Cowboys vs. Giants Week 17 Total Pick
Dallas Cowboys (9-6 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) vs. New York Giants (5-10 SU, 8-6-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 17
Date/Time: Sunday December 30th, 2018. 1:00PM (EST)
Where: MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, N.J.
By Jay Horne, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DAL +7/NYG -7 (Bovada Sportsbook)
Over/Under Total: 42.5
Last week, the Dallas Cowboys rebounded from the shutout loss to the Indianapolis Colts with a 27-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to clinch the NFC East. The victory earned the Cowboys a playoff berth for just the 3rd time under Head Coach Jason Garrett. This week the Cowboys will go on the road to close out the regular season against the 5-10 SU New York Giants inside MetLife Stadium. Unfortunately, there is little motivation for either team in this game. The Giants would simply like to know what it feels like to win against while the Cowboys cannot gain anything from this week 17 match-up.
Dallas Cowboys clinch NFC East and number 4 seed
With the Cowboys victory last week, they clinched the NFC East for the 3rd time in the last 6 years. At 9-6 SU, the Cowboys are locked in as the number 4 seed in the playoffs behind the Rams, Saints, and Bears in the NFC. As a result, Dallas cannot improve their postseason position this week with a victory over the Giants. Instead, the Cowboys will likely use this game as an opportunity to rest some of their key contributors. The amount of rest has yet to be determined or implied by the Cowboys coaching staff at this point in the week. However, I think it is very safe to assume running back Ezekiel Elliott will be one of the players that will surely see rest on Sunday considering he is the focal point of the offense. Having Elliott well rested, would surely be beneficial for Dallas once the playoffs begin.
Cowboys seeking 4th straight victory over Giants
I know anytime “rest” is mentioned ahead of late season match-ups the majority of casual bettors are quick to assume the “winning” pick will be the opposite team. If only it were as easy as picking the team that is not “resting” their players. Instead, there are still several reasons to believe the Cowboys can and will win this game. For starters, Dallas has had the G-men’s number winning each of the last 3 meetings in convincing fashion. Meanwhile, the Giants are not exactly a team that is exuding with confidence at the moment either.
New York was shutout two weeks ago against the Titans and coughed up a 10 point 2nd half lead to the Colts last week in a 28-27 loss. The offense has struggled with WR Odell Beckham sidelined for each of the last 3 games and the offense could be without the star receiver again on Sunday. Another reason that I still think some sharp attention is deserved for the Cowboys is because I expect quarterback Dak Prescott to go the distance. Considering Prescott’s struggles in recent weeks, I would expect the Cowboys to utilize Prescott in the passing game in attempt to continue to build his confidence. Of course this is purely speculation as most week 17 game plans are but this is also coming from the thoughts of a Cowboys fan for what it’s worth.
RB Saquon Barkley among the NFL’s elite
Despite WR Odell Beckham’s recent string of unavailability and the continued decline of quarterback Eli Manning, the Giants still have one of the biggest assets in the NFL in running back Saquon Barkley. The rookie tailback is currently ranked 3rd in the NFL with 1,155 rushing yards and also ranks 4th in the NFL in receiving yards by a running back with 688 yards. Collectively, the rookie has combined for 13 touchdowns and is becoming a bigger threat each week. The test for the Cowboys defense this week will be primarily to spy on Barkley and limit his running room. The Cowboys have the personnel to get the job done mainly because of their talented linebacking group with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. The concern is those guys do not contribute the entire 60 minutes if Dallas pulls their starters at any point in this contest.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Giants are obviously not overly impressing anyone on offense and running back Saquon Barkley will have a difficult match-up on Sunday. Likewise, I expect the Cowboys to struggle on the offensive side of the ball especially if they rest a few of their key contributors. The last 5 meetings between the Giants and Cowboys have hit the “under” and I expect that trend to continue. Take the under 42.5!