 points in each of Rush’s four starts. That includes a fumble returned for a touchdown against the Rams on Sunday as the offense only scored 16 points with Rush passing for 102 yards in his least productive start yet.
The Over/Under Pick
If we know two things about the NFL right now, it would be scoring is down this year and division games can be very unpredictable.
But while some of the stats may suggest a defensive struggle, there is enough offensive talent on both teams to produce a 23-20 type of game that would hit the over. Maybe Prescott gets cleared to start at the last moment and the game ends 27-23.
Under Sirianni, the over is 7-3 in Philadelphia home games, the highest over rate since 2021. The over is also 5-3 in Dallas’ division games since 2021. If Texans vs. Bears can get to 43 points in 2022, why not Cowboys vs. Eagles on Sunday Night Football? Let’s go with the over in this one as both teams come in playing with confidence.
NFL Pick: Over 42 points (-110) at Bet365
First Half Scoring and Spread
The Eagles’ Performance So Far This Season
After five games, we can talk about the 2022 Eagles as being a historical team in terms of first-half scoring, particularly in the second quarter. The Eagles have scored 92 points in the second quarter, the most points any NFL team has scored in any quarter through the first five games of a season since the 1970 merger. The next closest team in the second quarter is the 1973 Rams with 79 points. The next closest team in any quarter is the 2002 Chiefs, who scored 85 points in the fourth quarter of their first five games.
The Eagles have scored 106 points in the first half and 29 points in the second half on their way to 5-0. That means 78.5% of their scoring is done in the first half. That’s actually the second-highest rate in 2022 as the Titans are at 85.4% thanks to not scoring a single point in the fourth quarter yet.
But in terms of difference in scoring by half, the Eagles stand alone at plus-77 points in the first half. It is the largest difference of any NFL team since the 1983 Packers were plus-78.
The 2022 Eagles are just the 14th team since 1970 to score at least 100 points before halftime through five games. Six of the previous 13 teams reached the Super Bowl that year, and 10 out of 13 reached at least the Conference Championship Game.
That is good news for the Eagles’ long-term success this season. The bad news may be that the Eagles only have 43 points outside of the second quarter, which would tie them with the Rams for the fewest points in the other three quarters. Some of that has been game script as the Eagles get control early and run the ball a lot to kill clock.
What About Last Week?
Sunday in Arizona was the first time all season the Eagles did not lead for the entire second half. It was the first time the offense took the field with a fourth-quarter tie this season, and they were able to march down for the game-winning field goal.
The Cowboys notoriously needed Rush to lead three game-winning drives in each of his first three starts, becoming the first quarterback since Virgil Carter (1968) to do that.
So, the Cowboys are more likely to trail and come from behind in the second half. They don’t want to put too much on Rush early in games, so they can play it safe.
The First Half Picks
The Eagles have allowed just seven points in the third quarter this year, while the Cowboys have only allowed 11 points in the fourth quarter. Both of those totals rank third in the NFL right now.
For these reasons, plus the way the favored Eagles usually score well at home under Hurts, you should take the first half to be the highest scoring, and for the Eagles to cover the first-half spread.
Maybe Dallas makes it more interesting after halftime the way the Cardinals did on Sunday against Philadelphia.
NFL Pick: First Half as Highest Scoring Half (+105) at FanDuel
NFL Pick: Eagles -3 First Half Spread (-115) at FanDuel
Final Prediction: Who Wins?
This is one of the biggest games of the season for the Eagles, who are looking to take the division back from the Cowboys. Philadelphia was 0-7 against other playoff teams last year.
Maybe the only potential playoff team the Eagles have beat on the way to 5-0 this year was Minnesota, and that was a decisive 24-7 win in prime time. This is another chance to shine against a Dallas team that is riding high with a four-game winning streak.
The Eagles have so much balance on both sides of the ball and can win games in a variety of ways. The way they start fast and take control of games should come in handy as Rush has had it easy with the defense and running game keeping games within reach for him.
He has never had to win a game where Dallas allowed more than 17 points yet. The Eagles are unlikely to cough up the ball like the Rams did on Sunday. This is easily the most complete offense the Cowboys have faced yet this season.
Trust the Eagles to show why they are the last unbeaten team this year and were the new favorite to win the NFC East. Take Philadelphia to cover for your NFL picks this Sunday night.
NFL Pick: Eagles -5 (-105) at SBK