The Dallas Cowboys have looked awesome at times this season, and that can’t go unrecognized. But they have also gone flat too. And their “C” game has not been able to beat C-level opponents. On Sunday night they’ll be getting close to the A-level, as the Minnesota Vikings come calling. This NBC game begins at 8:20 PM ET at AT&T Stadium. And keep in mind that if you are a customer signed up with BetAnySports, you will have the opportunity for “extras.” For example, you can get reduced juice for better pre-game odds. And you can take advantage of Sports Betting apps Ultra for real-time wagers after kickoff.
Where they stand
The Cowboys are currently a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. The Vikings are a game behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. If the Cowboys win here, they will move ahead of Minnesota in the conference wild card standings – that is, if it comes to that kind of a situation.
The Dallas offense – how smoothly can it move?
Dallas had a nice offensive output on Monday night, with 429 yards. And 139 of those came from Ezekiel Elliott. They pounded the New York Giants’ defensive line. And they also pounded the offensive line, with five sacks of Daniel Jones. This included a strip sack by Jourdan Lewis taken back for a touchdown in the waning moments.
With 15 TD passes, and around 70% completions, Dak Prescott is making a case for himself to get big bucks. That’s what he wants, after all. But will the going be so smooth against this Minnesota defense? We think not.
Granted, the Vikings are not as strong in this area as they’ve been in recent seasons. But they’re still plenty good. You have no other choice but to say that when they’ve pulled off 28 quarterback sacks and held opponents to just 6.2 yards per pass.
And let’s take a look at the numbers on this game…..
In the odds by which we will make our Sunday Night Football pick, the Cowboys are laying points at home:
Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 10 Betting Odds
|Vikings||+3 (-105)||48½ (-115)||+148|
|Cowboys||-3 (-115)||48½ (-105)||-170|
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Minnesota – can they do business through the air?
The Dallas pass rush, as mentioned, did well on Monday, but prior to that, they only had 17 sacks. And the way this Minnesota offense is designed, Kirk Cousins gets rid of the ball quickly. In that way, ideally anyway, he can mitigate the effect of a pass rush. Indeed, he’s been sacked only 16 times.
What they’re having him do is move around a little more. So he’s taking some trip out of the pocket. And if he can buy more time, he can take advantage of the matchups his receivers present. With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, he’s usually got one of the best 1-2 combos in the league. And it makes it difficult for a secondary to concentrate on one or the other.
However, Thielen is sitting out this game with a hamstring injury. That puts more of a burden upon Olabisi Johnson (16 catches, 165 yards).
There’s a hell of a “Cook” in the kitchen
Don’t look now, but Dalvin Cook is the leading rusher in the NFL. In fact, he is 106 yards away from becoming the season’s first guy over 1000 yards. That is music to Mike Zimmer’s ears. The Minnesota ground game was awful in 2018, because Cook was injured. And when they went into camp this year, the plan was to establish the running attack and establish it HARD. They did it so much, in fact, that they over-emphasized it. And they made their receivers unhappy in the process.
They have struck a happier medium since. But the Vikings remain one of only three teams in the league that have run the ball more than half the time. In case you’re wondering, San Francisco and Baltimore are the other two.
On the surface, this probably looks like a game where you’d want to take the points. But Adam Thielen is such a good possession receiver. To not have him available is a big blow to the Vikings. Last week the Chiefs took Stefon Diggs out of the game, holding him to one catch for four yards. And KC wound up winning with a second-string quarterback who actually hadn’t played a lot of football lately.
Dallas has the offensive line to neutralize Minny’s pass rush. They are, in fact, second best in the NFL in “sacked” percentage. The Cowboys have done enough to exceed expectations at home (6-1-1 ATS over last eight). So they will rate the slight nod from us here.
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