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Injury Riddled Cowboys, Eagles Clash

DeMarcus Ware will miss the first game of his career Sunday as the Cowboys face the Eagles.

DeMarcus Ware will miss the first game of his career Sunday as the Cowboys face the Eagles.

The Dallas Cowboys are set to face the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday with both teams hobbled by injury.

Top spot in the NFC East will be on the line as the Cowboys (3-3, 0-2 road) make the trip to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Eagles (3-3, 0-3 home). The Cowboys haven’t won on the road this season. The Eagles haven’t won at home. Something, as they say, has got to give.

The Cowboys are expected to take the field in Philadelphia without defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who injured his thigh in Sunday’s 31-16 win over the Washington Redskins. Ware, the team’s leader on defense, hasn’t missed a game since being drafted 11th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Without Ware, the Cowboys’ paper-thin defensive line will have to find a way to win in much the same way it did at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. The good news for the team is that it looks likely defensive tackle Jason Hatcher will take to the field, while linebacker Sean Lee – who is second in the league with 43 solo tackles and third with 60 total tackles – is having a season to remember.

Offensively, the Cowboys look likely to be without running back DeMarco Murray, who left Sunday’s game with a sprained knee. Murray has been the bright spot in a weak rushing attack, gaining 428 of the team’s 509 yards. Backup RB Lance Dunn (hamstring) is also out, which means rookie Joseph Randle – who ran for 17 yards and a touchdown last Sunday – figures to be coming out of the backfield.

Nick Foles will likely spell Michael Vick again Sunday.

Nick Foles will likely spell Michael Vick again Sunday.

Philadelphia meanwhile is likely to continue with Nick Foles at quarterback as Michael Vick recovers from a hamstring injury.

Vick is listed as questionable but Chip Kelly will almost certainly stick with Foles for this week at least. Foles has fit into the Eagles’ system well in one and a bit games. After last Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was awarded NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in that game, adding to the 197 yards and two touchdowns he had in two-plus quarters against the New York Giants in Week 5.

Despite the injuries, this one’s shaping up to be a good one. It will be interesting to see if Dallas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin can get the better of Kelly’s high-octane offense, something he certainly failed to do last year in the Pac-12. Kiffin’s USC lost 62-51 to Kelly’s Oregon in that matchup. But with different personnel on the field, the intrigue levels in this one have been knocked up a notch.

The Cowboys released the injured Jay Ratliff on Wednesday.

The Cowboys released the injured Jay Ratliff on Wednesday.

In other news, the Cowboys released Jay Ratliff on Wednesday, ending a turbulent few years for the defensive tackle.

Ratliff, once the stud of the Cowboys defense, has been plagued by injuries over the last two years, as well as some off-field problems which included being arrested for DWI just weeks after the death of teammate Jerry Brown, and getting into an altercation with owner Jerry Jones in front of the team.

32-year-old Ratliff, who was drafted out of Auburn University in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft, will now seek employment elsewhere. The Cowboys meanwhile will look to topple the Eagles and take sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

Dallas leads the all-time head-to-head 61-47.

The Cowboys picked up a pair of wins over the Eagles in 2012 after dropping both games in 2011. Dallas has won six of the last nine meetings between the sides, and four of the last six at The Linc.

View Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles odds for 10/20/13 now.

Philadelphia (-135) currently sits as a favorite over Dallas (+115) on the moneyline, but this game is causing headaches for all involved.

The spread opened at 1.5 in favor of the Cowboys, but Ware and Murray’s injury status – and Foles’ impressive outing in Week 6 – has seen it flip in favor of the Eagles. It currently sits at 3.

The Cowboys (5-1-0 ATS) have been a beast against the spread this season. Only a loss to the San Diego Chargers in Week 4 prevented the team covering.  The Eagles (3-3-0 ATS) meanwhile have covered the spread in each game they have won, which includes the last two.

The Eagles are 0-5-0 ATS in their last five home games but are also 4-1-0 ATS against the Cowboys in the last five played in Philadelphia.

The total opened at 56 as these two high-scoring offenses meet. Philadelphia (5-1-0) has seen the total go over in all but one game this season, Week 3’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Dallas (3-3-0) meanwhile has split the over/under evenly.

The total has gone over in seven of the Eagles’ last eight games played in Philadelphia, and eight of the last 12 times the Cowboys have visited The Linc. The smart money’s on the over then.

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