If the Dallas Cowboys lose on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles can start to make plans to host their first playoff game this season.
The Eagles wouldn’t clinch the NFC East with a win on Sunday, but it would be all but over. They would be 9-1 and lead the 5-5 Cowboys by four games with six to play. And they’d have a tiebreaker edge over the Cowboys due to beating them in Dallas. The Eagles have already clinched the tiebreaker over the 4-5 Washington Redskins.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he felt this game was a must-win, which seems obvious to everyone.
“If we want to make a run at winning this division, giving ourselves a chance to play late into the season, it’s a game that we have to win,” Prescott told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via NFL.com.
The Cowboys have an uphill battle. We’re not sure if left tackle Tyron Smith will play, and his absence was the biggest hole the Cowboys had last week in a blowout loss at the Atlanta Falcons. Linebacker Sean Lee is likely out, too. And of course running back Ezekiel Elliott is serving a suspension. Dallas could be severely shorthanded.
There is no reason to doubt the Eagles at this point. While arguments can be made for other teams being the NFL’s best, the Eagles have the best record and a really good resume. There’s no doubting their legitimacy.
Yet, it still just feels like the Cowboys are going to make this their first playoff game. We’ll see the best Dallas has to offer. Perhaps it still won’t be enough to overcome the missing star players, but I’m buying the Cowboys getting a huge win they need on Sunday night. We see odd outcomes in the NFL all the time, especially when one team needs it a lot more. The Cowboys are a three-point underdog in the Yahoo Pro Football Pick’em, and I think Dallas gets it done. They better, or their path to the playoffs will be really tough to navigate.
Here are the rest of the against-the-spread picks for Week 11:
Lions (-2.5) over Bears: This game seems too easy. The Bears lost at home last week to the Packers, and the Lions are better than the Packers right now. I know the Bears have been good at home but I’ll just take the better team here.
Packers (+2) over Ravens: Maybe last week was fool’s gold, with Brett Hundley looking good and the Packers getting a nice win. But I’m not excited to take the Ravens and their terrible offense as a road favorite. (The line is plus-1 in the Yahoo Pro Football Pick’em.)
Redskins (+7.5) over Saints: I’m sold on the Saints. They’re a legit contender. However, the Redskins won at Seattle two weeks ago, and they almost won at Kansas City this season too. They’re not scared to go on the road. I can’t explain them being so flat early against Minnesota last week, but I think they’re a pretty good team and they give the Saints a game. (The line is plus-9.5 in the Yahoo Pro Football Pick’em.)
Chargers (-5.5) over Bills: I’m not going to try to figure how the Bills players will react to Tyrod Taylor getting benched for Nathan Peterman, a fifth-round rookie quarterback. But I don’t think it makes the Bills better. If Peterman is the next coming of Carson Wentz and he plays well against a good Chargers defense on the road, I’ll be impressed. I’m not expecting it. I think the Bills basically punted on a playoff chance with this move. Also, I’m figuring Philip Rivers will play. (The line is minus-4.5 in the Yahoo Pro Football Pick’em.)
And here are the rest of the picks …
Jaguars (-8.5) over Browns: The Browns score 12 points per game at home, according to OddsShark. How are they going to score more than that against this Jaguars defense? The Browns always are a big underdog and rarely cover. They’ve failed to cover in seven of their last eight games, OddsShark said. I just don’t see how the Browns score enough to cover.
Buccaneers (pick ’em) over Dolphins: Miami is a bad football team. You knew that. It’s tough to pick the Buccaneers on the road, but it’s the lesser of two evils.
Vikings (-1) over Rams: What a fun game. It’ll probably have significant ramifications when the NFC hands out its first-round byes, too. I think this game is a true coin flip, and I’m giving the Vikings a slight edge just because they’re at home and you have to assume it’ll be a great crowd in Minneapolis.
Chiefs (-11.5) over Giants: The only thing I dislike more than picking a double-digit NFL road favorite is picking this Giants team.
Texans (pick ’em) over Cardinals: I’m assuming Blaine Gabbert starts. I’m not picking Gabbert on the road.
Broncos (-2.5) over Bengals: Denver is coming off two straight blowout losses, but they came against Philadelphia and New England, perhaps the two best teams in the NFL. The Broncos are not playing well, but perhaps an easier opponent will help.
Patriots (-7) over Raiders: It’s hard to figure out how a bad Raiders defense stops Tom Brady and the Patriots. Maybe Oakland’s offense can score enough to cover, but New England’s defense has turned a corner. It’s not even a home game for the Raiders; the teams will play in Mexico City. The Patriots are getting on a roll and I think it continues this week.
Seahawks (-2.5) over Falcons: I don’t feel great about the Seahawks’ injury situation, especially without cornerback Richard Sherman, but those injuries are reflected in the line. Maybe the Falcons started to get things going last week (though they’ll be without Devonta Freeman), but I’m going to give the Seahawks the benefit of the doubt.
Last week: 7-7
Season to date: 79-63-5
SuperContest: 2-3 last week, 26-22-3 season to date
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