Our formulas don’t predict any likely upsets this week, so this week’s Upset Watch column is more about how an underdog can win its matchup rather than why they will. The matchup we’re looking at is a hugely important one, though. When it comes to getting into the postseason, Philadelphia at Dallas is the most important game of the season thus far.
In Football Outsiders playoff odds simulations, the Dallas Cowboys basically lock up the NFC East (winning it 97 percent of the time) if they win this game. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles would take over as division favorites (winning 54 percent of the time) if they can upset the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday afternoon.
The first meeting between these teams back on Nov. 11 was a very close game, won 27-20 by the Cowboys. Dallas had a 75-yard, game-winning touchdown drive in the final quarter, which started with 7 minutes, 27 seconds left on the clock. The Eagles had two different chances to come back and tie the game after that. The first drive stalled after Leighton Vander Esch fought off two blockers to take down Corey Clement for a 5-yard loss on a third-and-2 screen. The second drive ran out of time 9 yards away from a game-tying touchdown.
The Eagles have to hope