Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, November 13, 2016, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: Pittsburgh -3
Current Line: Pittsburgh -3
Opening Total: 49 1/2
Current Total: 49 1/2
Opening Money Line: Steelers -140 / Cowboys +120
Current Money Line: Steelers -155 / Cowboys +135
Two of the NFL’s most successful franchises renew their rivalry Sunday as the 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers host the 7-1 Dallas Cowboys. At least one of these teams has played in almost one third of all Super Bowls played, and they have played each other in three Super Bowls.
Dallas is tied for the best record in the league with the New England Patriots. The Cowboys lead the NFC East by two games and are at least a game and a half better than every other team in the NFC. Pittsburgh looks to keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens who beat the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night to improve to 5-4.
Dallas leads the series 16-15 against Pittsburgh but Pittsburgh is 2-1 in Super Bowls. The Cowboys won the last meeting 27-24 in overtime in Dallas in 2012. The win snapped a two game Pittsburgh winning streak in the series.
Dallas is coached by Jason Garrett. The Cowboys lost their season opener 20-19 against the New York Giants. The Cowboys have won seven straight games since with road wins at the Washington Redskins 27-23, San Francisco 49ers 24-17, Green Bay Packers 30-16 and Cleveland Browns 35-10 last week plus home wins over the Chicago Bears 31-17, Cincinnati Bengals 28-14 and Philadelphia Eagles 29-23 in overtime. The Cowboys were 7 point favorites against the Browns and the total was 49. Dallas is 7-1 ATS and the total is 3-5 this season.
Pittsburgh is coached by Mike Tomlin. The Steelers have a road win at the Washington Redskins 38-16, plus home wins over the Cincinnati Bengals 24-16, Kansas City Chiefs 43-14, and New York Jets 31-13. Pittsburgh has road losses at the Philadelphia Eagles 34-3, Miami Dolphins 30-15, and Baltimore Ravens 21-14 last week, plus a home loss to the Patriots 27-16. The Steelers have lost three straight games. Against Baltimore, Pittsburgh was a 3.5 point underdog and the total was 46. Pittsburgh is 4-4 ATS and the total is 2-6 this season.
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Dallas is outscoring teams 28-18 this season. The Cowboys are #4 in scoring and #5 in points allowed. Dallas averages 412 yards per game on offense including 246 passing and 165 rushing yards. The Cowboys are #3 in total offense and lead the league in rushing. On defense, Dallas is allowing 333 total yards including 246 passing and 87 rushing yards. The Cowboys are in the top ten in total and rush defense. Dallas is 53/106 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 42/101. Dallas has forced 11 sacks and allowed 18 this season. Dallas is +4 in turnovers.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been impressive in relief of an injured Tony Romo. He has completed 66.5% of his passes for 2,020 yards with 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also has 31 carries for 125 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. Romo is questionable to return this week after suffering a broken bone in his back in the pre-season. He would not start even if activated.
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has 177 carries for 891 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 16 catches for 155 yards. He leads the league in rushing. Alfred Morris has 53 carries for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lance Dunbar will also get some carries. He has 5 catches for 56 yards and also has a rushing touchdown. Lucky Whitehead will also get some carries. Darren McFadden is questionable with an elbow injury and has not played yet this season.
Receiver Cole Beasley has become Prescott’s favorite target. He has 43 catches for 499 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Jason Witten has 38 catches for 424 yards and 2 touchdowns. Terrance Williams has 24 catches for 355 yards and a touchdown. Dez Bryant has 16 catches for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. Brice Butler has 11 catches for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eight defensive players are injured or suspended as are three offensive linemen.
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Pittsburgh is being outscored 23-21 this season. The Steelers average 360 yards per game on offense including 264 passing and 96 rushing yards. The Steelers are #8 in passing but #25 in rushing. Pittsburgh allows 376 total yards per game including 276 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. The Steelers are #24 in both total and pass defense. Pittsburgh is 47/117 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 42/114. The Steelers have forced 11 sacks and allowed 13 this season. Pittsburgh is -1 in turnovers.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed 62% of his passes for 1,949 yards with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also has 7 carries for 21 yards with a touchdown. He suffered a torn meniscus in his knee that required surgery. Still he returned last week after missing just one game. He is probable. Landry Jones threw for 281 yards with a touchdown and interception in relief of Roethlisberger.
Running back LeVeon Bell has 83 carries for 376 yards along with 36 catches for 283 yards. He was suspended for the first three games of the season. DeAngelo Williams has 75 carries for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns and has 15 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. He is out until early December with a knee injury. Look for Fitzgerald Toussaint to get a few carries with Williams out.
Receiver Antonio Brown has 55 catches for 677 yards and 6 touchdowns. Sammie Coates has 20 catches for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a finger injury. Eli Rogers has 19 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jesse James has 24 catches for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is out indefinitely with a foot injury. He has two touchdown catches. Tight end Ladarius Green is probable with an ankle injury. Six offensive linemen are listed on the injury report along with three defensive players.
Dallas is 7-0 ATS overall, 6-0 after a straight up win and a cover, 5-0-1 after rushing for 150 yards or more, 4-0 in road games, 4-1 after scoring more than 30 points, 18-6 on grass, 7-3 in week 10, 6-14 in November, 3-7 after a win by 14 points or more, 1-3-1 after gaining 350 yards or more, and 2-6 after allowing less than 250 total yards.
Pittsburgh is 5-2 ATS at home, 14-6-2 against teams with winning records, 11-5 after a straight up loss, 1-3-1 after scoring less than 15 points, and 1-7 in November.
Dallas has been the biggest surprise in the league. They have won seven straight games and the defense is playing at a much higher level than anyone thought possible. The Steelers are desperate for a win to snap a three game losing streak and Heinz Field is always a tough place to play. Roethlisberger looked extremely rusty in the first half against Baltimore last week but looked a lot better in the second half. Young Dak Prescott was not intimidated going into Lambeau Field and I think the Cowboys control the clock with their running game. I like Dallas to make it 8 straight wins.