Baltimore Ravens (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-1 SU, 8-1 ATS)
Week 11 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: BAL +7/DAL -7
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Baltimore Ravens come into AT&T Stadium on Sunday to face the Dallas Cowboys. The Ravens are coming off the short week, following a 28-7 win over the Browns on Sunday. It was the second straight win for the streaky Ravens, who opened the season with three straight wins, before losing four in a row. The two game win streak has them at 5-4 and in first in a topsy-turvy AFC North. They would love to add a big win over the Cowboys, but it won't be easy, as the mentally-tough Cowboys have won eight in a row, including 8 straight covers. On Sunday, they beat the Steelers on the road, 35-30.
Dallas really had their hands full on Sunday, with Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger throwing for over 400 yards. They had a huge late-game performance from rookie and MVP candidate Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for two touchdowns in the game's final two minutes to lock up the win. The last one, a rumbling 32-yarder for a touchdown, was the go-ahead score. Elliott is now already over 1000 yards on the ground. Dak Prescott threw for 319 yards and a pair of TDs. Dez Bryant was over 100 yards and a TD, while Elliott also caught a TD pass on 95 yards receiving. With Jason Witten and Cole Beasley doing their thing with Bryant now back at full-power, along with the budding star in Elliott, this offense is really a handful.
Tony Romo is apparently ready to come back, but the Cowboys can't in good conscience pull Prescott at this point with the way he's led this team to an 8-1 start. It's good to know they have a proven commodity in the wings should Prescott run into some injury problems. Making all this come together is the best offensive line on football. Their late-game form is something to really behold. On Sunday, they just blew apart the Steelers front, with Elliott not even touched as he got into the end zone. They are the top rushing team in the league and third overall in total offense, with the O-line deserving a ton of credit for getting this offense to perform so well with two rookies leading the way in terms of production.
For as good as they run the ball, the Dallas offense is really adept at stuffing the run, as star Steelers back Le'Veon Bell found out on Sunday. The defense is not what you would call great, but they don't need to be. They're at least not a team liability. Guys like Sean Lee make plays and timely stops, while the front has come together nicely. And we might forget now, but this was a defense facing a lot of questions entering the season with a slew of injuries and suspensions. They've held up well, getting a big assist from an offense that lets them rest while controlling the clock.
Needless to say, Baltimore faces a big task ahead of them on Sunday. But this is a team one can ill afford to overlook. First of all, it's hard to tell what you're getting from week to week with this bunch, as they've played with a wide range of form this season. At the same time, with two wins over Cleveland and wins over Jacksonville, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh, the Ravens have yet to beat a team that was playing particularly well. They will need to do just that this week.
Offensively, not a lot of things about Baltimore are gonna jump out and impress you. Joe Flacco's 9 touchdowns and 9 picks fail to excite, nor does the Ravens' 3.5 rushing average. They're the league's 25th-ranked offense—20th in passing and 28th in rushing. But Flacco can still air it out from time to time, with a big assist from reborn receiver Mike Wallace, along with weapons like Steve Smith, Sr. and Dennis Pitta. Still, it's a part of the team that hasn't exactly taken off. Breshad Perriman has yet to fulfill his first-round potential, while Kamar Aiken and Crockett Gilmore have seen their production fall precipitously since last season.
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We've seen some big things from the Baltimore defense this season and that's what has them in first place in the division. They are ranked as the top defense in the league and are ranked first against the run and 5th against the pass. They're giving up just over 17 points a game. They have dealt with injuries and have continued to be in fine form. The line gets after it and stuffs the run. CJ Mosley and Terrell Suggs are a handful, while Lardarius Green, Eric Weddle, and Jimmy Smith have really been getting it done in the secondary. This is a group that is on-point and it will be interesting to see if Dallas can continue their offensive success against a defense that on paper, appears to match up well with them.
In spots like this, it's tempting to look to time a Dallas letdown. When teams win a certain number of consecutive games, the urgency can slip a bit. But playing that game with this Dallas bunch has been costly with them covering eight straight spreads and may continue to be so. They're at home and can't be expected to slip up now. But against a team with which they have no real connection and an opponent who is playing urgently and with passion, perhaps they will be something less than fired from a cannon this week. Not that I'm picking Baltimore to win, but I'm taking the points.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Baltimore Ravens plus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Baltimore vs. Dallas game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!