Washington Redskins (6-3-1 SU, 7-3 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (9-1 SU, 9-1 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016 at 4:30PM EST
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: WAS +6.5/DAL -6.5
Over/Under Total: 49
The Washington Redskins come to AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in NFC East action. The first-place Cowboys are on some kind of roll, riding he crest of nine straight wins since a week one loss. That stretch includes 9 straight covers, as they've been a constant winner at the betting windows. On Sunday, they were able to overcome a strong Ravens effort to win going away, 27-17. Washington, meanwhile, scored a big 42-24 Sunday Night Football win over the Green Bay Packers to push their record to 6-3-1. They have lost only one of their last 8 games and are looking really good. They look to give the Cowboys a real run for their money on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys saw another solid performance from rookie Dak Prescott on Sunday, who has seen his aerial prowess kick up another notch with a healthier Dez Bryant getting more into the mix. Prescott led the way on 27-for-36 passing with 301 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 17 TD passes with just two picks. Twice he connected with Bryant on scores, also hitting Cole Beasley for another score. But most of their offensive damage is done on the ground and another 96 yards by Ezekiel Elliott was key. Brice Butler made some nice catches. Jason Witten is still a key contributor. They have seen two rookies take over in Prescott and Elliott and the Dallas offense is doing enough to win with none straight victories.
The overall energy is a major asset for the Dallas offense and the entire team. We see them with a cushion in the NFC East and they are not slowing down or having off-weeks. Prescott is a rookie with a veteran in Tony Romo waiting in the wings, which will keep his sense of urgency high. And after a rough season last year, the veterans are not taking anything for granted. Week in and week out, we're seeing a top effort on both sides of the ball.
The Dallas defense, formerly a roadblock to victory, has been a key part of the Dallas recipe for success this season. Other than a 35-30 victory over the Steelers, the defense has given up between 10 and 23 points in every game this season, which is good enough for the offense to do its thing. The front seven has been excellent, applying pressure while also stuffing the run. They are third in run defense and 6th in points allowed with just 18.7 a game. And that's with a whole bunch of pieces injured or suspended. Heading into the season, the optimism was muted. They were depending on two rookies to carry the offense, while the "D" looked decimated. Not many would have forecasted 9 straight wins and a stranglehold on a tough NFC East.
A win over Dallas would be a great thing for the Redskins and actually get them within reach of first place. With one loss in their last 8 games, things are really clicking on both sides of the ball for Washington, Not many would have forecasted this after the 0-2 start. One of those losses was to this very Cowboys team, with Dallas scoring a week two 27-23 win that kicked off a win streak that still hasn't ended. The team that started the streak looks to finish it this week.
Against a depleted Green Bay defense, Washington almost got the picture-perfect offensive performance. Kirk Cousins threw for 375 yards with three TD passes. Robert Kelley, the rising Tulane rookie, ran for 137 yards and three TD scores. Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder were both over 100 yards receiving with touchdown catches. DeSean Jackson added a TD grab, with TE Jordan Reed adding 79 yards. Most of the big pieces for the Redskins offense had big games. We see a clear offensive identity on this team and it's being applied on a more consistent basis.
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The Redskins defense has been standing out during this latest run. In the past handful of games, opponents' point totals are going down. The pass-rush has stepped up, with Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy getting after it. They're a little low on securing turnovers with only 11 on the year and no defensive scores. But other than that, they've been pretty solid and stout after a rough start. And with the league's second-ranked offense that isn't having any trouble putting up points, they don't need to be great. If they can stay serviceable and add in the right amount of clutch play, this team could run with it over the last six games of the season.
This is a really short turnaround for both teams, but especially Washington, which played late into the night on Sunday Night Football and now faces a tough road test against a team they lost to already this season. But this just might be the toughest test for Dallas yet this season with this Redskins team not the same one they narrowly beat earlier in the season. I'm taking the points.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Washington Redskins plus 6.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and bettng the Redskins vs. Cowboys game from home on Thanksgiving at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!