NFL Monday Night Football Picks: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
Monday, September 25, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Opening Line: Dallas -3 1/2
Current Line: Dallas -3 (Even)
Opening Total: 47 1/2
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cowboys -190 / Cardinals +165
Current Money Line: Cowboys -150 / Cardinals +130

The Cowboys travel to the Cardinals Monday night in a battle of 1-1 teams.

The Dallas Cowboys are 1-1 this season and coming off the worst loss in the Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliott era that began last season. They look to rebound as they travel to the 1-1 Arizona Cardinals Monday night in Glendale.

Dallas leads the series 55-32-1 against Arizona. The Cardinals have won four straight games in the series including 28-17 in Dallas in 2014 in the last meeting. These teams were long time rivals in the NFC East until 2002. The Cowboys beat the Cardinals 20-18 in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio early in August. However, very few starters played for either team.

Dallas is coached by Jason Garrett. The Cowboys have a home win over the New York Giants 19-3 and last week lost at the Denver Broncos 42-17. Denver dominated Dallas in every facet of the game. The Cowboys have not beaten the Broncos since 1995. Dallas was a 2.5 point favorite at Denver and the total was 44. The Cowboys are 1-1 ATS and the total is 1-1 as well.

Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The Cardinals lost at the Detroit Lions 35-23 in week one and last week Arizona won at the Indianapolis Colts 16-13 in overtime. The Cardinals were 7 point road favorites at the Colts and the total was 44. Indianapolis led 13-3 early in the fourth, but Arizona tied it up and sent it into overtime. The Cardinals would kick the game winning field goal in overtime after an interception in Colts territory set them up. Arizona is 0-2 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.

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Dallas is being outscored  23-18 this season. The Cowboys average 330 yards per game on offense including 246 passing and 85 rushing yards. On defense, Dallas allows 307 total yards including 200 passing and 107 rushing yards. Dallas  is #8 in both total and pass defense. The Cowboys are  13/34 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are  14/28. Dallas has forced 3 sacks and allowed 5 this season. Dallas is  +1 in turnovers.

Quarterback Dak Prescott has completed 60.8% of his passes for 506 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also has 6 carries for 48 rushing yards. He is probable with an ankle injury.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott has 33 carries for 112 yards, plus 9 catches for  yards and a touchdown. He is facing a six game suspension from the NFL. However, a Texas judge granted a temporary injunction and Elliott will continue to play for at least the next two games until the matter is decided in court in Early October.  Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden will also get some carries. Keith Smith is the fullback.

Receiver Dez Bryant has 9 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.  Tight end Jason Witten has 17 catches for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Terrance Williams has 10 catches for 85 yards. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Cole Beasley has 7 catches for 65 yards.  Eight defensive players, including four cornerbacks are injured or suspended.

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Arizona is being outscored 24-20 this season. The Cardinals average 349 yards per game including 285 passing and 64 rushing yards. Arizona is #4 in passing offense, but #31 in rushing. On defense, the Cardinals allow 317 total yards per game including 238 passing and 79 rushing yards. The Cardinals are in the top ten in total and rush defense. Arizona is 13/32 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 16/35. Arizona has forced 5 sacks and allowed 5 this season. The Cardinals are -3 in turnovers.

Quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 54.8% of his passes for 600 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, plus 4 carries for 8 yards. he has been sacked five times.

Running back David Johnson had 11 carries for 23 yards along with 6 catches for 67 yards. He is out until at least week 10 with  a broken wrist suffered in week one. Chris Johnson has 11 carries for 44 yards. Kerwynn Williams has 14 carries for 32 yards and a touchdown. Andre Ellington has only 2 carries for 11 yards, and has 5 catches for 47 yards.

Receiver J.J. Nelson has 10 catches for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a hamstring injury. Larry Fitzgerald has 9 catches for 95 yards. Jaron Brown has 4 catches for 73 yards. John Brown has 4 catches for 32 yards. He is out with a quad injury. He is probable with a knee injury. Tight end Jermaine Gresham is probable with a rib injury. Three defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

Dallas is 4-1 ATS after rushing for 90 yards or less, 14-4 on grass, 7-3 in week three, 2-5 after a loss by 14 points or more, 3-9 in Monday games, 2-6 against NFC teams, 2-7 overall, 1-4 after failing to cover, 1-5-1 after a straight up loss, 1-5 after allowing 350 yards or more, 0-3-1 after allowing more than 150 rushing yards, and 0-4 in road games.

Arizona is 3-7 ATS against NFC teams, 2-5 on grass, 4-11 at home, 3-9 overall, 2-7 after failing to cover and after a straight up win, 1-4 in September, 1-5 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 1-6 in Monday games, 1-8 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 1-9 after rushing for less than 90 yards, and 0-6 after allowing 15 points or less. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in this series recently. The home team is 8-2 ATS recently. The Cardinals have covered the last four games against the Cowboys and are 4-1 ATS at home in the series.

The Dallas secondary is ravaged by injuries, but Arizona might not have enough healthy weapons at the skill positions to take advantage of it. The Arizona defense should be able to contain the Dallas rushing offense, maybe not to the extent that Denver did last week holding Elliott to 8 rushing yards. I think the Cowboys win a close game on the road in a high scoring affair.

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