The NFC playoff picture got more clarity in Week 17, which will allow the Cowboys and Eagles to kick things off a day earlier than the rest of the conference. The NFL likes to cluster all of its final-week games involving playoff hopefuls around the same kickoff times, to keep teams from shutting things down due to the result of a game earlier in the day.
Much of the drama was removed for Dallas and Philly last weekend, however, so the league flexed their rivalry game to Saturday night.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, January 08, 2022 – 08:15 PM EST at Lincoln Financial Field
Dallas clinched the division two weeks ago, and the NFC East champions entered the weekend with a chance to improve its seeding for the postseason as high as No. 1, but a loss to Arizona cost the Boys that shot, and more likely than not, Dallas will be the No. 4 seed, the lowest of the four division winners.
The Eagles, meanwhile, knocked off Washington on the road to clinch a playoff spot. Philadelphia is currently the No. 7 seed but could move to No. 6 if things break right in Week 18. The Bucs are the most likely foe for the Eagles, but there are other scenarios as well.
Change in Momentum
Dallas entered Sunday’s action looking to make a statement against a likely playoff opponent in Arizona. The Cowboys were riding a four-game winning streak and trying to keep the momentum rolling into the postseason, while matched up against an Arizona team that had lost three straight.
Instead, the Cardinals upset the Cowboys in Big D, on a controversial ending that had Dallas players and fans complaining about the officiating. The two teams will likely meet in the same stadium next week to start their respective postseason runs.
Dallas entered the game as healthy as they’ve been in months, but the Cowboys lost receiver Michael Gallup to a knee injury. The team said afterward that Gallup will be out through the playoffs.
The Eagles and Cowboys met earlier this season, in North Texas, with Dallas rolling to a 20-point win in Week Three. That was part of a 2-5 start to the year for Philadelphia and a 6-1 start for Dallas.
Both teams have seen their fortunes change as the year went on. The Eagles are currently playing their best football of the season, winning four straight and six of seven to make the playoffs.
The Eagles beat Washington for the second time in three weeks on Sunday, despite quarterback Jalen Hurts playing on a sore ankle and running back Miles Sanders missing the game with a broken hand.
Guard Nate Herbig also finished the game on a sore ankle, and linebacker Shaun Bradley missed the game with a shoulder injury. The team could be tempted to rest regulars and try to get healthy in a game that, for all intents and purposes, isn’t likely to change Philly’s playoff destination.
The Eagles continued their streak of slow starts, trailing 10-0 after the first quarter. It’s the third straight week Philly has been shut out in the first quarter, and the Eagles have been outscored 35-7 in the first over the last five games, which includes four wins.
When making your best bets at top sportsbooks consider that neither team has much to play for, so even if the Cowboys and Eagles play their first string, it’s likely they won’t stick with them very long. Dallas likely has more to accomplish in the game, as the Boys want to get things back on track instead of heading into the postseason on a two-game skid. Dallas will look to establish the run game, which struggled last week.
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