Growing up, I read books about the 1970s NFL Cardinals, the “St. Louis” Cardinals in those days. Even as the Big Red put some classic winning seasons together in the middle of that decade, there seemed to be some type of hex or magical force stopping the club from going deep into the playoffs. Penalties – dropped balls – sacks – fumbles. All at the worst-possible times. Later I realized that what Gateway City fans thought was a “curse” was actually just bad gridiron philosophy. The Cardinals were a finesse team that always passed-first, leading to exciting, explosive offense that seemed to portend more success than ever came.
The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints (among others) have proven that you can pass 50+ times per game and win championships in the modern NFL. But there are still teams whose big-name QB and top-flight receivers can’t make up for sloppy play everywhere else, and the 2019 Detroit Lions are an example. “Why aren’t we winning?” spectators have asked while Matt Stafford lit-up the gridiron with his arm.
And then, when and if the star QB gets hurt, the team is suddenly up a creek without a proverbial paddle.
Stafford’s extended injury-absence has put Detroit’s currently 3-5-1 season on the brink. Meanwhile, gamblers are flocking to take the Dallas Cowboys’ line-to-cover for this Sunday’s visit to Ford Field.
Who: Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
When: Sunday, November 17th, 1 PM EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Lines: DAL (-7) at DET (+7) / O/U Total: (47.5)
The Cowboys’ frustrating trend of not being able to beat anyone outside of the NFC East continues. The Vikings were able to contain Ezekiel Elliott last week, holding him to 47 yards on 20 carries, but the biggest media story was Jason Garrett’s questionable play-calling down the stretch.
With the game on the line, Garrett opted to force-feed Zeke instead of passing the football with Dak Prescott…who was approaching 400 yards. Minnesota had no answer for WR Amari Cooper, who finished the game with an 11-147-1 stat line. Cooper’s 7 TD’s matches a career-high, and he is well on his way to his best season in his 5-year NFL career if he stays healthy. But the Cowboys didn’t mix it up enough in the 2nd half (or give the hot hand enough touches) and paid a price.
Injury issues are plaguing both teams. While the Lions will be without Stafford at least 1more week, the Cowboys are dealing with a rash of new wounds. The right side of the Dallas offensive line took a blow last week as T La’el Collins and G Zack Martin each left the game early, and neither has participated in practice this week.
Is bettors’ confidence in the Cowboys misplaced? Detroit has been pretty bad vs the run at times in 2019, but Dallas will have 2 huge holes to fill in the blocking plan if Collins and Martin are unable to give it a go. Cooper is also day-to-day and has a tougher match-up to deal with in Week 11 than against a Minnesota secondary that was without CB Trae Waynes. The WR will be locked-up with Darius Slay Jr. all afternoon.
Jeff Driskel is in line for another start for Detroit. Meanwhile, joining Stafford on the injury report is backup RB Ty Johnson, who had replaced the injured Kerryon Johnson. The Lions may be left with J.D. McKissic and Paul Perkins in the backfield, but are looking to potentially hand a few touches to a guy Alabama fans are familiar with:
The injury bug has infested the Detroit Lions’ backfield in recent weeks, claiming starter Kerryon Johnson, his immediate replacement Tra Carson, and most recently, rookie Ty Johnson, who made his first start last Sunday. Ty Johnson suffered a concussion against the Bears and his status remains uncertain after sitting out Wednesday’s practice. With the depth chart depleted down to J.D. McKissic and Paul Perkins, the Lions could be in need of reinforcements prior to Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. There are plenty of options, including a street free agent such as Jay Ajayi, who worked out for the Lions this month. But the more likely choice would be a practice squad promotion, where the team has two choices waiting in the wings: Wes Hills and Bo Scarbrough.
“Both of those guys are bigger backs, so they bring good size, good power,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “They have good speed. We’ve seen Wes a little bit more than we’ve seen Bo. We had Bo all of last week, but we’ve liked what we’ve seen so far. We’ll just have to see how that thing shakes out.”
The Lions have been OK against the spread in 2019. But despite the line-movement in that particular market, I’ve got another wager in mind.
I believe the visitors will prevail on Sunday thanks to better QB play and the fact that Dallas doesn’t mind an indoor setting any more than Detroit does. However, the Cowboys are probably going to be anxious on defense, playing down to the level-of-competition as the club so-often does. It will be a tense outcome in the 4th quarter and it won’t be surprising to see “DRISKEL” trending on Twitter as the Detroit backup enjoys a couple of nice quarters against the guest secondary.
Take advantage of line-shifting…but not ATS. Take the Over (47.5).