Dallas Cowboys (4-10 SU, 4-9-1 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (6-8 SU, 6-7-1 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: December 27th, 1:00 PM E
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: DALL +6/ Buff -6
The Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills will be playing for pride in this week 16 matchup. Sunday’s loss to the Jets officially eliminated the Cowboys from the playoff chase. Backup QB’s Brandon Weeden (0-3) and Matt Cassel (1-6) went a combined 1-9 after starter Tony Romo went down twice this season with fractured left collarbone. Dallas was outgained by 69 yards in the 3-point home loss and have won the stats just twice in their last eight games. The Bills are 1-4 SU in their last five games after losing 35-25 as 2.5-point road chalk against Washington last week. The Bills won the stats for the third time in four games, but have just won victory to show for it.
Kellen Moore will start for Dallas and he’s basically a fifth-string QB at this point of the season. Dallas will start its 4th different QB in a single season for the first time since 2001. The Cowboys are in total disarray and the Bills’ defense should be able to shut down this anemic Cowboys’ offense. Dallas has scored the third-fewest points (246) in the NFL this season. Only the Rams (241) and 49ers (202) have scored fewer. With a week to prepare, I don’t see Kellen Moore having much success in the cold, and windy conditions against a very aggressive Rex Ryan defense. To show you how bad the Cowboys’ offense is lets look at the Baltimore Ravens. They have the same 4-10 SU record as Dallas, but Baltimore has scored 292 points which is more than the Colts (285), who have two more wins than the Ravens. I don’t trust this Cowboys’ offense unless Tony Romo is 100% healthy and that won’t happen until next season.
The Cowboys will bring in better defense as they are ranked No. 19, while Buffalo checks in at No. 22 according to Football Outsiders. Both stop units are pretty even to me. I don’t see any big mismatches on either side. Buffalo is allowing 5.8 yards per play, while Dallas is allowing 5.6. On the road, the Cowboys are allowing 5.9 yards per play which is a big reasons why they are 3-4 SU and 3-4 ATS on the road this season. Dallas actually has a better road record than home record and have gone 11-5 ATS in their last 16 road tilts. Ralph Wilson Stadium is a tough place to play for some Non-Conference teams. The home team is 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings. Buffalo’s offense has scored 75 points in their last three games and only have one victory to show for it. The Bills’ offense is clicking right now even though their record might not reflect it. Buffalo is averaging 24.4 points per game and the visitor checks in at just 17.6 per contest. The Cowboys are ranked 27th in yards per game and 30th in points. Buffalo is ranked 13th in both yards and points per game. They should be more accustomed to playing in less than ideal weather conditions. Forecast calls for a 68% chance of light rain and temps in the upper 30’s as of 5:00 PM E on Tuesday.
The Bills are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight-up loss. The Cowboys are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing more than 350 total yards. The Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week 16. The Bills are ranked No. 11 in overall team efficiency, while the Cowboys are ranked No. 26 at Football Outsiders. That shows you just how much better the Bills are playing despite its won/loss record. If this line creeps up to 7.5 or more points, I would pass the game altogether. The Bills are a solid play at minus -6 points or less.
The Last Vegas NFL Power rankings has the Bills at No. 13 with a 20.5 index. Dallas is ranked No. 22 (tied) with a power index of 17.5. I give the Bills’ home filed advantage 3.5 points so that would make this spread right on point. With that said, the eye test is telling me that the Bills minus -6 at home is the right side. The favorite is 10-2-1 ATS in the last 13 Cowboy games. Dallas has the worst turnover differential in the league with a minus -18. The Bills have been much better with a plus +4 turnover margin. I think this Bills’ defense will score at least one TD against Kellen Moore, who is making his first career road start and first career start overall.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Buffalo Bills -6
The Bills have a strong running game averaging 149 yards per game, while the Cowboys are allowing 111 rushing yards per game. I also think Tyrod Taylor will make some plays with his legs to keep the chains moving. The Cowboys have struggled against QB’s that like to run. Tyrod Taylor is averaging 5.6 yards per run and his 101.8 QB rating should lead Buffalo to a victory. The Bills are 7-1 SU and 7-1 ATS after two or more consecutive losses over the last three seasons. Buffalo is a bit “nicked” up so don’t lay anything more than 6 points.
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