Thu, 28 Oct 2021

MNF Preview Odds: Cowboys trimmed to 3.5-point favorites

Field Level Media
28 Sep 2021, 08:40 GMT+10

The Philadelphia Eagles visit the Dallas Cowboys in a battle for early "supremacy" in the beleaguered NFC East on Monday night.

With both teams entering with 1-1 records, the winner will take early control of the division with Washington sitting at 1-2 and the New York Giants at 0-3.

Dallas opened as 4.0-point favorites at PointsBet for its home opener, but the line had moved to 3.5 by Monday. While 71 percent of the total spread-line bets have backed the Cowboys, 60 percent of the money has been placed on the Eagles.

Philadelphia is also a 3.5-point underdog at DraftKings, where the action has been extremely one-sided with 70 percent of the money and 70 percent of the bets backing Dallas.

The Cowboys entered Week 3 with a league-high six takeaways (four interceptions, two fumble recoveries) and a league-leading plus-four turnover differential.

The Eagles were the only NFL team that didn't turn the ball over in the first two weeks. However, Philadelphia has also yet to force a turnover.

The latter situation won't be any easier without disruptive defensive end Brandon Graham, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the 17-11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Eagles' Week 2 home opener. Graham has forced 19 fumbles -- tied for third-most in franchise history -- and recovered seven for Philadelphia since 2010.

"Everyone has to try to fill that void collectively, because one guy is not going to be able to do that," said first-year defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon of replacing Graham.

As for the lack of takeaways, Gannon said it's too early in the season to consider it a problem.

"I think that you saw some hands on the ball last week and those will come," he said. "It's like the head coach (Nick Sirianni) talks about, 'What you know is to be true, you keep doubling down on that process in how we practice and how we prepare, how we talk about taking the ball away, they will come.' So, I'm not real concerned about that."

Takeaways would help Philadelphia slow down a Dallas offense averaging 435.0 yards per game and converting an NFL-best 55.6 percent of its third-down opportunities.

The Cowboys averaged 6.4 yards per rush and 8.8 yards per pass in their 20-17 Week 2 road victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, capped by Greg Zuerlein's 56-yard field goal as time expired.

It was a balanced offensive effort for Dallas, with Dak Prescott completing 23 of 27 passes for 237 yards and seven guys catching multiple passes. Running backs Tony Pollard (140 scrimmage yards) and Ezekiel Elliott (97 scrimmage yards) each scored a rushing touchdown.

"We wanted to get the run game going to hopefully get some play-action pass off that," coach Mike McCarthy said after the Cowboys gained their most rushing yards (198) since 2019.

Pollard rushed 13 times for 109 yards, his third career 100-yard game, and Elliott added 71 yards on 16 carries.

"T.P., he ran his tail off," Elliott said. "He's a great back, all-around, can catch it and run it. He's smaller but he runs hard, breaks a lot of tackles. He had a hell of a day. I'm proud of him."

Pollard's production could mean a larger role against the rival Eagles.

"We just wanted to go with who's hot," Pollard said. "We both feed off each other. If he was hot, we would have went that way. It just turned out this way."

The 51.5-point Over/Under has remained steady at PointsBet, with 53 percent of the money and 52 percent of the total bets supporting the Over. The same point total at DraftKings has seen the Over backed by 57 percent of the money and 54 percent of the bets.

Cowboys linebacker Keanu Neal landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and was ruled out. Offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe (illness) and defensive linemen Dorance Armstrong (ankle) and Carlos Watkins (knee) have also been ruled out for Monday, while wide receiver Amari Cooper (ribs) is expected to play.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz went on the COVID list last week after a positive test but has since been cleared. Offensive tackle Jordan Mailata (knee) and safety Rodney McLeod (knee) are out, while running back Boston Scott (illness) and linebacker Davion Taylor (calf) are questionable.

--Field Level Media

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