Submitted by Wayne Root on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 5:00 PM
I’m very interested in seeing what happens Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Atlanta Falcons in a huge NFC Showdown. And, that’s not just because it’s a battle of playoff teams from last season, and a potential playoff preview for this coming January. I want to look at how the Cowboys handle the absence of Ezekiel Elliott.
As you surely know, Elliott’s six-game suspension will begin this week. If there was going to be a suspension, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Dallas is currently 5-3, which means they’ve only played eight games. Elliott will be back in time for the last two games (vs. Seattle and at Philadelphia) and the playoffs, while NOT risking contact injury between now and then. If Dallas can scoot into the postseason as a Wildcard behind red-hot Philadelphia, they’ll have a fresh, ANGRY, running back going up against worn down opponents.
If the suspension began last week, who knows? Maybe Dallas loses to Kansas City to fall to 4-4…making it tougher to win a Wildcard in the tough NFC. If the legal process had dragged out another couple of weeks before the suspension was confirmed…Elliott would have missed the final six games. Horrible timing in that case.
Though, honestly, I’m not thinking so much about the pathway on paper to the playoffs. I’m focused on how the Cowboys mentally respond to adversity. Will the whole team have a chip on their shoulder from this point forward? That’s been missing through much of 2017. They lost home games they should have won against the LA Rams and Green Bay (playoff caliber teams at the time of the losses). The loss at Denver was ridiculous when it happened, and looks even worse now.
*The Cowboys really started playing with fire after their bye week
*The Cowboys were more dominant than the score vs. Kansas City
*The Cowboys are facing an Atlanta team this week with a struggling offense
I just might be on the Pokes plus the points against the fading Falcons. And, I’ll certainly be looking at them at value pricing vs. the Eagles, Raiders, Seahawks, and then in Philadelphia in the season finale if they need to win to reach the postseason (two games left with the Eagles. You regulars know I don’t lay points often in the NFL…so home games against the Chargers and Redskins won’t likely get into THE ROOT TRUST.
One of the big controversies of the season could become one of the big stories of the season. Against the odds, a very challenging schedule, and the possible “sophomore slump” of quarterback Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys still have time to build on last year’s dramatic improvement to become one of the teams that matters most in the NFC.
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT loves riding storylines like that to big money. But, not everything’s a fairy tale! If the Cowboys show no spirit or fight in Atlanta. I won’t hesitate to fade them as home favorites over teams like the Chargers or Redskins. What I see in the eyes of the Cowboys this weekend could launch several picks between now and the end of the regular season either on or against them.
On a football weekend, where everyone’s talking about games like Notre Dame/Miami, Georgia/Auburn, and TCU/Oklahoma, it just might be this Cowboys/Falcons clash on Sunday that matters more than anything in terms of making future picks. The college teams are only going to play a few more times. Dallas will have SEVEN regular season games after this week, and possibly some playoff action too.
I’m the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the “Walk of Fame” here in Las Vegas because I’m always thinking ahead. I’m not one of those “see the line, bet the line” guys. I’m anticipating where the lines are going to fall, how they’re going to move, and how to best take advantage on game day. All the while, I’m also mapping out possibilities for future bets. I don’t watch games on TV hoping I’ll win. THE KING OF LAS VEGAS knows he’s getting the best of it over time! I’m watching games to spot edges I can repeatedly exploit in the future. The other guys try to find you a winner. I’m finding bushels of them!
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