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December 06, 2022

Which team is actually better, the Eagles or the Cowboys?

Following the Eagles' 35-10 dismantling of a contending Titans team on Sunday, and a Cowboys 54-19 mashing of the dumpster fire Colts on Sunday, pundits across the NFL started to chirp about how the Cowboys were the best team in the NFL and some outlets went on to say they were more likely to win the NFC East (despite the Eagles' current two-game edge) and the Super Bowl.

The Eagles had arguably a more impressive victory — besting the AFC South leaders and shutting down a future Hall of Fame running back, and yet, the Cowboys are apparently the best team in the NFL now because they beat Indy by a bunch of points.

The two teams will do battle on Christmas Eve, and the chatter across the NFL-loving world will surely be about this debate that week. But we can't wait until then. 

Jimmy Kempski will break down this week's NFL Power Rankings as he always does, but we wanted to dive deeper. According to which metrics, exactly, are the Cowboys considered better, and which are the Eagles?

Overall record:

Eagles 11-1 > Cowboys 9-3

This is pretty straight forward. The Eagles have the Giants twice, the Cowboys, Bears and Saints remaining. The Cowboys have the Texans, Eagles, Jaguars, Titans and Commanders remaining. 

Philly took the first game between these two teams — but it was without Dak Prescott. A Dallas win in Week 15 would eliminate the Eagles' current tie-breaker over them. Philly has a loss to Washington on its ledger, so it's possible the Cowboys could get the edge in a tie break scenario if they beat both Philly and Washington down the stretch.

Point differential:

Cowboys +127 (1st) > Eagles +117 (2nd)

Dallas padded this with their 54-point performance last week. These teams are 1-and-2 in the NFL in point differential, which is what matters most.

Turnover differential:

Eagles +13 (1st) > Cowboys +9 (2nd)

No team has been better than the Eagles when it comes to turnovers. Dallas is the second best and is four behind.

ESPN's football power index:

Cowboys 11.5 (1st) > Eagles 6.6 (4th)

We wrote about this yesterday. What the heck, ESPN?

Team DVOA ratings:

Cowboys 33.8% (1st) > Eagles 30.1% (3rd)

Somewhat surprisingly, the Cowboys rank better in DVOA so far this season. Philadelphia's offense ranks better (3rd, Dallas is 10th), but their defense (6th, Dallas is 1st) and special teams (21st, Dallas is 5th) weigh them down.

FiveThirtyEight Super Bowl chances:

Eagles 20% (1st) > Cowboys 16% (4th)

NFC First round bye chances:

Eagles 74% (1st) > Cowboys 15% (2nd)

FiveThirtyEight is all about the Eagles, and they give the Birds the best chance of winning the Super Bowl and the inside track at the top seed, and a bye, in the NFC. All of this makes complete sense, as Dallas is trailing and chasing the Eagles by two games.

FanDuel Super Bowl odds:

Eagles +500 (3rd) > Cowboys +750 (4th)

The Bills and Chiefs continue to earn better Super Bowl odds, but these two NFC East foes round out the top four and there is a substantial drop-off after this quartet.

Rapid fire stats:

Points scored338 (2nd)330 (4th)
Scrimmage yards4,657 (3rd)4,271 (15th)
First downs279 (3rd)241 (21st)
TD passes20 (7th)18 (14th)
Rush TD23 (1st)19 (2nd)
Points allowed226 (7th)206 (3rd)
Yards/play allowed4.7 (1st)4.8 (2nd)
Takeaways22 (1st)21 (2nd)
Yards allowed3,557 (2nd)3,715 (5th)
Sacks42 (2nd) 48 (1st)
Players of the week52

You can draw your own conclusions — but at best, the two teams are very close. Talking Cowboys gets clicks. It's as simple as that. ESPN knows this and so does the rest of the internet.

We'll see who's really better on December 24.

Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_macy

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