Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (7-6 SU, 5-8 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: December 16, 2012. 4:25 EST.
Where: Cowboy Stadium
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: Pit -2/DAL +2
Over/Under Total: 44

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are once again faced with a must win every-game down the stretch situation. Steelers fanatics are crossing everything they can to will the Steelers into the playoffs but it won’t come easy against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. The Steelers are still picking up their jockstraps and avoiding eye contact with the locals after their embarrassing home loss to the San Diego Chargers last week.

Most fans expected a triumphant return for Big Ben but it was anything but successful if not detrimental. Roethlisberger looked about 50 percent at times and well, the defense looked no percent. This cannot happen in Dallas or the boys from Steel town will likely be done for the season. Both teams are driving for a playoff berth while rekindling a longtime rivalry-The Cowboys vs. The Steelers-remember the good ole days when these two teams were the pillars of the NFL? Now, one can only hope for a good close matchup and their respective team to cover or to stay under the total. Also, the Steelers suspended former starting RB Rashard Mendenhall for conduct detrimental to the team. Mendenhall was demoted to third string after too many turnovers last month and this new suspension only adds to his apparent downward spiral. The team did not express details of the situation.

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Dallas managed to fight for a come from behind win last week against the Bengals but during that fight they lost their best receiver in Dez Bryant. Bryant is out for the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his finger. He will be placed on the season-ending IR and is already scheduled for surgery. Bryant led the Cowboys in receiving with 75 catches, over 1000 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns inside the red zone. He was averaging 13.7 yards per reception. This definitely hurts the Boys but won’t necessarily knock them out of their offensive passing attack as they have very dependable receivers in TE Jason Witten who has some of the best hands in the league as well as receiver Miles Austin. Collectively, Austin and Witten have combined for 147 catches, 1699 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns. They will just be expected to make some adjustments-that’s what professionals do-adjust, and make it work.

The Dallas Cowboy family is also dealing and grieving over the loss of Jerry Brown Jr., who was killed in a car accident last week. His friend and teammate Josh Brent was driving the Mercedes Benz when the wrecked happened. Brown was an outside linebacker on the practice squad and Brent is the Cowboys nose tackle. The Cowboys played against Cincinnati with heavy hearts and pulled out an emotional win but this tragedy may still affect the team’s psyche at home this weekend. This can both help and hurt the team’s productivity. Certainly the Steelers will extend their condolences and respect the situation; however sorrowful, the game will be hard fought.

The odds of the Pittsburgh Steelers playing worse than they did last week against the Chargers is very unlikely thus the Cowboys will need to establish the run early as the Steelers are one of the best pass defenses in the league holding their opponents to just 166.7 yards per contest. Pitt is also ranked seventh for overall defense. However, if the Cowboy’s QB Tony Romo and/or RB DeMarco Murray can explode offensively they might have a chance to win what is an unlikely home victory for the Boys. Pittsburgh is too good of a football team to have back-to-back disastrous games.

The Cowboy’s defense will really need to play lights out this weekend at home to have any hope of keeping the Steelers from a probable road win in Big D. Offensively, the Cowboys come in ranked 15th in the league versus Pitt’s 7th ranked D but can Romo get the team going? He will be a key factor as will Big Ben on the other side of the field. The QBs will decide this matchup along with stellar defense-the Steelers have the edge defensively and if Big Ben is on his game he is more dominant than Romo.

The total has gone OVER in 6 of the Steeler’s last 8 road games while Dallas is getting 2 points at home. Traditionally these two teams are exciting to watch due to their history and sense of NFL nostalgia. This time around I believe the bookies are right on with this game being nearly a pick; considering the woes on both sides of the field: Dallas with their tragedy off the field coupled with the loss of Dez Bryant which puts even more pressure to establish a running game will be looking to patch things up at home. The Steelers have their QB trying to find his rhythm, and a defense that must rebound and show why they have been ranked in the top of the NFL by shutting down the Cowboy’s attack-this game should be a barn-burner in Big D.

Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Cowboys look like a different team with DeMarco Murray back in the mix. Don’t get me wrong, this game is very close to a coin flip but if forced to make a selection I like the Pokes to win a close faught game. I’m making a lunch money bet on Dallas plus the points!

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