Dallas Cowboys (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 4:25PM EST
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DAL -2.5/WAS +2.5
Over/Under Total: 50.5
In NFC East action on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys take on the Washington Redskins in a battle of 3-3 teams, both eager to score a win in this week eight battle. Washington is coming off their second loss to the Eagles this season, losing 34-24 on MNF. With two losses in their last three games, a win at home here is really needed, as they face a pivotal game on Sunday. Dallas came off the bye last week looking rejuvenated. They gave the 49ers a beatdown, 40-10, to move to 3-3. They look to keep the good momentum going and put their bad start behind them this week against their longtime division rival.
The Redskins were again on the wrong end of a double-digit game to Philly on Sunday. They can still produce aerially on offense, but that side of the ball lacks variety and its starting to show. And the other side of the ball hasnt been faring well lately and injuries are beginning to sap them of their menace, especially in the secondary. They need to start playing better late in games with more clutch. They just dont seem able to put forth the kind of complete performance that can yield wins on a regular basis.
On Monday, Kirk Cousins was pretty good, at least statistically, going 30/40 passing with 303 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw a pick, however, and there just seems to be a disconnect of this side of the ball. They have depth, especially in the ball-catching category. But getting regular contributions from their top guys has been a problem. Terrelle Pryor is there some games and disappears in others. Jamison Crowder hasnt really surfaced this season. They at least got a good showing from TE Jordan Reed, who sprang to life with a big game and two touchdowns on MNF. And TE Vernon Davis has been quite effective. But they need more from guys like Josh Doctson and the rest of an underachieving WR crew. And the run-game just isnt consistent and cant be relied upon, making it a little easier on opposing defenses to contain this bunch.
The Washington pass-defense is in the midst of a crisis. It was bad enough to lose top cornerback Josh Norman, but they are now dealing with a secondary where almost everyone is hurt, including their top reserve corners. Well keep an eye on this as the week progresses, as it would obviously be a major detriment to face a suddenly-hot Dallas offense with a secondary that is so heavily-compromised. They need guys up-front to step up, with linebackers Mason Foster, Preston Brown, and Ryan Kerrigan needing to do more of the heavy lifting. And theyve been good against the run for the most part. There have been injuries and chemistry issues, with a lack of big plays the last few weeks. They will need to find answers for this week.
Unlike a lot of teams this season, Dallas seemed to put the bye to good use, looking as good as they had all season in their week 7 manhandling of San Francisco. Again given a suspension reprieve, Ezekiel Elliott responded, as did Dak Prescott. The offense seemed a lot improved and they look to keep that momentum rolling this week. Also helping was a defense that seemed to snap out of its funk last week. Well see what they come up with this week, as this should be a sterner test as to where the Cowboys really stand at this point.
The appeals process is hard to pinpoint, but well go ahead and assume Elliott will be back in the fold on Sunday. He was huge against the 49ers with 147 yards and two TD runs, while also taking a short Prescott pass and taking it to the end zone from 72 yards out. Prescott threw for three touchdowns and ran in another score. Rod Smith was useful on the ground, adding 61 yards rushing and Jason Witten was big with a tough TD catch. While the offense had been scoring decently this season, they seemed to hit a higher gear on Sunday. It could be a good sign.
Last season, we saw the Dallas defense perform better than anticipated, especially as they were dealing with a ton of personnel issues. At the same time, the formula for success was a delicate one. All that really had to happen was to lose a few key contributors with a dip in form on offense to render this a diminished version of last seasons group. After missing some time, Sean Lee is back in there, while David Irving returned from suspension. Both of their presences were felt on Sunday. Irving is a big pass-rusher and he helps Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence. The middle has also seen Anthony Hitchens return, giving a big boost to the linebacking corps. Again, this is a tougher test this week and well get a clearer idea of where this D really stands approaching the midway point of the season.
We dont want to wax too optimistic on the Cowboys for beating a winless 49ers team, even if San Fran had been holding everyone else close recently. Its not a signal that the Cowboys are back to where they were last season, but its still a positive sign. Washington is dangerous at home and even more so when people start writing them off. Its hard to get surprised at anything they put forthwhether it is good or bad. While both teams are 3-3, I see Dallas as having their arrow pointed upward, with the opposite being the case for the Redskins. Im taking the Cowboys in this one.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Dallas Cowboys minus 2.5 points. – Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)