In the movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” Robert DeNiro’s character, a Philadelphia bookie, wagers his life savings on a bizarre parlay.
His beloved Eagles must beat the rival Cowboys, and Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, who plays his son, must score at least five out of 10 in a dance contest.
We don’t want to give away the ending, though the movie came out in 2012, but Philadelphia cruised to a win and cover in the mythical matchup.
Minus the dance contest, we expect life to imitate art Sunday night at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium, where the Eagles are 4-point favorites over the Cowboys and the rivalry game still means a lot to Philadelphia fans.
“I can remember back when I played here in ’99, all week long it was like, ‘I don’t care what else happens the rest of the year, you’ve got to beat the Cowboys,’ ” said Eagles coach and former quarterback Doug Pederson. “That’s the mindset of the city.”
All the signs point to Philadelphia, which has the NFL’s best record at 8-1, has covered its past six games and is coming off a bye week.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz directs the NFL’s No. 2 scoring offense (averaging 31.4 points) with a league-leading 23 touchdown passes. Philadelphia also features a solid ground game with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi and a top-1o scoring defense (19.9 ppg).
Dallas saw its three-game win streak come to an emphatic end in Sunday’s 27-7 loss at Atlanta, where it was missing running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith, whose replacements allowed seven sacks. Elliott will miss Sunday’s game, and Smith is listed as questionable.
The Cowboys also will be without All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee, the leader of their defense who is expected to miss the next three games with a hamstring injury. In two games Lee missed earlier this season, Dallas dropped back-to-back home games to the Rams and Packers.
It’s hard to find a silver lining for the Cowboys.
Four more plays for Week 11 (home team in CAPS):
Patriots (-7) over Raiders: New England is rounding into Super Bowl form with five straight wins during which it has allowed an average of 13.4 points. Coach Bill Belichick wisely kept the Patriots in Colorado after their 41-16 win over the Broncos to stay in high altitude to prepare for Mexico City. Oakland has a suspect pass defense that has no interceptions this season. Tom Brady has thrown 19 TD passes and only two interceptions, and New England has won 12 straight road games.
Lions (-3) over BEARS: Detroit is clicking on offense after scoring 68 points in back-to-back wins over the Packers and Browns. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for 17 TDs with only five interceptions and has two dangerous targets in wideouts Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Chicago averages only 16.7 ppg.
Jaguars (-7½) over BROWNS: Cleveland is coming off another ugly loss — both straight up and ATS — and will struggle to score against Jacksonville’s NFL-best scoring defense (14.9 ppg). The Jaguars also lead the NFL in sacks (35) and are tied for fourth in interceptions (11). That doesn’t bode well for Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who has thrown for only four TDs with a league-high 12 interceptions.
VIKINGS (-2½) over Rams: We’ll lay the short spread at home in what will be Los Angeles’ toughest test yet. Minnesota is on a 21-6 ATS run at home, and its offense has finally caught up to its stout defense. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw for 304 yards and four TDs in Sunday’s 38-30 win at Washington.
Last week: 3-2 against the spread