Dallas Cowboys (5-4) -1, 43.5 O/U at Washington Redskins (6-3) +1,
43.5 O/U, FedEx Field, Landover, Md., 8:15 PM Eastern, Sunday, NBC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Fresh off their bye week the Dallas Cowboys look to get back on the winning track when they travel to FedEx Field to take on their heated
and longtime NFC East rival Washington Redskins on Sunday Night
Football this week.
The Cowboys should be back to full strength, as quarterback Tony Romo is expected to play after missing the last three games with a broken pinkie finger. Rookie running back Felix Jones is also listed as
probable, as the Cowboys will be trying to stop their losing ways
after losing three of the last four including a 35-14 loss to the New
York Giants last time out November 2nd.
The Redskins also lost their last time out, an emotionally draining 23-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week on Monday Night Football. Adding salt to the wound, the Skins also lost running back
Clinton Portis to a knee injury and hes listed as 50-50 for Sundays
game with the Cowboys.
While the Pittsburgh games only their second loss in their last four contests, the two wins in between were lackluster efforts versus
winless Detroit and emotionless Cleveland, so Washington will also be
looking to get back to playing playoff-caliber football versus their
hated rival Cowboys.
5Dimes opened the game with Washington as 2-point favorites, but
when word came down that Portis was iffy with his knee, early money
cascaded in on the Cowboys and the spread flipped around to show the
Cowboys as slim 1-point favorites. The over/under total opened at 46
and has dropped to 43.5 at most offshore sportsbooks. The moneyline
lists Dallas as -118 favorites, with Washington as +108 home underdogs.
Dallas is hoping the return of Romo at quarterback revives their
staggering offense. Before his injury the Cowboys averaged 29.2
points per game, but with backup Brad Johnson calling the signals the
last three weeks the Boys have scored 14, 13 and 14 points,
respectively. The return of Jones to the backfield will also give
Dallas the game-breaker that they have lacked recently too.
Washingtons offense will be interesting without Portis, if hes
unable to go by Sunday. With Portis, the NFLs 2nd leading rusher,
the Skins boast the leagues 4th-ranked running offense at 144.7
yards per game. Backup running back Ladell Betts is also listed as
doubtful for Sunday (knee), meaning the Redskins would have to go
with former Seahawk Shaun Alexander as the starter and main ball
carrier, which is sure to put added pressure on quarterback Jason
Defensively one would think the Cowboys would possess the stronger
unit between these two teams, but its actually the Redskins that
have the better unit. The Redskins are top-10 across the board,
including total yards allowed (272.7 ypg 4th) and points allowed
(18.7 ppg 8th). Plus, the Skins are expected to get pass-rush end
Jason Taylor and nickel corner Shawn Springs back on the field this
week after both have missed the last few games with injuries.
Dallas meanwhile has been gauged in recent weeks, including giving
up 34 points to St. Louis and 35 to the Giants, so their overall rank
of 12th in total yards allowed (300.9 ypg) and 23rd-ranked scoring
defense (24.3 ppg) have taken a huge hit.
Washington actually started the Cowboys slide, beating them 26-24 on
the road in Texas Stadium back on the final week of September. Dallas
has gone 2-3 since then and hasnt been the same team since. Romo
played well in the first game, with 300 yards passing and 2 TDs, but
the Cowboys were unable to stop Portis (121 yards) and Santana Moss
(145 yards receiving) in the loss.
Washington has now won two straight in the series, and five of the last seven head-to-head meetings with the rival Cowboys. The Redskins
have been on the good side of the betting trend in the series too, as
they have covered the number in four straight (three times as road
dogs) and six of the last seven including a 35-7 victory as 1-point
home underdogs back in December of 2005.
More importantly the Skins have held their ground at home, winning
three straight at FedEx Field, and they havent won four straight at
home since the 1972-75 seasons.
Other betting trends that are noteworthy: the underdog in this series
is 20-6 ATS in the last 26 meetings; the Cowboys are actually 7-3 ATS
in their last 10 visits to Washington, but are 0-7 ATS in their last
seven games versus the NFC East; Washington is 5-1 ATS in their last
six games versus the NFC East, and are 10-2 ATS in their last 12
games following a bye week.
Badgers Pick: Portis or no Portis, I like the Redskins as home dogs here. I expect the defense to get after Romo early and don’t be surprised to see Portis still playing despite being listed as doubtful.
Take the home dog here, take the Redskins plus the point.