NFL Betting Preview: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin
Sunday, December 13, 2015, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Green Bay -7
Current Line: Green Bay -6 1/2
Opening Total: 43 1/2
Current Total: 43
Opening Money Line: Packers -290 / Cowboys +230
Current Money Line: Packers -290 / Cowboys +230

The Packers host the Cowboys in a key NFC contest.
The Packers host the Cowboys in a key NFC contest.

The 8-4 Green Bay Packers host the 4-8 Dallas Cowboys Sunday. The game has playoff ramifications for both teams. Green Bay leads the NFC North by a half game over the Minnesota Vikings who lost Thursday night at the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers also hold the tiebreaker over the Vikings because of a head to head victory. Dallas is only a game out of first place in the terrible NFC East where the other three teams are all 5-7. The Cowboys still have an outside shot of making the playoffs despite a seven game losing streak and losing quarterback Tony Romo to a broken collarbone twice.

The series is tied 16-16 between the Packers and Cowboys. Green Bay has won 4 straight games against Dallas, including a 26-21 win last year at Lambeau in the NFC Divisional playoffs. That game was decided in the last two minutes when Tony Romo appeared to throw a deep pass to Dez Bryant inside the Packer five yard line on fourth and two, but replay officials overturned the call saying it was incomplete. Dallas hasn’t beaten Green Bay since 2008.

Dallas is coached by Jason Garrett. The Cowboys have a home win over the New York Giants 27-26 and road wins at the Philadelphia Eagles 20-10, Miami Dolphins 24-14 and Washington Redskins 19-16 last Monday. Dallas has  home losses to the Atlanta Falcons 39-28, New England Patriots 30-6, Seattle Seahawks 13-12, Eagles 33-27 in overtime and Carolina Panthers 33-14, plus road losses at the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in overtime, Giants 27-20 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6.

Dallas was a two point underdog against Washington and the total was 43. The game was pretty boring until just over a minute to go. Each team managed only 3 field goals. The Cowboys punted to DeSean Jackson and he tried to make something happen by running backwards and to the other side of the field. He fumbled at the Redskins’ 15 yard line and the Cowboys recovered. They would score a touchdown two plays later to make it 16-9. Jackson got a little redemption when he caught a 28 yard touchdown pass to tie it up with 44 seconds left. However, Dallas drove down the field and kicked the game winning 54 yard field goal with 9 seconds left. Washington tried a few laterals on the kickoff but nothing really happened. The Cowboys overcame three turnovers in the win. It was the first time Dallas won a game that Tony Romo did not start at quarterback since 2010. Dallas is 4-8 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season.

Green Bay is coached by Mike McCarthy. The Packers have home wins over the Seattle Seahawks 27-17, Kansas City Chiefs 38-28, St. Louis Rams 24-10 and San Diego Chargers 27-20, along with road wins at the Chicago Bears 31-23, San Francisco 49ers 17-3, Minnesota Vikings 30-13 and Detroit Lions last Thursday 27-23. Green Bay has road losses at the Denver Broncos 29-10 and Carolina Panthers 37-29, along with  home losses to the Lions 18-16 and Bears 17-13.

Green Bay was a 2.5 point favorite against Detroit and the total was 46. Detroit led 20-0 midway through the third quarter and would lead 23-14 midway through the fourth. Green Bay pulled to within 23-14 with 3:04 left. The Packers kicked off deep but Detroit was unable to run out the clock. Detroit punted and Green Bay got the ball back with 23 seconds left and no timeouts. After two incomplete passes, Green Bay only had six seconds left. The Packers threw it short and tried several laterals before quarterback Aaron Rodgers was tackled appearing to end the game. However, officials threw a flag for a dubious facemask penalty against the Lions on the Rodgers tackle. The Packers were given an untimed down form their own 39. Rodgers scrambled and threw the ball into the end zone where tight end Richard Rodgers leaped up and made the catch for the game winning Hail Mary. Before that play, Green Bay had only 252 total yards. The Packers are 7-5 ATS and the total is 4-8 this season.

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Dallas is being outscored 23-19 this season. The Cowboys are #29 in scoring. Dallas averages 330 total yards per game on offense including 217 passing and 114 rushing. The Cowboys are #27 in total offense and #28 in passing.  On defense, the Cowboys are allowing 326 yards per game including 222 passing and 104 rushing yards. Dallas is #5 in both total and pass defense.  Dallas is 60/157 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 60/158. Dallas has forced 23 sacks and has allowed 25 this season. The Cowboys are -14 in turnovers. Dallas has 2 defensive touchdowns and has allowed 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Romo has thrown for 884 yards with 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and has 13 rushing yards.  Matt Cassel has 1,125 yards with 5 touchdown and 5 interceptions, plus 12 carries for 72 rushing yards. Cassel will start for the rest of the year. Brandon Weeden threw for 738 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions plus 30 rushing yards. Weeden was released and signed with the Houston Texans. Romo has yet to be put on injured reserve but Kellen Moore is the only other quarterback on the roster after being promoted from the practice squad.

Running back Darren McFadden has 183 carries for 687 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 32 catches for 263 yards. Joseph Randle had 76 carries for 315 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 86 yards. He was released a few weeks ago due to some off the field issues.  Lance Dunbar had 67 rushing yards, but did have 21 catches for 215 yards before tearing his ACL.

Tight end Jason Witten has 60 catches for 554 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Terrance Williams has 35 catches for 554 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cole Beasley has 39 catches for 392 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Dez Bryant missed several weeks after suffering a broken foot in week one. He has 26 catches for 342 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a foot injury. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Green Bay is outscoring teams 24-20 this season. The Packers are #12 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. Green Bay is averaging 341 yards per game on offense including 230 passing and 112 rushing yards. The Packers are #22 in total offense and #23 in passing. On defense, the Packers are allowing 357 yards per game including 245 passing and 112 rushing yards. Green Bay is #19 or worse in all three categories. The Packers are 58/160 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 74/185. Green Bay has forced 33 sacks and has allowed 26 this season. The Packers are +6 in turnovers with 2 defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 61% of his passes for 2,957 yards along with 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 48 carries for 287 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Eddie Lacy has 127 carries for 517 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 16 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. James Starks has 117 carries for 444 yards and a touchdown along with 35 catches for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Receiver Randall Cobb has 57 catches for 656 yards and 6 touchdowns. James Jones has 31 catches for 611 yards and 7 touchdowns. Davante Adams has 36 catches for 343 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Richard Rodgers  has 48 catches for 439 yards and 6 touchdowns. Ty Montgomery has 15 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered during the pre-season. Six defensive players and five offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

Dallas is 6-0 ATS in December, 9-1 on grass, 4-1 against teams with winning home records, 11-4 in road games, 3-7 overall, 2-6 against NFC teams, 3-10-2 in week 14, 1-4 against teams with winning records, 1-5 on a Sunday after a Monday night game, and 0-5 after a cover.

Green Bay is 5-2 ATS after a cover, 7-3 against NFC teams, 18-8 in December, 23-11-1 after rushing for 90 yards or less, 5-11 against teams with losing records, 2-5 overall, 2-7 against teams with losing road records, and 0-5 on grass. The home team is 9-3 ATS in this series recently.

I don’t trust either of these teams. You don’t know who will show up from game to game for either team. I think this will be  a relatively low scoring game, and I think the packers pull out a close victory.

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