Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM
For several weeks, the Dallas Cowboys had the look of a champion. They were bullying teams at the point of attack offensively, breaking big plays on the ground and in the air against defenses who couldn’t figure out a workable strategy. The defense wasn’t great on a per-play basis, but had a knack for making plays at the right time to keep opponents out of the end zone. You couldn’t call them a frontrunner to win the Super Bowl. But, they were suddenly very much in the discussion.
Then Tony Romo got hurt. Mistake-prone Brandon Weeden is not going to win big games for you in the NFL. He’s made that very clear in Cleveland, and was a risky gamble when Dallas owner Jerry Jones acquired him to be Romo’s backup. Defenses can stuff the line to discourage the run knowing Weeden won’t beat them in the air. Dallas has a chance to really matter this year, but only if all the key pieces stay healthy.
Romo isn’t back to 100% yet, and a balky back is always just another hit away from being a big problem again. But, he and his teammates are coming off a fortunately timed bye week after a game in London with Jacksonville that served as a much needed rest break. Does it get any easier than having “Jacksonville, bye week” back to back in the schedule?! Only if the game had been in Arlington rather than London.
An abbreviated “second half” of the season starts Sunday Night in New York against the struggling Giants. The first of two games against NFC East co-favorite Philadelphia is up next on Thanksgiving afternoon. The Dallas Cowboys are about to be a very important part of the TV schedule and your betting opportunities. Let’s see how they and the Giants stack up in JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Dallas: 7-3 (#31 schedule in USA Today)
NY Giants: 3-7 (#4 schedule in USA Today)
Big red flag there for the Cowboys. They’ve had the second easiest schedule in the league so far this season. So, a lot of their dominance has been “helped” by not having a grueling gauntlet. Their huge stat win at Seattle was legitimate. But, you can’t really call this team battle-tested. We’ll have to see what happens in the two upcoming Eagles games to get a read on that. The Giants are better than their 3-7 record would suggest given their brutal schedule. It’s very odd to have schedules so divergent in the same division.
Dallas: 6.0 on offense, 5.9 on defense
NY Giants: 5.2 on offense, 6.2 on defense
As we’ve discussed often in recent days, there are several contending NFL teams who don’t have impressive differentials. In yards-per-play. We may have to invent a new stat! Some defenses are pulling off the “bend but don’t break” approach defensively while their offenses are finishing off drives with touchdowns. Dallas is in that group. There should be legitimate concerns about how that will work in the playoffs where it’s harder to bend without breaking because you’re facing top notch quarterbacks. Awful year for the Giants on both sides of the ball. The defensive collapse has been very surprising given the historic priorities of the organization and coaching staff.
NY Giants: -4
Wow…Dallas is 7-3 with hardly anything positive to show in our most important stats. Some of this can be traced to Weeden, who had a miserable game against Arizona. But, even if you throw that out, the Cowboys are a bit of an illusion. The Giants had been fairly neutral in this stat until last week’s 5 interception debacle against San Francisco.
Dallas: 6-4 ATS
NY Giants: 3-7 ATS
The Cowboys usually have the market shaded against them a smidge because there’s still some “America’s Team” holdover from past glory. So, that 60% success rate is impressive in that light. The Giants have been a big disappointment, particularly since losing Victor Cruz to injury. The market didn’t adjust quickly enough to the ramifications of his absence.
Current Line: Dallas by 3.5, total of 47.5
Not long ago, contenders were squashing non-contenders by double digit margins all over the schedule. Then Pittsburgh was lucky to rally past Tennessee, and Kansas City was unable to avoid an upset in Oakland as overconfident contenders facing supposed towel-tossers in nationally televised games. If Dallas has been rejuvenated by its rest break, then they should go back to finishing off drives with touchdowns thanks to a potent and balanced attack. If Dallas gets caught looking ahead to the Eagles this Thursday…well, Eli Manning and the Giants are a lot better than Derek Carr and the Raiders. New York could win this game.
JIM HURLEY will be working very closely with his New York sources to make sure clients get the right side in this game. If there’s no edge to be had…then it’s a pass and NETWORK will focus exclusively on daytime action. You can always purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure you take care of business in the morning before the early games kick off. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
More big TV previews are coming up through the week...
Monday: NFL Preview…Baltimore at New Orleans on ESPN
Tuesday thru Thursday: Previews of the historically strong Thanksgiving card in the NFL, with one day each devoted to Chicago/Detroit, Philadelphia/Dallas, and Seattle/San Francisco!
Friday: College TV Preview…Arizona State at Arizona
Saturday: College TV Preview…Auburn at Alabama
What a week! Start enjoying a FOOTBALL FEAST NOW with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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