The Dallas Cowboys travel to face the Washington Redskins on Sunday, December 28th in Week 17 NFL action. The Redskins pulled off the 20-17 upset over the Cowboys on the road as 9-point underdogs in their first meeting back on October 27th.
Dallas (11-4) clinched the NFC East title with a 42-7 beat down of the Indianapolis Colts at home last week. Washington (4-11) put an end to a six-game losing streak with a 27-24 home win over the Eagles on Saturday, eliminating Philadelphia from postseason contention.
Kickoff inside FedEx Field is scheduled for 1:00 EST Sunday afternoon with FOX providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the odds in Las Vegas, I find Dallas installed as a 6-point favorite at Washington with a total set of 49 points.
My Early Lean: Redskins +6
I was on the Redskins last week in their 27-24 upset win over the Eagles. I’ll be on them again this week as they continue to show tremendous value as 6-point home underdogs to the Cowboys in this one. The Cowboys are being overvalued here for a number of reasons, but mainly because they still could earn a first-round bye and possibly home-field advantage in the playoffs if everything breaks their way.
I also look for the Cowboys to have a letdown this week even with a first-round bye at stake. That’s because they are simply happy to be in the postseason after going 8-8 each of the last three seasons and missing the playoffs. They had a chance in Week 17 to get in each of the last three years, but lost in the finale in all three. They obviously would rather have a first-round bye, but the Redskins aren’t just going to lay down for them.
Washington has been an excellent team to back against division opponents despite its struggles as a team in recent years. It always shows up to play the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants, and this year has been no exception. In fact, the Redskins are 2-1 against the Eagles and Cowboys this year, with their only loss coming by a final of 34-37 as 4-point road underdogs at Philadelphia back in Week 3.
The Redskins beat the Cowboys 20-17 (OT) on the road back on October 27th. They racked up 409 total yards on the Cowboys even with Colt McCoy as the starting quarterback in the win. They were 9-point underdogs in that game. Well, if you adjust for home-field advantage, they should only be 3-point underdogs in the rematch. Instead, they are 6-point dogs, which is giving up three full points of value while crossing the key numbers of 3, 4 and 6 along the way.
Another reason the Cowboys are overvalued in this game is because they are coming off a blowout win over the Colts last week by a final of 42-7. Well, while that 35-point win looks good, it really wasn’t that impressive when you consider the state of mind the Colts were in. The Colts had just clinched their division the previous week, and they had no shot of earning a first-round bye even if they won out. So, they didn’t show up, and they rested T.Y. Hilton in the loss. I knew they weren’t going to show up, which is why I was on the Cowboys last week.
If you simply looked at the numbers alone and not the records, you’ll find that the Redskins aren’t really that much worse of a team than the Cowboys. In fact, Dallas ranks 8th in the league in yardage differential, outgaining teams by 26.5 yards per game. Washington ranks 16th in yardage differential, outgaining teams by 5.7 yards per game. The Redskins have the worst record of all the top 18 teams in yardage differential, and it’s not even close. Keep in mind that the Cowboys are aided in this category by outgaining the lifeless Colts by 148 total yards last week.
Washington has played Dallas extremely tough in recent years. Indeed, the Redskins are 3-2 straight up in their last five meetings with the Cowboys, and a dominant 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings. Dallas has only beaten Washington by more than 3 points once in the last nine meetings. The underdog has brought home the bacon at an alarming rate in this matchup throughout the years. The dog is 25-8 ATS in the last 33 meetings.
Washington has played Dallas extremely tough in recent years. Indeed, the Redskins are 3-2 straight up in their last five meetings with the Cowboys, and a dominant 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings. Dallas has only beaten Washington by more than 3 points once in the last nine meetings.
Plays against road favorites (DALLAS) – an average defensive team (18 to 23 PPG) against a poor defensive team (23-27 PPG), after allowing 9 points or less last game are 28-7 (80%) ATS since 1993. Dallas is 7-22 ATS in its last 29 road games after covering the spread in three of its last four games coming in. The Cowboys are 4-13 ATS in their last 17 road games off a home blowout win by 21 points or more. The Cowboys are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games off a blowout win by 28 or more points. Dallas is 8-18 ATS in its last 26 vs. a team with a losing record.