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Saturday Night Football: Eagles-Cowboys Week 18 preview, odds, and prediction

The Philadelphia Eagles have finally arrived to Week 18, their last regular season home game of the season. Typically, when the Dallas Cowboys come to town, the city is engulfed in what has been commonly known as “Dallas Week” or “Hate Week”. This year, we do not have that same type of feel buzzing down Broad Street, and that’s a good thing.

The Eagles clinched a playoff berth last week against the Washington Football Team, leaving today’s game pretty meaningless for the birds. It also brings up the question to why this game was flexed to Saturday night when it will likely be played like a preseason game. Both the Cowboys and Eagles are already heading to the playoffs and have very little to play for.

In tonight’s game, there’s no reason to risk any injuries, so don’t expect to see either team’s starters play the majority of the game, despite what both coaches have stated throughout the week. Key players on both sides have already been ruled out tonight, including Miles Sanders for the Eagles and Trevon Diggs for the Cowboys.

Earlier this season, the Cowboys blew out the Eagles in Dallas, but a lot has changed since then. The Eagles only ran the football 12 times, nine of which were from Jalen Hurts. Now, the Eagles have the best rushing attack in the league.

  • 1st: Total Rushing Yards (2,566)
  • 2nd: Rushing Attempts (517)
  • 3rd: Yards per Carry (5.0)

As of this morning, the Eagles still had 11 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, including Fletcher Cox, Dallas Goedert, and several other starters. All of them were eligible to be activated yesterday, but only Jason Kelce returned. Philadelphia is likely keeping them out to ensure they’re fully healthy. Jason Kelce was likely activated because the Eagles literally have no other center to play tonight.

Backup center Landon Dickerson is questionable with a thumb injury, and Nate Herbig is still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. If Dickerson is dealing with an injury, it’s wise to hold him out of tonight’s game, even if it’s minor to ensure that he’s back in action for the playoffs.

Eagles-Cowboys odds via Parx Sportsbook, the official sports gambling partner of The Liberty Line

Dallas Cowboys-4 (-112)-200O 43.5 (-106)
Philadelphia Eagles+4 (-109)+165U 43.5 (-114)

>> Sign up for a Parx Sportsbook account today with promo code LIBERTYLINE to get your first bet RISK-FREE up to $500.

Tonight’s game in South Philadelphia should be viewed more as a celebration of a first year head coach and 23-year old starting quarterback Jalen Hurts turning a 2-5 start to the season into a Wild Card playoff berth. Enjoy it, because after Week 7, very few people thought that would be the case.

Let’s see what our backup players have to offer and get another taste of Minshew Mania. At the very least, we can check out the progression of some of the other players on the roster and help evaluate our options heading into the offseason.

Hell, maybe Gardner Minshew puts on a show like he did against the New York Jets and we watch his trade value skyrocket and everyone on Twitter can debate whether Howie Roseman is a genius or not.

Without knowing how long the starters will play tonight, it’s hard to accurately give a prediction on who will win the game. Something to keep an eye on if the starters do get some playing time, is rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

The Heisman Trophy winner is 37 yards behind Desean Jackson for the most receiving yards by an Eagles rookie wide receiver and stated earlier this week he hopes to play tonight. It would be icing on the cake for Smitty to snag a record in Week 18 of the regular season and no, I don’t care that he had an extra week to make it happen, so don’t even bring that up.

We’re on track to get a heavy dose of Gardner Minshew against Cooper Rush tonight, likely in the second quarter, so just sit back and have some fun. I would never take anything else besides the Eagles as home underdogs, so give me the Birds +165. No way I’m passing up the value offered there, and Minshew is clearly a better quarterback than Cooper Rush.

Also keep an eye out for Quez Watkins, as he will likely be getting a lot of looks with the starters resting the majority of the game.

The playoffs are just one week away. Fly Eagles Fly.

Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports

Writer for The Liberty Line, Host of The Flyover Podcast. You can follow me on Twitter @JackPConnell

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