Washington Redskins (2-1) +11 , 46 at Dallas Cowboys (3-0) 4:15 pm Eastern Sunday, FOX
by Zman of Predictem.com
One of the more storied rivalries in the NFL writes its next chapter when the Washington Redskins visit the Dallas Cowboys for an NFC East skirmish Sunday afternoon.
NFL bookmakers are listing Dallas as 11 1/2-point home favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 46. The Cowboys are also listed at right around -525 on various offshore moneylines, with the Redskins getting around +425 as the road underdogs.
Washington is off to a 2-1 start under new head coach Jim Zorn. The Redskins opened the season with a 16-7 loss to the New York Giants, but have since rallied to beat New Orleans 29-24 and Arizona 24-17 the last two weeks. And after getting outrushed by NY 154-84, the ‘Skins out-grounded the Saints 149-55 and the Cardinals 136-116.
Dallas is off to a 3-0 start after winning at Cleveland 28-10, at home over Philadelphia 41-37 and, Sunday night, 27-16 at Green Bay. And the Cowboys have been impressive in doing so; they’ve averaging 440 yards per game on offense, and are holding foes to 84 rushing yards per outing. The Cowboys may have made a few big plays in the passing game the other night at Lambeau Field, but they won that game on the ground, out-rushing the Pack 217-85.
Washington couldn’t cover the spread as 4 1/2-point road dogs at New York in the season opener, although they had chances to do so. The Redskins have since then covered as short one- and three-point home chalk over New Orleans and Arizona.
The ‘Skins season opener stayed under its total of 41 quite easily. Their win over the Saints went over its number of 43, while Sunday’s victory over the Cards stayed under 43. Overall, Washington’s three games this season have averaged 39 total points.
Dallas covered six points at Cleveland and three points at Green Bay, but couldn’t cover 6 1/2-points at home vs. the Eagles. And even though the Cowboys themselves are averaging 32 PPG, only one of their games has gone over this year, that shootout with Philadelphia. The win over the Browns stayed under 48, as did the victory over the Packers at 51.
Pokes QB Tony Romo didn’t look great early on Sunday night, and threw a dumb INT in the GB end zone, but made several key throws in key situations after that. On the season, Romo has hit on 67% of his throws for 9.7 yards per attempt, which is huge (2nd behind only San Diego’s Philip Rivers at 9.9), with a 5/3 TD/INT ratio.
On the other side of this quarterback match-up, Jason Campbell, in running a new, Zorny version of the West Coast offense, has completed 66% of his passes this season for a 7.0 YPA average, with four TDs and nary an INT.
These two teams split their two meetings last year, but under very different circumstances. In November, with Dallas fighting for a division title and home-field advantage in the playoffs, and the ‘Skins trying to track down a wild-card berth, the Pokes beat Washington 28-23 in Texas. But Dallas couldn’t cover the spread as 11-point chalk. Neither team ran the ball worth a lick that day, but Campbell and Romo combined to throw the ball for 650 yards and six scores.
Six weeks later, in the regular-season finale, with the division title and home-field advantage wrapped up, the Pokes laid down at Washington and lost 27-6. The ‘Skins totally dominated that game against a disinterested Cowboys squad.
Last season, Washington went 7-7-2 against the spread, and just 1-1 ATS as a dog of a touchdown or more. Also, the totals went 7-9 in Redskins games last season, which averaged 40 total points.
Meanwhile, Dallas went 9-7 vs. the numbers last season, but only 4-5 ATS when favored by a touchdown or more. And the totals went 10-6 in Cowboys games last season, which averaged 49 points.
On the injury front, the ‘Skins will be without LB Jason Taylor Sunday, after he had blood drained from his calf earlier this week. And Cowboys S Roy Williams is out for at least another month after breaking a bone in his arm last week vs. Philly.
Sagarin’s NFL rankings at USAToday.com ranks Dallas 1st at 28.4, Washington 16th at 21.1. Sagarin’s current NFL home-field advantage figure is 3.2.
Zman’s Pick: Washington is going to get destroyed. Lay the wood.