Dallas Cowboys (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 4th, 2012, 8:20 p.m. EST
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Dal +4/Atl -4
Over/Under Total: 47.5
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Another week and another test passed for the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons, who will put the NFL’s last perfect record on the line again this weekend in primetime when they host the Dallas Cowboys in the Georgia Dome on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in America.
The Falcons passed their last test in Philadelphia with flying colors, jumping on the Eagles quickly in a huge, 30-17, win on the road last Sunday. Matt Ryan went for 262 yards and three touchdowns, and the Falcons defense put so much pressure on Michael Vick that the Eagles were frustrated and held in check all day.
Now the Falcons take on a desperate Dallas Cowboys team that is almost fighting for it’s life this season, and it’s only week nine.
Dallas nearly pulled off one of the greatest comebacks of a long time last Sunday, but Dez Bryant’s fingers landed out of bounds and the Cowboys went on to lose another heartbreaker to the New York Giants, 29-24. The Cowboys continue to be the Cowboys biggest problem, as six more turnovers moved them to 31st in the NFL with a minus -11 turnover ratio, a stat that has them already fighting for their lives this week on the road against the unbeaten Falcons.
With the target firmly attached to their backs now, the Falcons opened Sunday Night’s game as 5-point favorites at home. A flood of sharp money poured in on Dallas early and quickly enough that the number dropped to minus -4.5 across the board, with a bunch of offshore sportsbooks down to -4 before the run ended and the point spread finally bottomed out.
The over/under total opened at 47.5 and hasn’t budged an inch in either direction.
What has made Atlanta unbeatable so far is their versatility on offense. Coming into the season the Falcons claimed they were going to take the blinders off of Ryan and so far it’s worked (271 ypg passing - 8th), but the Falcons can go over the top to Julio Jones on one play, dink-n-dunk it down the field with Roddy White and Tony Gonzales over the middle, or grind it out late in the game three yards and a cloud of dust style with Michael Turner behind a strong offensive line.
The Dallas defense will be the biggest test for the Falcons this season, which will likely make for a slower start than usual at home in the Georgia Dome. The Cowboys also offer one of the best combinations of pass rush (13 sacks) and secondary play (allowing 188 ypg - 3rd), which will also give the Falcons a true test this week especially if the Cowboys are playing with their backs against the wall.
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Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense are deadly, they just have to protect the ball. Dallas is also one of the most penalized teams in the NFL too (55 - 4th most), so there are plenty of small details the boys in Big D better start paying attention too in a hurry or they’re going to be talking about another disappointing season in Dallas while the folks in Houston are basking in the Lone Star State’s glory.
Dallas has beaten Atlanta the last two times they’ve met on the NFL gridiron, including a, 37-21, win in Dallas in their last meeting (2009) and a, 38-28, triumph the last time they were in Georgia in 2006. The Cowboys also covered in both games (as 5.5- and 3.5-point favorites), and both games sailed over the closing total (47.5 and 44.5).
With a limited recent history the betting trends are hard to find, but for what it’s worth the favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head games between the Dirty Bird and the self-proclaimed America’s Team.
The under looks like a possible trend play this week, since it’s 6-1 in the Cowboys last seven road games, 7-3 in the last 10 Cowboys games and 7-3 in Atlanta’s last 10 games at home in the Georgia Dome.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Dallas is a team that just loves to screw me every time I back them, and even though they are the sharp pick here, most of the value has already been taken away. Still, the pick here is Dallas plus the points.
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