Week 16 Free NFL Picks: Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 16 Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on FOX 12/24/11: A month ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were in disarray, Michael Vick was hurt, and many were wondering if Andy Reid was going to be fired as coach. However, two straight wins have the Eagles at 6-8 and still alive in the wild NFC East. Philadelphia can take another step toward a division title this weekend when the head to Dallas to face the Cowboys (8-6). Dallas is still in control of its own destiny regardless of the outcome of this matchup, but a loss to Philadelphia certainly adds a lot of pressure on Jerry Jones’ team. Despite playing at home and leading the division, Dallas is favored by just a single point.
The small spread is likely a direct result of the 34-7 dismantling the Eagles delivered when the two teams went to Philadelphia. In that meeting, Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy ran for a season-high 185 yards, and Vick completed 21 of his 28 pass attempts. In short, it was probably the best game Philadelphia has played all year on both sides of the ball, which as to scare Dallas.
If the Cowboys are going to reverse the outcome this time around, they have to slow down McCoy. For the year, Dallas ranks seventh against the run, but the unit had no answer for the Eagles’ ground attack in the first meeting. When McCoy is effective, it opens up the play-action passing game for Philadelphia, which allows Vick to take advantage of his speedy receivers. The Dallas secondary has been mediocre at best this year, and unless Vick is forced into obvious passing downs, another gashing could be in the works.
While the defense is an area of concern for the Cowboys, they have to play better on offense than they did in Philadelphia. A seven-point output is unacceptable for a team that ranks in the top 10 in passing yards per game and 11th in rushing yards. Quarterback Tony Romo is having another strong season, and while the Eagles’ secondary is loaded with stars, the Cowboys have the weapons at receiver to still be effective through the air. Dallas has to get the better of the matchup in order to be successful.
The X-factor in the game could end up being players that won’t even be on the field. Dallas is dealing with several key injuries. Running back DeMarco Murray is out for the year, and backup Felix Jones is dealing with a hamstring problem. Dallas doesn’t have to run the ball to score points, but it would certainly help against a solid Philadelphia secondary. Throw in the fact that star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware is bothered by a neck issue, and the Cowboys will be hurting on both sides of the ball.
In the end, the Eagles may not be able to make the playoffs, but they have been given an unexpected second chance. The self-titled “Dream Team” has underachieved thus far, but Vick and company have momentum when it matters most. The Cowboys will be better prepared than they were in the first meeting, but the fact is that they just don’t match up well with the Eagles. All the injuries will add up for Dallas, and Romo won’t be able to do enough to save the day.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (+1) Cover the Spread
Free NFL Football Picks and Predictions: Eagles +1
|Week 16 NFL Football: Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Time: 1:00 PM EST on FOX
Vegas Odds – Favorite: Dallas -1 | Total: Over/Under 50.5
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