NFL Week 7 Predictions: Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers
Sunday, 10/21/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Dallas -2
Current Betting Line:  Dallas -2.5
Opening Total:  44.5
Current Total:  45.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Carolina Panthers will look to snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday

Dallas head coach Jason Garrett has won and covered all three of his opportunities when playing off back-to-back losses, which comes into play in this NFC matchup, as the team fell short against the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens.  The Cowboys out-gained the Ravens by a significant 481-316 margin, but still ended up on the losing end of a 31-29 decision as 3.5-point road underdogs.  Dallas is 0-2 ATS as a road favorite of three points or less over the last two-plus years.

The Cowboys will certainly be challenged on the defensive end in this matchup, as coordinator Rob Ryan will need to be creative with his game plan.  On the other side of the ball, Dallas should have success moving the football, going against a stop unit that ranks 13th in the conference in allowing 377.0 yards per game.  Quarterback Tony Romo will need to take care of the football, as he sits second in the league with nine interceptions.  The franchise has fallen flat during the month of October recently, losing nine of its last 10 games.

Carolina is focused on ending a three-game slide that includes a 16-12 setback to the Seattle Seahawks as one-point home favorites two weeks ago.  The Panthers have lost the statistical battle in each of those contests, while the UNDER has cashed in two of those games in that span.  “We have a sense of urgency,” stated Panthers running back Mike Tolbert.  “We don’t have any more bye weeks.”  Committing to the ground game may prove to be the difference, considering the team is 7-1 when running the ball 28 times or more since Cam Newton was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.  Carolina is 1-4 ATS at home with a total between 45.5 and 49.

The Panthers know that the turnover battle will likely determine the winner in this affair, as they rank 26th in the league with a minus-five ratio, while the Cowboys are four spots below them in that category (minus-8).  Newton has been known to throw an interception or two in his young career, but Sunday’s opponent has produced just four takeaways, including a league-low one interception.

Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers due to their 4-0 ATS mark versus losing teams, while the Cowboys are 1-7 ATS in the same situation.

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