Cowboys Will Be Short-Handed Again Turkey Day vs. Chargers

tyron smith

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 2:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 2:06 PM UTC

The Dallas Cowboys honked another game last week without Ezekiel Elliott. But he’s the least of their problems with the Los Angeles Chargers visiting on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Free NFL Pick: Under 48Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys

It’s time to talk turkey again. Thanksgiving Week is upon us, which can only mean one thing: The Dallas Cowboys are playing at home Thursday (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS). They’ve got a winnable matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, but there’s carnage on the Week 12 NFL odds board, as the Cowboys have moved from –3.5 at the open to a pick’em at press time. Holy tryptophan.

We wouldn’t be too keen about betting on Dallas, either. You may recall last week’s award-smelting #Betting101 article, where we picked the Philadelphia Eagles as 3-point road faves. Final score: Philadelphia 37, Dallas 9, with the Eagles laying six points on the closing line. The game went just as predicted, with Alfred Morris and the running game clicking sans Ezekiel Elliott, and everything else going to heck without LT Tyron Smith and LB Sean Lee. Is there any reason we should put Dallas in our NFL picks this week?

Turkey-Lurkey Lee

It doesn’t look too good for the Cowboys (5-5 SU and ATS) on the medical front. Nothing’s official at this point, but it appears Lee will miss another two games with his hamstring injury. Smith (back, groin) may or may not be able to play Thursday; owner Jerry Jones told reporters after Sunday’s loss that he hoped sitting out against the Eagles would help Smith get ready in time to face the Chargers (4-6 SU, 5-4-1 ATS).

As usual, the Bolts have injury concerns of their own, and the offensive line is bearing the brunt. LG Matt Slauson suffered a torn biceps in late October and is done for the season, joining OT Chris Hairston (blood clots) on sidelines. RT Joe Barksdale has missed multiple games with a lingering foot issue. And yet the Chargers are 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS over their past four games. Maybe they can pull this one out over the short-handed Cowboys.

The computer projections are just as uncertain as Smith’s injury status. FiveThirtyEight likes Dallas to win 68 percent of the time, or –5 for an Elo-based spread. ESPN’s Football Power Index has the Cowboys at 56.2 percent, or –2 according to the estimated probabilities at Wizard of Odds. Given how messed up the Cowboys offense is right now, let’s wait and see if Smith is going to play or not; if not, the UNDER is worth a spin on the total of 48 points, which hasn’t budged since the open. And may the prolate spheroid be with you this holiday season.

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