Dallas at Minnesota
Time: 7:20 PM EST
Spread: MIN -7.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The woeful 2-7 Dallas Cowboys trail by just one game in divisional races, but it finds itself Touchdown-Plus road underdogs as the Minnesota Vikings host this game at 7:20 PM (EST) on FOX TV networks. The over-under is set at 48.5 total points according to oddsmakers at 5dimes.
MINNESOTA NEWS & NOTES:
Minnesota is heating up. It defeated the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions the last two games, by a combined score of 62-42. It followed it up by beating the Chicago Bears last week, 19-13 That 8.6-point margin of victory shed some light on the fact that the Vikings are favored on the road this week, as 7.5-point favorites in Dallas this week.
Minnesota has been a top-rushing unit all season, and it currently ranks No. 5 in rushing yards per game at 160.4. Its pass offense lingers in the bottom-quarter, but Kirk Cousins still generates 228.8 yards per game via the air, and the Vikings are a tough unit to reckon with, ranking No. 15 in scoring at 26.2 points per game. Unfortunately for Minnesota, its defense has allowed more than that at 27.4 per game, but it has shown recent signs of being far better.
Cousins has been relatively decent all year, but not without his mistakes. He has thrown 17 touchdowns with 11 picks and suffered nearly two sacks a game for a total loss of 88 yards. But inside that is a 2,147 yard passing season with a 66.1 percentage on his passes: It amounts to a strong passer rating of 98.1. Cousins has been effective while rushing, too, but he has attempted just over one per week, with an average gain of 4.5 suggesting he should keep the ball in his hands more often.
Lead rusher Dalvin Cook has feasted on the Vikings’ strong offensive line efforts. To his credit are 5.5 yards-per-rush, as well as 12 touchdowns and 51 first downs. Alexander Mattison is strong, too, with 4.6 yards-per, as well as a touchdown to his credit. The Vikings average a very solid 5.2 yards-per-carry as a team, with 13 touchdowns on the season via the rush.
The top two wide receivers have done the heavy lifting. While Minnesota has over 1,800 yards this season, over half of its production hinges on the combo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. The pair combines for just over 1,300 yards and has 12 of the team’s 17 passing touchdowns, with seven coming from Thielen. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is a strong third receiver, and he has caught 18 of 24 targeted looks for 238 yards and a touchdown. Dalvin Cook adds extra punch out of the backfield with 189 yards and a touchdown on his 20 catches, which rank him No. 3 on the team.
DALLAS NEWS & NOTES:
The Dallas Cowboys are 2-7 after losing four straight, with its last win being over the NY Giants. The Cowboys won 37-34 to snap a two-game losing streak as the team was coming off losses to Seattle and Cleveland heading into its last outing. It looked good for Dallas, before it went on to lose four more straight.
The Cowboys are 2-3 at home this season where it hosts the Vikings this week. The Cowboys season is kept alive by the pitiful and woeful play of its division. Even at 2-7, the Cowboys are just one game out of the lead.
Dak Prescott has been decent this season. The good is his 68 percent completion ratio and his 8.4 yards-per-catch average. The bad is his four interceptions and 10 sacks for 66 lost yards. He has returned to the lineup, and overall, he has a fair passer rating of 97.3. Prescott has been better with his rushing attack. He leads the Cowboys in yards-per-carry at 5.2 per, and he has three touchdowns, which trails only lead back Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot is averaging 3.8 yards-per-carry on his 150 attempts with five rushing touchdowns and 39 rushing first downs. Elliot has also caught 36 of 49 targeted passes for 238 yards and a touchdown, ranking No. 5 on the team in yardage overall, despite managing just 6.6 yards-per-reception.
The Cowboys’ top-two receivers, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, both have nearly topped 600 yards on the season and have 63 first downs between them. No. 4 in yardage is tight end Dalton Schultz, who has 35 catches for 383 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys have 12 receiving touchdowns on the season, topping it with balance, as the team has nine TDs via the rush.
This will prove to be a very tough week for the Cowboys to get back on track, and its slipping further in a division it somehow can still prevail in. It needs to start winning these underdog games on the road though, to have a shot at that, even in an all sub-.500 division.