Remember in the old Westerns when everything would seem peaceful, but the viewer knew an attack was imminent, and one of the good guys would remark that it was "quiet — TOO quiet."
That's kind of where I am on this game. Yeah, Dallas is banged up, and I think, even if everyone were healthy, the Eagles have a slightly better team. But this isn't going to be like the Cowboys' game last week, when Dak Prescott just stood back there and took sacks, and Dallas looked lethargic in the wake of Ezekiel Elliott's suspension finally being enacted.
This week, Dallas plays at home, and plays for its season. Prescott is going to get the ball out fast, or take off. I am picking the Eagles to win and to cover, mostly because I still don't see how a defense I don't like all that much — even with Sean Lee — is going to stop the Eagles without him. But this might not be the romp lots of Eagles fans seem to envision.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 17.
No Ezekiel Elliott. Probably no Tyron Smith. No Sean Lee.
Dak Prescott is a talented, young quarterback. But I don't think he's capable of putting the Cowboys' offense on his back and single-handedly beating the Eagles.
He needs a run game to keep Jim Schwartz's defense guessing and put his offense in manageable second- and third-down situations.
He needs a run game to prevent the Eagles' front four from teeing off on him like the Falcons did last week.
Without Elliott, the Cowboys can't run the ball on the Eagles. Without Elliott, Prescott is going to be staring at a lot of third-and-longs, just like last week.
Without Elliott, the Cowboys have no chance, even at home.
Prediction: Eagles 30, Cowboys 22
In terms of the NFC East title, the Cowboys' backs are up against the wall. They trail the Eagles by three games and a loss on Sunday with six games to go would all but kill their chances of defending their crown.
Dallas will be without Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee, and at best will have a less-than-100 percent Tyron Smith at left tackle. The Cowboys still have game changers on offense with Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, and game wreckers on defense with DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones.
But the Eagles are a markedly sounder team than the one that coughed away last year's meeting in Arlington.
Their run defense should be able to keep Elliott's replacements, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith, in check. And cornerback Anthony Brown and Lee's replacement, linebacker Jaylon Smith, are players Carson Wentz can attack in the passing game. Lawrence leads the league in sacks, but he'll be seeing the league's best right tackle in Lane Johnson.
Dallas has more to lose, but the Eagles have the advantage in several key matchups.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Cowboys 23.
The Eagles enter this game rested and healthy. You can argue the bye week disrupted their momentum, but I like the way they match up against Dallas — especially with the players the Cowboys are missing.
The offense will take advantage of Sean Lee's absence, and I expect big days from tight end Zach Ertz and the Eagles' running backs.
Dak Prescott is a really good quarterback and can keep the Cowboys in contention. You saw what happens when Tyron Smith is absent, so his health will be important to monitor. The Cowboys have a much better chance if he's in the lineup. But their running game suffers without Ezekiel Elliott and the Eagles' pass rush should be able to generate pressure.
I expect Dallas' best, but they might not have the depth to stop the Eagles' winning streak.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 21