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NFL Week 16 Picks and Predictions: Eagles vs Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 16 Game Picks and Predictions for Christmas Eve Saturday, December 24, 2022.

When: 4:25 PM ET, Saturday, December 24, 2022

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys enter Saturday’s massive NFC East showdown in Arlington, Texas, with significant injury concerns.

The Eagles (13-1) can clinch the division title and the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win, but MVP candidate quarterback Jalen Hurts is out due to a sprained right throwing shoulder. Gardner Minshew makes his first start since getting shelled 56-21 by Dallas in last year’s regular-season finale.

For the Cowboys (10-4), the wounds are more psychological in nature, stemming from last Sunday’s demoralizing collapse against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blowing a 17-point lead wasn’t how they envisioned clinching a playoff spot, which happened later that night when the New York Giants beat the Washington Commanders.

Hurts was injured in the third quarter of Sunday’s win against the Chicago Bears when he was tackled by Trevis Gipson, who landed with his full body weight on the quarterback. Hurts stayed down for a minute but stayed in the game, rushing for a late touchdown to ice the 25-20 victory.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Hurts is not expected to be out long-term and praised the quarterback as the “toughest player I’ve ever been around” in naming Minshew the starter on Thursday.

Contrary to a recent hot take from Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons, Hurts is a leading MVP candidate with 35 total touchdowns (22 passing, 13 rushing) to go with 3,472 passing yards and 747 rushing yards.

The Eagles, who defeated Dallas 26-17 in Week 6 in Philadelphia, are confident that his backup can deliver enough Minshew magic to clinch their first division title since 2019.

“This guy is a great backup quarterback that could be starting on teams in this league, and we know that,” Sirianni said of Minshew, who was 7-13 as the starter with Jacksonville from 2019-20. “He doesn’t need a lot of reps. He’s ready to go because of the football IQ he has, the intelligence he has.”

But Minshew wasn’t available for the install session Tuesday. He was delivering the eulogy at the funeral of his college coach, Mike Leach. Minshew transferred to Washington State and played for Leach in 2018. He said Leach believed in him, and he would be in coaching or sports administration — not the NFL — without that relationship.

“I couldn’t be more in debt to him, the impact he’s had on my life, my family’s life. He always made me believe I was special,” Minshew said.

Minshew passed for 186 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the Week 18 loss to the Cowboys last season.

“We already looked at the game — our last game of the year against Gardner,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’ll be ready for both quarterbacks.”

Philadelphia, of course, has been down this road before with unforgettable results. In 2017, Nick Foles replaced an injured Carson Wentz in Week 15 and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship.

Chasing their first Super Bowl appearance since the 1995 season, the Cowboys’ confidence took a hit last weekend.

Dallas led Jacksonville 27-10 with five minutes left in the third quarter before Trevor Lawrence threw three straight touchdown passes to take the lead. The Jaguars won 40-34 in overtime on Rayshawn Jenkins’ 52-yard pick-six on a tipped pass by Dak Prescott, who threw multiple interceptions for the third time in four games.

“We’ll keep working,” McCarthy said. “And we’ll react properly to this.”

Prescott missed the first meeting this season in Philadelphia with a broken right thumb. In last season’s Week 18 clash, he threw a career-high five TD passes. Prescott has won seven of his 10 career starts against the Eagles.

Cowboys linebacker and leading tackler Leighton Vander Esch is out Saturday with a shoulder injury.

The Eagles activated tight end Dallas Goedert from injured reserve Tuesday. K’Von Wallace (hip) did not practice on Tuesday, but fellow safety Reed Blankenship (knee) was a full participant.

–Field Level Media

NFL Picks and Predictions: 

For this Saturday NFL Week 16 Game between the Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys, I’m rolling with the Dallas Cowboys Team Total Over 25.5 (-115)

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