2012 NFL Odds and Picks: Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys Predictions – Week 13 Sunday Night Football Picks

2012 Week 13 NFL Picks: Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys Vegas Odds and Predictions – Free NFL Picks 12/2/2012: When the season began, many thought that Sunday night’s meeting between Philadelphia and Dallas would have serious playoff implications attached to it. However, the Eagles (3-8) enter the game in the middle of a seven-game losing streak and are out of postseason contention while the Cowboys (5-6) basically need to win all of their remaining games to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. Needless to say, neither side has come close to living up to expectations, but Philadelphia has been arguably the biggest disappointment in the NFL. Throw in the fact that the Eagles will be missing their starting quarterback, starting running back and top wide receiver, and it is easy to see why the Cowboys are 11-point favorites.

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Even when Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson were healthy, the Eagles’ offense was one of the worst in the NFL. Turnovers have plagued a unit that ranks 30th in scoring, averaging just 16.7 points per game. Philadelphia’s silver lining has been a rushing attack that ranks ninth in the league, and with rookie Nick Foles now starting at QB, rookie running back Bryce Brown figures to shoulder a majority of the load. The seventh-round picked is averaging more than six yards per carry, and he topped 100 yards and scored twice in his first career start last weekend against Carolina. Defensively, Philadelphia ranks in the middle of the pack against both the run and the pass and ranks 24th in scoring defense. The biggest surprise with the unit is that the Eagles have the fourth-fewest sacks in the league after leading the NFL in the category last year.

Dallas on the other hand has been the most one-dimensional offense in the NFL. Quarterback Tony Romo heads the second-ranked passing attack, but the Cowboys have the worst rushing offense in the NFL. Having weapons like Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten to throw has led to plenty of passing yards for Romo, but he has just 16 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions. The end result is an offense that ranks just mid-pack in terms of scoring. Defensively, Dallas has been solid, ranking in the top 15 against both the run and the pass. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is the unit’s top playmaker, and corners Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr have given a huge boost to the secondary. In fact, the Dallas defense was even better before a rash of injuries hit the linebacking corps.

The Eagles Win If:

Foles was first forced into action in Philadelphia’s first meeting with Dallas on November 11, and while he threw for more than 200 yards in relief, he also threw an interception and lost a fumble. Dallas returned both turnovers for scores, and they ended up being the difference in the ball game. If the Eagles are going to win the rematch, Brown and the running game are going to have to shoulder the load, and the offense in general is going to have to keep turnovers to a minimum to prevent a mediocre Dallas offense from getting any easy scores. Defensively, high-priced corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie need to live up to their contracts and win their one-on-one matchups with Bryant and Austin. If Philadelphia can slow Romo and the Cowboys’ passing attack and establish Brown on offense, there is no reason the Eagles can’t knock off a Dallas team that has had plenty of issues of its own.

The Cowboys Win If:

This is a must-win game for Dallas, and the Cowboys can’t afford to look past Philadelphia because of all the injuries the Eagles are dealing with. Sloppy play, penalties and turnovers are the sure-fire ways to keep an overmatched Philadelphia team in the game. Romo and the offense in particular need to be sharp from the opening kickoff. If Dallas can bury the Eagles in an early hole, Philadelphia will be forced to turn to its inexperienced QB in an attempt to catch up. The Cowboys showed in the first meeting between these two teams that they can rattle and take advantage of Foles if he is forced to be more than a game manager. In the end, mistake-free football is the key for Dallas. If they don’t give the Eagles any easy points, the Cowboys should have no issues winning this game.

Bottom Line:

Although Philadelphia is banged up entering this game, Dallas isn’t exactly equipped to take advantage of the situation. After all, the Cowboys are just 2-3 at home this season, and just one of their five victories have come by more than a touchdown. Yes, the one exception was a 15-point win over the Eagles, but Foles was forced into emergency action in that game. This time around, he has a few games under his belt and time to prepare for a Dallas defense that just surrendered 38 points, including four passing touchdowns, to another rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III. Granted, Foles is nowhere near the player Griffin is at this point in their careers, but the Cowboys are not the type of team that blows anyone out, especially teams that they should beat. Philadelphia will ride Brown to protect Foles, and with two strong corners to keep Dallas’ passing attack in check, the Eagles will at least be able to hang within 11 points and cover the spread.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (+11) Cover the Spread

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Line: Dallas -10
Total: Over/Under 44
Time: 8:30 PM EST on NBC

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