NFL Game Preview, Start Time and Free Pick
Start Time: Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm ET
Who: (285) Dallas Cowboys at (286) Philadelphia Eagles
Spread: Philadelphia -4.5 (Bookmaker.eu) (click to check out the latest odds)
Total: 55.5 (Bookmaker.eu)
My Bet: 3% on the DALLAS COWBOYS +4.5
Prior to the preseason, the defending NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys were the favorite to repeat as division champs. The Eagles had a very solid preseason, which shifted the odds to the Eagles as being favored to win the division. After Week 1, it’s the Cowboys sitting all alone at the top of the division.
Dallas is 1-0 after an improbable 27-26 comeback win over another NFC East rival, the Giants. The Giants led 23-20 and had a 3rd down at the Dallas 1-yard line with less than two minutes remaining in the game. But Eli Manning threw the football away instead of taking the sack, which saved the Cowboys the valuable time they needed to complete the comeback. After Josh Brown’s field goal made it 26-20 Giants, Tony Romo led the Cowboys on a 72-yard drive that ended with a TD pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds remaining. Beating a division rival despite being -3 in turnovers is a pretty tall order, but Dallas got it done.
The Eagles, after a stellar preseason, fell to the Falcons in Atlanta on Monday Night Football to open the 2015 season. Atlanta jumped out to a 20-3 halftime lead, fell behind 24-23 midway through the final quarter, and took back the lead with 6:27 remaining in the game on a 47-yard field goal by Matt Bryant. The Eagles had a chance to win it, but Eagles kicker Cody Parkey missed wide right on a 44-yard field goal, and Sam Bradford threw an interception with 1:11 remaining in the game to seal the 26-24 win for the Falcons.
Many people aren’t giving the Cowboys a chance in this one. The Cowboys were already going to be without DE Greg Hardy (suspension), LB Rolando McClain (suspension), and CB Orlando Scandrick (injury), but now they must also go into battle without rookie pass rusher Randy Gregory (ankle injury) and receiver Dez Bryant (broken foot). This is another game that will likely come down to whoever gets the ball last. That makes taking the points a good play. Dallas has won nine straight road games, and three straight games in Philly.
I like that the old “Injured Star Angle” is in play here. Star receiver Dez Bryant will miss this game, and teams have a tendency to step up and play very well in that first game without their star teammate. The average bettor will note the injury and bet on the Eagles, thinking Dallas has no chance without Bryant. As a result, the line has risen to either 4.5 or 5. But I expect the Cowboys to step up in this first game of Bryant’s absence. Getting more than a FG looks great to me, and the “Injured Star Angle” is almost always worth a shot. I’m making a 3% play on Dallas.
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