The Dallas Cowboys have lost five games in a row but still have a pulse in the division race thanks to the pedestrian state of the NFC East. That being said, the Cowboys are pretty much in a must-win situation when they host the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night in a matchup that marks the return of DeMarco Murray to Dallas.
Murray, who led the league in rushing with 1,845 yards for the Cowboys last season before he was allowed to walk as a free agent, had a dismal performance in a 20-10 loss to Dallas in September, rushing for two yards on 13 yards. “There (are) no regrets on my part and no regrets on their part,” Murray said. “I respect those guys. Great organization, spent a lot of time there, but I’m here now.” Dallas quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken collarbone in the Week 2 win over the Eagles and his team hasn’t won since. While Philadelphia is coming off a bye, Dallas’ losing streak reached five with a 13-12 home defeat to Seattle.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: The Eagles are now 3-point road faves after opening -2.5. The total is down to 43.5 from the opening 44.5.
Eagles – RB Ryan Mathews (Probable, groin), DE Brandon Blair (Probable, groin), WR Nelson Agholor (Probable, ankle), LB Kiko Alonso (Probable, knee), LB DeMeco Ryans (Questionable, hamstring), T Jason Peters (Out, back), Travis Long (I-R, knee), T Andrew Gardner (I-R, foot), K Cody Parkey (I-R, groin), C David Molk (I-R, bicep), DB JaCorey Shepherd (I-R, knee).
Cowboys – QB Matt Cassel (Probable, knee), WR Dez Bryant (Questionable, foot), S Barry Church (Questionable, leg), WR Brice Butler (Questionable, hamstring), RB Lance Dunbar (I-R, knee), QB Tony Romo (I-R, collarbone), DT Terrell McClain (I-R, toe), OL Chaz Green (I-R, hip), LB Mark Nzeocha (I-R, knee), CB Orlando Scandrick (I-R, knee).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Eagles (-1.0) – Cowboys (+3.5) + home field (-3.0) = Eagles -1.5
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Offseason acquisitions are not panning out. Sam Bradford?’s 76.4 QB rating ranks No. 30 out of 32 NFL starting quarterbacks and DeMarco Murray has only 307 rushing yards at 3.5 per carry. The Cowboys moribund offense without Tony Romo didn?’t get into the end zone on Sunday, held to 220 yards and 14 first downs; negating a stellar defensive effort.” Covers Expert Teddy Covers.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened the Eagles as 3-point faves on the road in Dallas and have not moved off this number as we have seen good two-way action. We did adjust the juice on the line moving from Eagles -3 (-105) to -3 (-110) and the Cowboys +3 (-115) to Cowboys +3 (-110). The Eagles are seeing over 65 percent of the action to cover the 3 point spread.” Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.
ABOUT THE EAGLES (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS, 1-6 O/U): Philadelphia appeared to turn a corner with a pair of decisive wins over New Orleans and the New York Giants, but the momentum stalled in a 27-16 loss at Carolina as Sam Bradford was limited to 205 yards and failed to throw a TD pass for the first time. Murray has elevated his game with 260 rushing yards over the past three games, but he has been outperformed by fellow free-agent signee Ryan Mathews, who has run for 35 more yards on 32 fewer carries. Bradford has tossed six interceptions in the past three games and was picked off twice by the Cowboys in Week 2.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS, 3-4 O/U): Dallas’ backfield is in disarray as Murray’s expected replacement, Joseph Randle, was released this week amid reports of behavioral issues and the fact that he was faced a league-mandated suspension. Darren McFadden erupted for 152 yards in a loss to the Giants on Oct. 25, but he was held to 64 yards on 20 carries by a Seattle defense that also spoiled the return of wideout Dez Bryant, who had two catches for 12 yards in his first game since suffering a broken bone in his foot. Matt Cassel has thrown for 324 yards with one TD and three picks in two starts.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Road team is 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Underdog is 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Eagles are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games in November.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-one percent of Covers users are backing the Eagles.