Another one of the marquee matchups of the weekend with both teams holding championship aspirations and this time around we get a true head-to-head with both teams playing with their staring quarterback.
Last year on both occasions that these two NFC East rivals met they did so with one team playing their backup quarterback.
This time around Jalen Hurts (Eagles) and Dak Prescott (Cowboys) come into the game fresh off four-touchdown performances in their last outing. They lead two of the most prolific scoring teams in football: Dallas ranks second (28.1) and Philadelphia is third (28.0) in points per game. Philadelphia have scored on a league-high 48.8% of their possessions while Dallas have scored on 45.8% of their drives, third in the NFL. The total points line set at +47.5 by Star Sports is an Evens chance to be exceeded and with these two offences there looks a fair chance of that happening.
However, both teams have played a relatively modest strength of schedule, and this will be one of the toughest tests for both of them. The Eagles have looked dominant for most of this season, while the Cowboys have had some struggles – but a Dallas win here would have these teams tied atop the NFC at seven wins apiece. An Eagles win would see them open up some breathings space as they once again bid to be the No1 seed in the NFC.
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The Eagles in particular will want to win this one as they are entering a very tough phase in their schedule with after this Cowboys contest they face the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, Cowboys (again) and Seahawks in the next five games. Dallas after this will have things on the face of it a little easier over a similar period facing the Giants, Panthers, Commanders, and Seahawks before the rematch with the Eagles.
The game itself with these two offences has plenty of scoreboard potential, the last time these rivals met late last season, they produced a combined 141 snaps and 74 total points. With that in mind the 9-2 in the Star Sports Specials Market about the Cowboys/Eagles contest being the highest scoring on Sunday makes plenty of appeal.
To digress slightly one or two other prices in the Star Sports Specials Markets also appeal on Sunday with the 11-2 (Giants/Raiders) and 15-2 (Packers/Rams) two prices that look in-play on the Lowest Scoring Game On Sunday Market. On the same theme the 9-1 and 14-1 on the Giants and Raiders in the Lowest Scoring Team Market on Sunday are also attractive, while on the other side of the coin the fast-paced playing Colts (11-1) are worth looking at in the Highest Scoring Team Market.
The Cowboys came out of their Week 7 bye looking to get their season back on track where despite having a 4-2 record going into the bye they had suffered a couple of worrying and in the case of the Cardinals defeat 28-16 an embarrassing loss. The 42-10 crushing by the then dominant 49ers would have also set the alarm bells ringing with the thought being can this team cope with the elite in the NFC first and foremost never mind what might be waiting in the AFC.
The Dallas offence spent the early part of the season in conservative and run heavy mode but the shackles appear to have been cast aside against the Rams last week where it was noticeable how aggressive and pass-heavy the offence was as they ran up a 33-3 lead. The Dallas offence despite the opposition mistakes and miscues looking a very different animal to the one we saw earlier in the season. There doesn’t appear to be much reason to change tack this week as they come up against the Eagles top-ranked run defence. All of that means there will be a great reliance on Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to replicate and perhaps exceed his numbers from the Rams game in which he recorded seasonal highs in passing yards (304), TDs (4), QB Rating (133.7), and yards per pass attempt (9.8). Prescott has fared extremely well against the NFC East, going 28-7 in his career. It’s not just the wins and losses. Prescott has thrown 61 touchdown passes to 19 interceptions in those 35 division starts. Prescott is a generous 14-1 in the starsports.bet Specials Market “Most Passing Yards on Sunday.
The slight change of role that lead Cowboys RB Tony Pollard has faced this year hasn’t suited him at all as he’s been given the job of carrying the ball inside the tackles when in truth he should be used to run outside and in the passing game, That type of role suits his skill set far better.
The game script calls for Dallas to spread the field and throw the football once again this week and that’s the way to get Pollard involved especially as the Eagles are sure to key on the Cowboys main wide receiver CeeDee Lamb who had a day and half last week catching 12-of-14 targets for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Much of that was down to the change of usage by the Cowboys positioning Lamb out wide rather than using him as a slot receiver, the Eagles have struggled on the exterior, so Dallas should be incentivized to keep Lamb in that role. Philadelphia are allowing 10.3 receptions per game to outside wide receivers, 31st in the league. They also are allowing a 7.9% touchdown rate to those wide receivers, which is also 31st in the league. When these teams last played a year ago with Prescott under centre, Lamb caught 10-of-11 targets for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Lamb is certainly worth a look in the starsports.bet player prop markets.
Philadelphia are a challenging foe and do a lot of their best work at home. The Eagles have only played three home games so far in 2023, putting up scores of 31, 31, and 34 in regulation, most recently knocking out the Miami Dolphins 31-17 in Week 7. However, we should put their results this season in this context also over their last five games, Philadelphia have not led by more than one score through three-quarters of any game.
Philadelphia are and have been very good at adjusting their offensive efforts to the flow of the game and they have enough talent at the skill positions to go head-to-head with any defence. QB Jalen Hurts has when he needs to not been afraid to take to the air as he showed last week against the Commanders. Hurts has faced the Cowboys only twice over the past two seasons completing 40 of 64 passes (63%) for 481 yards, notching a 4:2 TD-to-INT ratio, and compiling rushing lines of 9/27/0 and 9/35/0. Dallas have allowed plenty of home run shots to rival QBs this season, including 21 passes of 20 yards or more and Hurts has the receivers to take advantage of that trait.
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The main connection that Hurts has built this year has been to A.J. Brown who last week had yet another plus 125 yards receiving game. Brown has been terrorizing everyone over the past weeks, setting a record with 125-plus receiving yards in six straight games. Over that span, Brown has had 49 catches (second) for 831 yards (first), and five touchdowns (tied for first). Brown and the other main Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith were the last receivers to have more than 100 yards against the Cowboys. This year, the Cowboys have not allowed more than 86 yards receiving in a game to a wide receiver but Brown will take some stopping in his current form.
Hurts also has plenty of other complimentary skill players to work with on the ground D’Andre Swift and one of the better tight ends in the NFL in Dallas Goedert. Swift was limited again to 64 yards on 18 touches last Sunday, but he found the end zone at the end of the game to turn around his afternoon and he’ll be one to look for in the TD scorer market at starsports.bet.
We have already touched on how powerful Philadelphia are at home and it could well be that the Cowboys home/road splits come into play here. 3-0 at home with a point differential of +78, they are 2-2 on the road with a -1 point differential despite winning by 40 points in New York at the Giants.
Much of the way this game will flow will be down to how the Cowboys perform on offence, if they explode like last week then the Eagles will be forced to match them. On the other hand, if they fail to perform in that manner then the Eagles, who are the more adaptable team can grind it out. The Cowboys if they want to win this should come out and be aggressive and that will open the game up, the teams are pretty evenly matched but the Eagles are just the stronger at home.
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