Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Date and Time: Sunday, August 26, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: ATT Stadium, Arlington, TX
Opening NFL Odds: Cowboys -3, 43.5
Cardinals vs. Cowboys TV Coverage: NBC
Wilks cut his teeth calling the defensive shots for Ron Rivera in Carolina the last six seasons. As defensive coordinator last season, the Panthers ranked No. 11 in scoring defense and No. 7 overall. While the Cardinals have given up a bunch of yardage both on the ground ( No. 31 ) and through the air ( No. 16 ), it’s still only given up an average of 16.0 points per game which checks in at No. 7.
Unfortunately, the defense has been forced to be that good to win games due to the offense’s inability to get anything going whether it be through the air or on the ground. Granted, both Sam Bradford and David Johnson have seen limited work, but that’s still no excuse to rank so poorly across the board. Dallas’ defense has had issues defending the pass and giving up points. If the offense once again sputters in this spot, there could be big problems in the desert moving forward.
Isn’t it strange how quiet it’s been in Dallas this season? A year ago, you couldn’t pop on ESPN or listen to sports talk radio without hearing about the Ezekiel Elliot saga. This season, Zeke is yet to hit the gridiron and has been mum on all fronts. With that, it’s been incredibly tough to get a gauge on just how good or how bad the Cowboys will be this season.
They own the second shortest odds to win the NFC East behind the Super Bowl champion Eagles, and are also getting some play on the NFC futures odds ( +1490 ). Even so, there’s been nothing much to report on to this point of the preseason. Save for center Travis Frederick getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. The team dropped its first two matchups in competitive fashion to the 49ers and Bengals to move Jason Garrett to 14-17 SU and 11-20 ATS in the preseason.
Matchup to Watch
If ever there was an opportunity for the Cardinals to get their passing game in gear, this is it. Dallas has incurred a tremendous amount of injuries in its secondary, and they were thin at those positions to begin with. Dominick Sanders and Jeron Johnson were recently signed this past week to play safety. The Cowboys are likely to be extremely beatable once those two are called upon for defensive reps.
Undrafted rookie Tyree Robinson has opened some eyes in camp making some believe he has a shot to make the 53-man roster, and so far, he’s been making the most of his opportunity. All the pressure will be on him to standout once again, and if the Cardinals are smart, they’ll attack him early and often to help the Cowboys decide if he has the goods or not to play the position/s at an NFL level.
Cardinals vs. Cowboys Free Picks
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott won’t be suiting up for this one. It’s a shame because Zeke likely would have chewed up and spit out what’s been a brutal Cardinals run defense. With the injuries along the Cowboys offensive line, it’s probably the right move to error on the side of caution. The same concerns loom for Arizona as well, only on the defensive side of the ball. Two tackles were signed this past week due to a rash of injuries up front. On top of that, it’s likely Sam Bradford, David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald don’t see a single snap.
Because of this, the total has dropped like a rock down to 40.5 from the 43.5 opener. Over 82 percent of the tickets taken have hit the low side of the total exposing bookmakers in a big way. With both teams in the midst of some major position battles right now, especially on the offensive side of the ball, I’m going to fade that action and look for both Christian Kirk and Michael Gallup to lead me to the promised land.
NFL ATS Pick: Over 40.5 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Cowboys 24 – Cardinals 23