The NFC East power structure has shifted. And after the NFL Week 3 Monday Night Football contest between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, it may reveal some clarity.
One’s are wild as three teams, the Eagles, Washington Football Team, and the Cowboys, share the division lead at 1-1.
The New York Giants are chafing in the basement at 0-2.
New Jersey online bettors gear up after the introductory look at the early NJ sports betting lines.
There will be slight tweaks as early money moves the betting odds but here is the first glimpse.
Opening lines for NFC East Week 3 games
Dallas is a solid -4 across the board against the Eagles is no surprise after it gained a gratifying split in two road tilts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers.
What may surprise some is the line of 51.5 for the over. The Eagles combined with the San Francisco 49ers for 28 points in a 17-11 loss on Sunday. Dallas nipped Los Angeles 20-17 in a 37-point total.
The Giants are about a field goal chalk against the visiting Atlanta Falcons in a battle of frustrated 0-2 teams. The total of 48.5 will entice “over” bettors who saw both teams lose shootouts in Week 2.
The Washington Football Team provided an early-line shop for gamblers who like this team. Washington was +8.5 at BetMGM and +9.5 at DraftKings and Caesars when visiting the Buffalo Bills.
A Buffalo backer sees an opening at BetMGM, while Washington opened with a full added point at DraftKings and Caesars.
Eagles sunk by self-inflicted wounds
The Eagles shot themselves off of a 2-0 perch.
The loss to the San Francisco 49ers included zero points from two golden opportunities.
In the first, Jalen Reagor went out of bounds and came back in on the touchdown that would have put the Eagles up 10-0 after one quarter.
The Eagles then had a field goal blocked. Ouch No. 1 came as first a seven- and then a three-point development went away.
However, it was ouch No. 2 that changed the game.
With the Eagles at their own 3-yard line, Hurts connected with big-play guy Quez Watkins for an electrifying 91-yard bomb. Throwing from the three showed tremendous aggression.
A penalty then put the Eagles on the San Francisco 1-yard line. The Linc was rocking. First and goal from the 1. Ten-zip is coming, who will pocket the anytime score betting prop?
Three plays could not produce a score. Rather than take a sure field goal, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni gambled with a replica of the Philly Special on fourth down.
But this time it failed. Greg Ward threw incomplete to Hurts and the Eagles got nothing.
We can’t document how many times in NFL history a team broke a 91-yard play from scrimmage and didn’t score on the same drive. It’s almost impossible.
Ninety-one yards. Followed by first-and-goal from the 1. Followed by zero points.
That’s when the Eagles lost the game.
The Niners responded with a 12-play, 97-yard drive and scored the go-ahead TD with 12 seconds left in the half. The Eagles trailed 7-3 instead of leading 17-7 and never led again.
A second-half Niners scoring drive consumed 8:55 and covered 92 yards.
To intensify their problems, the Eagles forced a Niners turnover but lost it on a penalty.
They showed heart with a late Hurts score and a two-point conversion, but could not get the ball back.
Should Dallas have a .500 record?
The Cowboys pilfered a game against the Los Angeles Chargers to become 1-1.
The talk coming into the season was centered around quarterback Dak Prescott. Well, it was the Dallas defense, worst in the NFC last season, that may have turned a corner. Besides holding Tom Brady and Tampa Bay to a respectable 29 points in a season-opening loss, Dallas kept the talented Justin Herbert and the Chargers to 17 points.
Yes, it helped that the Chargers had two touchdowns called back, missed a field goal, and had a pick recorded in the Dallas end zone.
Still, the Cowboys were good enough to take advantage.
The Dallas defense has been stingier, by far, this season over last.
Eagles-Cowboys & NFC East implications
The intense Eagles-Cowboys rivalry has produced different eras of dominance. The Cowboys are 70-54 overall but the Eagles lead 23-20 in this millennium.
In the past two seasons, the teams took turns preventing each other from reaching the postseason. The Eagles stopped the Cowboys from clinching the NFC East with a 17-9 victory late in 2019 and seized the division themselves the following week against the Giants.
The Cowboys blasted the Eagles out of the division race in the teams’ last meeting. Dallas notched a 37-17 blowout in the next-to-last week of the season.
For the Eagles and Cowboys, this is a significant early-season test and a rare chance to take care of business within the NFC East.
It’s a chance that won’t come up again for two more months.
The new 17-game schedule is heavily weighted with late-season division games, bringing high stakes drama to every December and January matchup.
After this contest, the Eagles don’t play another NFC East opponent until Nov. 28, when they visit the Giants.
The remainder of their NFC East competition, five games, will occur in the last six weeks of the season. After playing at the G-Men and against the New York Jets on Dec 5, both at MetLife Stadium, here is their final four:
- Dec. TBD: vs Washington
- Dec. 26: vs Giants
- Jan 2: at Washington
- Jan 9: vs Cowboys.
Strange as it appears, the Eagles won’t face the Cowboys again until early 2022.
That adds focus to the Monday Night matchup.
The rest of the division has a similar scenario. Washington closes its season with five consecutive division games, the Cowboys have four of their last five against the NFC East and the Giants have three of the last four inside the division.
New York Giants seeking emotional recovery
Twitter erupted after the Giants beat themselves against Washington.
The last insult was jumping offsides on the missed final play – a field goal – that would have given them a thrilling triumph.
Instead, the penalty gave Washington one more shot and Dustin Hopkins drilled a stake through their heart.
Call it one of several other self-inflicted gashes. There was a borderline holding call negating a 58-yard Daniel Jones scoring scamper in the second quarter. And the Giants throwing an incomplete pass late in the drive in which they took the final lead, saving Washington timeout it desperately needed.
Besides the moneyline setback, bettors lost on big parlays, like Sterling Shepard securing more than eight passes with a team win.
Shepard got nine, but the loss stolen from the jaws of victory cost bettors at +1300. We can swear we saw some New Jersey gamblers filling out a police report.
Area bettors may be familiar with the weekly Why Eagles Why podcast analyzing the happiness and heartbreak of Eagles fans. Perhaps a spinoff show on the Giants could appeal to North Jersey bettors.
Can the Giants recover emotionally? The must-win label has come early.
Washington leaving the comforts of home
Eagles and Giants bettors already have one negative they didn’t expect, the Dallas win at Los Angeles.
Washington losing to Buffalo is another given they need in maintaining their optimism in the division race.
Washington split two home games, getting the gift in Week 2 with the Giants jumping offside on the missed game-winning field goal.
It’s going to be an interesting NFL Week 3.
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins