The Dallas Cowboys are a longshot to win the NFC East, but would cash in a big payday for any bettors willing to take the risk.
Before the Cowboys Week 16 rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles many pegged the matchup as the game that would decide the NFC East winner. But the week prior, Dallas lost in stunning fashion to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Of course, the Cowboys went on to beat the Eagles. The Dallas faithful restored bragging rights, but Philadelphia would need to win one of its last two games to claim the NFC East title.
Then in Week 17, the Cowboys took care of business against the Tennessee Titans. The Eagles welcomed a sub-.500 New Orleans Saints team into Lincoln Financial Field, and Philly suffered the upset of the week, losing 20-10.
Thanks to the win by New Orleans, Dallas’ hopes to win the division are hanging on by a thread. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Eagles are -1200 to win the East and the Cowboys are +700.
Not only do the oddsmakers believe the Cowboys have no shot, history doesn’t bode well for Dallas either. The last time a team won consecutive NFC East titles was 2004.
The Cowboys need just two things to happen in Week 18 to buck that trend:
Step 1: A Cowboys win
First and foremost, Dallas must defeat the Washington Commanders. When the teams met in Week 4, the ‘Boys came out on top 25-10. Neither offense gained over 300 yards that day, so not exactly a shootout. Carson Wentz’s two interceptions were major factors in Dallas getting the win.
But both teams will look drastically different this Sunday compared to what we saw in Week 4.
Cooper Rush was still under center in the first matchup. This time, it’s a Dak Prescott-led offense that’s scored 34 points per game since QB1’s return.
While Dallas is playing for a divisional title, Washington has nothing to gain from a win. The Commanders are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and have announced QB Sam Howell will make his NFL debut. The rookie out of North Carolina was a fifth round draft pick.
In an effort to avoid significant injury in a meaningless game, the Commanders will likely bench key players. Washington’s injury report is jam-packed with 13 players, and 11 of which missed both Wednesday and Thursdays practices.
It’s easy to predict the Cowboys cruising to victory against a Commanders team looking towards next season.
Step 2: an Eagles loss
The Eagles square off with the New York Giants in Week 18, a team Philadelphia beat 48-22 in Week 14. Eagles rushers combined for 253 yards and four touchdowns that game.
But like the Commanders, the Giants gain nothing from a win this week. New York has clinched the seventh seed in the NFC, and a win or loss won’t move them from that spot.
Who would’ve thought New York would be in a position to bench its starters, while Philadelphia is more desperate for a Week 18 win?
It’s also looking like Jalen Hurts will return from his two game absence following a shoulder injury. Philly went 0-2 without Hurts, but now are in dire need of a victory to win the division, and lock up the first seed in the NFC. With it comes a bye week in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
It’s hard to imagine a Giants team lacking motivation beats an Eagles team with Hurts back, and lots to gain from a win. But then again, everyone expected Philadelphia to take care of business last week vs. New Orleans and look how that turned out.