NFL fans get a Thanksgiving Day gift when the Buffalo Bills visit the Dallas Cowboys in a meeting of teams that once met in back-to-back Super Bowls. Game time is at 4:30 EST on Thursday, November 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will be broadcast nationwide on CBS.
Oddsmakers list the Cowboys as 7-point home favorites with an over/under of 45 points. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 13 NFL odds.
Dallas is starting to walk a tight rope atop the NFC East standings and the natives are getting restless. Even owner Jerry Jones, who has remained loyal to head coach Jason Garrett for many years, expressed some frustration and doubt after Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. The Cowboys survived a three-game losing streak earlier in the season, but they’ve now dropped two of their last three games and are in another slump.
The silver lining is that the Eagles have struggled too, keeping Dallas in first place at 6-5. However, earning a Wild Card spot doesn’t seem likely, meaning the Cowboys will miss the playoffs if they don’t stay on top in the NFC East. Dallas finishes the season with three of their final five games against teams with a winning record, including a road game against the Eagles. They can’t afford to keep sputtering, almost making this year’s Thanksgiving game a must-win for the Cowboys.
The Bills, on the other hand, are almost playing with house money at this point. They’ve already surpassed most preseason expectations by sitting at 8-3 heading down the stretch. After a couple of hiccups, the Bills have taken care of business with double-digit wins against the Dolphins and Broncos the past two weeks.
As it stands, Buffalo trails New England by two games in the AFC East but sit atop the Wild Card standings with a two-game cushion over every other Wild Card contender. The caveat is that Buffalo’s schedule in December includes games with the Ravens, Steelers, and Patriots, so nothing will come easy. But if they can stay hot and steal a win in Dallas, the Bills should feel confident about their chances of getting back to the playoffs.
As you’d expect for a 6-5 team, the Cowboys have been tough to figure out this year. Even in their home games, Dallas has looked great at times and completely laid an egg at other times. The Bills, in fairness, haven’t played many teams with a winning record this season, so it’s tough to trust them against a quality opponent too. However, with the line a little higher than I expected, I’ll take my chances with Buffalo being able to beat the spread.
One reason why I think Buffalo has a chance to win this game is the recent emergence of rookie running back Devin Singletary. He ran for 75 yards two weeks ago against Miami and then 106 yards against a Denver defense that’s been stout against the run recently. On the season, he’s averaging close to six yards per carry. Singletary has provided a spark, allowing the Bills to save Frank Gore for late in games when he can be more effective.
The Dallas defense is average at best when it comes to stopping the run, so I expect the Bills to continue to have success on the ground. When Buffalo runs the ball, it takes a ton of pressure off quarterback Josh Allen. He’s not ready to carry a team on his shoulders, but Allen is slowly coming around, throwing 10 touchdowns and just one interception in his last six games. Of course, the Bills don’t have elite receivers, but John Brown gives them a deep threat while Cole Beasley gives them a productive slot receiver.
As long as the Bills run the ball effectively, their capable of doing some damage. The Dallas defense has struggled to shut down the run in recent weeks, allowing mediocre quarterbacks to put together solid performances against them. Just two weeks ago, Detroit backup Jeff Driskel threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys. Kirk Cousins also had a good game against the Cowboys, who couldn’t slow down the Minnesota running game. That bodes well for Allen if the Bills can continue to be productive on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas offense is coming off an atrocious game over the weekend against New England. Amari Cooper was completely taken out of the game, making Dak Prescott look rather ordinary. I don’t expect the Bills to be able to replicate that, but the Buffalo secondary is solid and should put up some resistance against the Dallas pass attack. Prescott has thrown 10 interceptions this season, so he’s been far from perfect even if the stats are impressive. That’s one thing that concerns me against Buffalo’s ball-hawking secondary.
To be fair, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cowboys win this game going away. On their day, they can look like a genuine Super Bowl contender. But I think the Bills are good enough to give them some trouble. More than anything, I just don’t trust the Cowboys enough after Sunday’s disaster in New England to lay down a touchdown. I’ll take my chances with Buffalo at least beating the spread.