Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals
Date and Time: Monday, September 25, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium
Week 3 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Cowboys -3.5, O/U 47.5
Cowboys vs. Cardinals TV Coverage: ESPN
The Cowboys simply had no answer for what the Broncos brought to the field with them on Sunday. After only managing 19 points in a win and cover Week 1 against what seemed to be a disinterested group of Giants, Dallas only managed 17 against a stout Denver defense that wasted no time in proclaiming its dominance. Denver put forth the blueprint to stop Big D. Stop the run game, and you stop Dallas.
I’m not exactly sure where Ezekiel Elliott’s head was at last Sunday, but it certainly wasn’t in the Mile High City. He looked absolutely nothing like his normal self in tallying just eight rushing yards on nine attempts. The Cowboys lack of a ground game put the game in the hands of Dak Prescott. While the second year QB1 went on to throw for 238 yards and a couple scores, much of the yardage was accrued in garbage time. He also tossed a pair of interceptions. One of which was returned 103 yards the other way for a touchdown.
After suffering a crazy meltdown in the fourth quarter of the 35-23 Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions, the Cardinals found themselves installed heavy touchdown favorites to snag their first win in Indianapolis on Sunday. After the Colts got destroyed in Los Angeles the previous week, it looked to be easy, right? Wrong! Better than 75 percent of the tickets taken on Arizona watched on in horror as they struggled to secure the 16-13 win in overtime. They never once got ahead of the spread and proved to be a saving grace to sportsbook’s bottom line.
The first game of the post David Johnson era was ugly. Chris Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, and Andre Ellington combined for just 77 yards on 22 combined carries. Good for a 3.5 yard per carry average. Thankfully, Carson Palmer was able to bounce back from his horrific Week 1 showing by throwing for 332 yards and a 1:1 TD/INT ratio. His favorite target ended up being J.J. Nelson who hauled in five receptions for 120 yards and the team’s lone touchdown. The defense held the Colts to less than 300 combined yards, and came up with a crucial turnover in overtime that set up the game winning field goal.
Matchup to Watch
The Cowboys just allowed Trevor Siemian to complete 22 of 32 passes and roast their secondary to the tune of 231 passing yards and four touchdowns. The defense went into the game already without the services of Orlando Scandrick, and then saw both Chidobe Awuzie and Nolan Carroll go down with hamstring and concussion injuries respectively. Their availability for this game is still up in the air and likely won’t be determined until closer to kickoff. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined for 12 receptions on 14 targets, and turned them into 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Should Dallas still be banged up in the back seven, Larry Fitzgerald, Jaron Brown and Nelson all figure to have big receiving nights.
Cowboys vs. Cardinals Picks
This figures to be a war right from the opening kick. Neither Dallas nor Arizona can be too happy or proud about the way each has kicked off its respective campaigns. Early betting action almost has 50/50 action on both the side and total at the top NFL sportsbooks. Arizona has had the Cowboys number recently winning and covering each of the last four meetings dating back to 2008 with the most recent win coming in the form of a 28-17 outright win and cover in Big D back in 2014. These teams are much different now than they were then, and I can’t help but think the good version of the Cowboys takes the field in their second prime time appearance of 2017-18. Arizona struggled way too much for my taste against a bad Colts team last week, and continues to have trouble in the red zone. Dallas is the better team, and I expect it to showcase that by getting back to dominating on the ground and getting pressure on Palmer which will lead to turnovers.
Cowboys vs. Cardinals Week 3 ATS Pick: Cowboys -3 at BookMaker.eu
Cowboys vs. Cardinals Score Prediction: Cowboys 24 – Cardinals 16