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First place in the NFC East is on the line as the 2-5 Dallas Cowboys are in Philadelphia for a pivotal matchup with the 2-4-1 Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. This is a rivalry where the "throw the records out the window" adage certainly applies, but both coaches wouldn't mind that either.
However, with Washington on a bye this week, the winner of this one is in first place in the division at the halfway point of the season.
From Dak to Dalton to DiNucci
Dak Prescott's season was cut short in Week 5 after the Cowboys quarterback went down with an awful ankle injury. Sympathy was soon replaced by speculation regarding his future, but Dallas had to turn the page in the present and did so in the form of Andy Dalton.
The long-time Bengal couldn't turn the team's fortunes around in two games, losing to Arizona and Washington. And in the latter, Dalton was knocked out via a cheap shot, suffering a concussion that will force him to miss Sunday's game.
That means the Cowboys are turning the offense over to rookie Ben DiNucci, at least for one game, in front of a national audience on Sunday night. A seventh-round draft pick out of James Madison, DiNucci was actually the Gatorade Player of the Year in his senior year of high school in Pennsylvania. This will be a much different stage against his hometown team this week.
Reinforcements On Way For Wentz
Quarterback play has been what's kept the Eagles afloat lately, as Carson Wentz has been playing behind backup offensive linemen while throwing and handing off to backup receivers, tight ends and running backs.
He'll again be without Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, but the Eagles have activated Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert off of injured reserve, and they'll be good to go for this one. Wentz will take all the help he can get after orchestrating a two-touchdown comeback last Thursday against the Giants to pull off the miracle despite being favorites in the game.
Betting Line and Pick
The Eagles are heavy favorites in this spotlight game, laying 11 points at home, with an over/under of 43. If the Cowboys fail to cover this week, they will become a part of history they'd rather not.
A loss would mean an 0-8 ATS start to the season, with the Cowboys becoming just the third team since 1970 to accomplish the feat. The Eagles are only 1-3 ATS at home themselves this year, which includes a tie to the Bengals, so something will have to give.
The Cowboys have all their skill players intact, but DiNucci is the X-factor, and the spot will likely be too big for the Pennsylvania kid. Since 2016, the Eagles are 5-1 against starting rookie quarterbacks, compiling 13 sacks and six interceptions. Look for more of the same in Philadelphia Sunday night.
Pick: Eagles -11