Dallas Cowboys (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (3-1 SU, 2-1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 8 at 4:25pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field
by Evergreen, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DAL +4/GB-4
Over/Under Total: 47.5
With all the ups and downs of NFL Football, we really shouldnít be surprised anymore when a team defies expectations and succeeds. The Dallas Cowboys have started off the 2016 season with a bang despite injuries and rookies at key positions. Dallas heads to Green Bay this weekend to take on Packers team that is piecing itself back together on a long homestand. This will be a litmus test for the Boys as Lambeau Field is not an easy place to get a win, especially with the Packers defense among the best in the league. Itís the best run offense up against the best run defense this Sunday, Lombardi and Landry would be proud.
With both teams coming in hot, this has all the makings of a close game and the online betting sites have tabbed Green Bay as modest four point favorites. The home team has won 10-of-13 against the spread in this series and while Dallas has won 13 of their last 19 ATS on the road, they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven trips to Lambeau.
After dropping a 20-19 decision to the Giants in the opener, Dallas has reeled off four straight wins. The knock on them is that they have faced the 3rd easiest schedule to this point but there was some clear dominance in the 28-14 win last week against Cincinnati. The Cowboys rushed for 180 yards against the Bengals and Dak Prescott was very efficient in hitting on 18-of-24 passes for one score and zero touchdowns. Prescott has been remarkable in relief of the injured Tony Romo and stealing a win this weekend will make it awfully tough for the Boys to simply replace him when Romo is off IR. Prescott has been running a stripped down playbook but that simple approach has worked well and allowed Dallas to be consistent on offense and not turn the ball over. Dak is closing in on Tom Bradyís record of pass attempts without an interception to start a career. The running game has been the leagueís best, averaging 155 yards per game behind a massive offensive line and Zeke Elliott has hit a stride while averaging five yards per carry.
After a win in Jacksonville to open the season, the Packers were dumped in Minneapolis by the Vikings in the first game at U.S. Bank Stadium. There was legitimate panic after that loss but it turns out Minnesota might be the best team in the league and back-to-back wins against the Lions and Giants have the Cheeseheads breathing a little easier. The offense hasnít performed well, even with Jordy Nelson back and catching touchdowns but the defense has more than pulled their weight while Aaron Rodgers and the O have tried to regain their vintage form. The Packers are winning despite being outside the top-25 in passing yards and total yards because the defense ranks 9th in total yards allowed and is giving up just 42 rushing yards per game. Clay Matthews remains one of the premier pass rushers from the linebacker spot and Green Bay has averaged over three sacks per game so far.
Injuries could become a large factor in this game as Dallas will again be without Dez Bryant and potentially #2 wide receiver Terrance Williams who is dealing with a shoulder injury. Prescott has made lemonade by going underneath to Cole Beasley and resurrecting Jason Witten as a high-volume target but the Cowboys are thin on the outside and could struggle if they fall behind and are forced to chase points. Eddie Lacy sprained an ankle last week and while the injury is not thought to be serious, his status is in question. Lacy was running as well as we have seen him before exiting last week and James Starks would see the work if Eddie is out. Davante Adams is questionable with a concussion so the Pack could be down a wide receiver but it appears that Randall Cobb avoided injury after getting folded up late last game. CBís Sam Shields and Damarious Randall are both day-to-day and S Chris Banjo is also on the injury report so the Packers secondary is dealing with a lot of moving parts.
A new issue for the Packers is the relative struggles by Aaron Rodgers. The normally accurate QB has hit on just 56% of his passes so far and his QB rating is still above average at 87.7 but that is a long way off from his personal best. Nelson and Cobb have done good work underneath but the big play is missing from this offense and they enter the week 25th in total yards. A consistent third option has yet to emerge but the Packers showed some versatility last week in using just about every skill player they had on the first drive against the Giants. That drive led to a touchdown but the Packers moved back to a predictable style after that and never had the same success. The home crowd floats the Packers boat but there are still questions about this offense in general.
The Cowboys have a decent defense but not one that is likely to bottle up Green Bay at home. The running game is really the defenses best friend as ball control keeps the D fresh and able to make a few plays. The Cowboys have recorded just nine sacks in five games so they are very much in the bend-donít-break mold. Prescott taking good care of the ball is essential every week but this week in particular as Green Bay is more opportunistic than most teams. Field position and time of possession will be keys to victory and Dallas has a leg up in the special teams department. If Prescott makes a couple of plays and the running game stays on schedule, Dallas will push the Pack. This is a step up in competition for the Cowboys as they have played the 3rd easiest schedule to this point. I think they will run the ball better than anyone else has against Green Bay but four points is not a large number considering how well the Packers play at home. They didnít even play all that well against the Giants and still had a 13 minute advantage in time of possession and had a relatively easy time despite two Rodgers interceptions. Dallas keeps it close but falls by a 27-20 score. Take the Packers and the lay the points.
Evergreenís Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Green Bay
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