Indianapolis Colts (10-4 SU, 9-4-1 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date and Time: Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 4:25PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +2.5/DAL -2.5
Over/Under Total: 55.5
Bet your Colts/Cowboys pick at a quality sportsbook that offers new clients up to $250 FREE and best of all you can get all set up in minutes using your credit card >>> Bovada.
On Sunday, the Colts go into AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys in a battle of 10-win teams. The Colts beat Houston on Sunday to clinch the AFC South. With two more games, maybe they can improve their position, with New England and Denver ahead of them in the AFC playoff standings. Dallas is also coming off a big win–a road victory over the Eagles to take over first place in the NFC East. But with a top-heavy NFC playoff picture, they cant leave their fate up in the air. They need to continue winning.
A lot of things are yet to be determined, but Dallas picture covers a lot of ground. They could still conceivably become the top-seed in the NFC. They could also miss the playoffs altogether. But there is no doubting how much wind was pumped into their sails with the road win over Philly on Sunday, a few weeks after the Eagles had made mincemeat of the Cowboys. Tony Romo threw for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns. And WR Dez Bryant is peaking at just the right time, with 3 TD receptions on Sunday.
The Cowboys have been depending heavily on the NFLs leading rusher DeMarco Murray. He had a rare tough game on Sunday, with 81 yards on 31 carries, with most of his runs going nowhere. Then he had hand surgery this week. Expected to play, one has to wonder if Murray isnt maybe breaking down a little bit. And how good will he be just days after a hand surgery? Its just a bit troubling that their most versatile offensive weapon appears to be sagging as the Cowboys are hitting their final stretch. That could all be a mirage, however.
The Colts are hellbent on having a huge year and its hard to argue with their results. After an 0-2 start to the season, they have since won 10 of 12 games and are playing about as well as anyone in the league. They have won 4 straight, but their victims were the Jaguars, Redskins, Browns, and Texans. It looks to get a little tougher here on the road against a team that still has a lot to play for.
In their 4 losses, the Colts have fallen to the Broncos, Eagles, Steelers, and Patriots. They benefit from having 4 games against division fodder like Jacksonville and Tennessee. This is an important game for the Colts. While they have beaten some good teams like Baltimore and Cincinnati, its been a while since they beat a playoff-bound team. Against teams that are currently over the .500 mark, Indy is just 2-4.
Andrew Luck leads all NFL quarterbacks with 4492 yards. One major potential problem for this offense is the health of leading receiver T.Y. Hilton, though an MRI on his hamstring was negative. He should see time on Sunday, though its hard to gauge how effective he will be. Luckily for the Colts, there is a lot of help with Reggie Wayne, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, along with receivers Donte Moncrief and Hakeem Nicks.
At some point, the lack of balance on Indys offense might end up biting them on the backside. One hates to say it, y but you have to call Trent Richardson a bust at this point. It just isnt working out all that well, though he has had his moments. One sliver of hope is the recent form of running back Daniel Herron, who has put forth some promising performances in recent games.
Neither defense needs to be all that great, with high-powered offenses doing most of the work. Both teams are definitely more offensively-inclined. But on occasion, these defenses can play well. Indianapolis has held opponents to 17 points or under in five of their ten wins, with Dallas having done it 4 times. These defenses can span the whole gamut. Some weeks they look really good and then there are times where they really stink it up.
Dallas has been pretty exploitable at home this season, with an uninspiring 3-4 record at AT&T Stadium. Amazingly, they are 7-0 on the road this season, which is a bit bizarre. And for what its worth, the Colts have won 4 of their last 5 road games. Look for a Dallas team with a lot on the line to play a little better at home than whats been the case for much of 2014.
The win on Sunday in Philadelphia goes beyond notching a mere win. It served a few different purposes. It showed that Dallas cant be counted on to flop in the late-season like theyve done in some recent campaigns. It showed they can turn the tables. On Thanksgiving, with the Eagles thrashing of Dallas, there was nothing to suggest the Cowboys would be able to turn the tables, on the road no less. But they did, enabling them to come into these last two games with a head of steam.
Again, Dallas can only feel so comfortable with there being 5 teams in the NFC with at least 10 wins already, with the Eagles right behind them with 9 wins. They are facing a very dangerous opponent in the Colts and should be at a fever-pitch when they hit the field on Sunday. I think this is tough cross-conference road game for the Colts and a possible spot for a tiny letdown after clinching their division last week. In a tight game, I see Dallas emerging with the win and cover.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Dallas Cowboys minus 2.5 points.