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December 30, 2017

Five over/unders for Eagles' season finale vs. Cowboys

Eagles NFL
123017_Foles-Raiders Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) runs away from Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52).

Each week, when I sit down to write my Eagles over/unders, I usually have a few in mind based on the storylines heading into that specific game. 

Sometimes there's a good quarterback matchup to focus on. Other times, it's the defense or the running backs. Either way, it's not that difficult to come up with four numbers to go along with the standard points total that I get from Bovada.

That was not the case this week for the Eagles regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. You probably know why – there's nothing left for either team to play for and we have no real idea how long the starters are going to play, although it appears they're going to play for at least a little bit – but I can't let that stop me from providing you with your weekly Saturday reading.

After all, it's the last game of the year.


And now, onto the good stuff...

Total points: 39.5

That's the current total being offered over at Bovada, and while my prediction for Sunday's game features a 40-point total, I'd definitely be leaning toward the under here. After all, the Birds are coming off a short week, have a bye in front of them and, as we mentioned, don't really have anything to play for. Oh, and we might see a half (or more) of Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. 

UNDER.

Nick Foles TDs: Nick Foles INTs

Nick Foles hasn't thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in a game since the 2015 season with the Rams. And he did so in each of his last three games (and five times in all) that year. In the entire rest of his career (37 games, 27 of them starts), Foles has only done that twice. 

So why do I think there's a chance he does it on Sunday? Because I don't know when he's going to get taken out of the game. Foles could easily have no passing touchdowns and one interception at the half, and never get a chance to even out his stat line. That wouldn't be a welcomed sight for Eagles fans after his performance against the Raiders on Monday night. Luckily for them, this Cowboys defense is one of the worst in the league against the pass.

OVER.

Sidney Jones tackles + passes defended: 3.5

In case you missed it, Eagles rookie cornerback Sidney Jones is set to make his NFL debut on Sunday. Given that he's coming off a major injury and hasn't played in a football game in over a year – not to mention that it's the season finale – it's tough to set any kind of realistic expectations for the kid. 

Would it be a disappointment if he doesn't hit the over here? Not at all. We don't know how many snaps he'll see, when they'll come, and whether or not he'll have any balls thrown in his direction when he does get out there on the field. But if he impresses, you might see a lot more of him in two weeks when the Eagles host their first playoff game since 2014.

In a game with little else to care about, Jones' debut suddenly makes things quite a bit more interesting. I'm going to take the under here, only because I don't want my expectations to be shattered in his first game.

UNDER.

Nate Sudfeld's first NFL snap: 30.5 minutes into game

Speaking of NFL debuts, we're likely to see the first of backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld on Sunday, although how much he plays is still up in there, just like everything else about this one – thanks, Eagles. Basically, the line here focuses on whether or not Foles will come out to start second half.

There's a chance Pederson has a set number of plays, drives or quarters that he wants to see out of his starting QB on Sunday. But I'm not sure that's the right way to go about it. I'd prefer he play Foles until he feels comfortable that he's ready for the postseason. If the first half looks anything like Monday night, I'd trot him out there for a few drives to start the third quarter. You don't want the offense heading into the postseason with its tail hanging between its legs because it can't get anything going. 

Of course, there's a flip side to that: What if the offense never gets it going on Sunday? Do you leave Foles in the whole time? That might be worse. Let's hope they look sharp against the Cowboys so we never have to worry about it. I'm going to be an optimist and say Foles doesn't need to play beyond halftime.

UNDER.

Injured* Eagles starters: 0.5

*Injured enough to leave status for playoffs in doubt

For the love of god, please be the under. This Eagles team is a like a game of Jenga that's about to end – pull one more piece and the whole damn thing is going to topple.

UNDER.


Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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