Cowboys vs. Eagles NFL Week 18 Preview and Best Bet

Tarell Basham #93 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP.

The NFC playoff picture is mostly decided, but the order remains to be determined in the last round of the NFL regular season. The Dallas Cowboys clinched a spot in the postseason by winning the NFC East title in Week 16.

The Philadelphia Eagles rubber-stamped their ticket following a 20-16 win over the Washington Football Team in Week 17. Now, the pair is set to bring down the curtain on their respective campaigns in an NFC East showdown at Lincoln Financial Field Stadium marking Week 18.

Across multiple online sports betting platforms, the Cowboys are tipped as the road favorites. However, the line opened with the Cowboys at -2.5 in point spread betting markets, down from a lookahead line that projected the Cowboys as the 4-point road favorites.

The significant move on the NFL odds board has a lot to do with Dallas’ defeat to the Arizona Cardinals, which saw the Cowboys fall out of the race to the No.1 seed in the NFC. The Green Bay Packers sewed up the coveted top spot later that day, with a lopsided win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Saturday, January 08, 2022 – 08:15 PM EST at Lincoln Financial Field

Cowboys Tripped Up in Week 17

Perhaps, the Cowboys only had a slim shot to challenge the Packers for the top seed in the NFC. But it was still a shot. An opportunity they were supposed to seize in a game that they themselves dubbed a statement game in the lead-up to Week 17. But, in the biggest game of their season, they tripped up at the time of asking.

That in of itself is a statement. Granted it’s not the statement they had in mind. The Cowboys were keen to show that they were ready to compete with the league’s top contenders. That they were different from previous installments that flattered to deceive. Unfortunately, they showed they weren’t that much different after all.

Going into Week 17, the Cowboys were tipped as the 6.5-point home favorites over the Cardinals. The Cowboys were riding a four-game winning streak and seemed primed to give the Packers a right challenge for the top seed in the last two weeks of the season. On the flipside, Kliff Kingsbury’s side was struggling on form after dropping three straight games and falling behind in both the NFC West and NFC race. The Cardinals were there for the taking, so to speak.

But Dak Prescott and the Cowboys got off to a slow start and paid the price in the end as they succumbed to a 25-22 loss to the Cardinals at the AT&T Stadium. The biggest loss was revealed after the game though, with news that Michael Gallup’s scary injury was in fact a season-ending ACL injury.

Prescott finished with a so-so account. He went 24 of 38 for 226 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. But he fumbled the ball three times, once for a loss.

Stats don’t always tell the full story. Truth is, the Cowboys’ offense struggled. They couldn’t get the big plays going and failed to put up more than seven points in the first three quarters. Prescott’s passes were all over the place, often missing his targets or simply getting swatted away. Talk about a total turnaround after dropping 56 points on Washington the week before.

Eagles Clinch Playoff Berth

The Eagles clinched a spot in the playoffs after beating Washington 20-16 in the nation’s capital. The win saw the Eagles improve to a 9-7 record on the season, but they failed to cover as the 6-point road favorites for ATS NFL picks.

In the second meeting between the Eagles and Washington this month, the Eagles found themselves once again down ten points at the start of the game. The Eagles rallied to win 27-17 on December 21. This time, they rallied to win 20-16.

Philadelphia’s postseason fate wasn’t determined immediately after the win. Nick Sirianni’s side had to wait until the conclusion of the day’s action. They needed a Minnesota loss and either a San Francisco win or New Orleans loss later Sunday to go through. Tale told, San Francisco won and Minnesota lost. Thus, they clinched a spot.

It was a gritty performance all around with both the offense and defense doing just enough to get the win. Jalen Hurts went 17 of 26 for 214 yards passing and he rushed for 44 yards on seven carries. Boston Scott led the team in rushing with 47 yards and two scores.

NFL Picks and Prediction

The Cowboys played the schedule they were given and they did so well. However, the drawback to having an easy schedule – Dallas had the second easiest schedule in the league according to Strength of Schedule (SOS rankings) – is that it’s impossible to tell whether they’re as good as their 11-5 record suggests or whether they’re only as good as their opponents were bad.

If losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Arizona Cardinals were any indication, then the latter might be the case. Fortunately, this trend against the league’s better teams this season is a non-factor against the Eagles. The fact is that the Eagles haven’t beaten a single team with a winning record to date.

Although much of the same can be said of the 9-7 Eagles, who had the league’s easiest schedule (ranked 32nd in SOS rankings), the perception of these two NFC East rivals is vastly different. By all accounts, Dallas is considered to be much better than Philadelphia. The last time these two sides met, the Cowboys eviscerated the Eagles 41-21 on Monday Night Football.

All told, both these sides are heading into the postseason with more questions than answers. As far as their Week 18 matchup goes, the Cowboys should clinch the win and cover rather comfortably as the choice NFL pick. Put it this way, if the Cowboys don’t, it won’t bode well for their postseason hopes or their stock in Super Bowl 56 futures.

NFL Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3 (-110) with Bet365