NFL Picks: Handicapped Dallas Offense to Struggle Against Patriots

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, October 8, 2015 11:55 AM GMT

The Cowboys are currently dealing with multiple injuries and host the Patriots Week 5, a mismatch on paper. Read our angle on how to play this game for maximum wagering value with your NFL Picks.

It’s Week 5 in the NFL already and we have a matchup between two projected playoff teams in the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys. While the Cowboys have a record at 2-2, they are just trying to hang on while they get injured QB Tony Romo back. The 3-0 Patriots, on the other hand, look unstoppable so far this year and should be as healthy as ever coming off of a Week 4 bye. With the obvious mismatch at the QB position, and the Patriots coming off of a bye, New England's NFL odds are up to ten points, on the road no less, at such books as 5Dimes. Not many folks are giving Dallas a chance in this game, for good reason, especially after getting beat by the 0-3 Saints last week.

With the Cowboys, good offense has meant good defense this year. In the first two weeks of the season, wins over the Giants and Philadelphia, the offense won the time of possession battle handily. They controlled the ball for 37:10 versus the Giants and 40:25 against Philadelphia. That led to a rested and aggressive defense in the 4th quarter of games. Part of this is of course having a healthy QB to run the offense.

Out goes Tony Romo and now Dallas is getting killed in time of possession and defense in the 4th quarter. Atlanta controlled the ball for 34:13 in Week 3 and outscored Dallas 18-0 in the second half. A bad New Orleans team controlled the ball for 30:53 in Week 4 and outscored Dallas 19-10 in the second half (including overtime). Dallas was 3rd in overall defense after the first two weeks and now they have dropped to 14th overall after just two games. The Dallas Cowboys are 31st in the NFL for points allowed in the 4th quarter and overtime through the first 4 weeks of this season. This is where injuries to starters really show their effect.

With Tony Romo on the sideline, Bill Belichick has been overtly focusing on his run defense coming into this game versus Dallas, and has spoken of it in his press conferences last week. Part of this is the fact that the New England defense is dead last in the NFL in yards per rushing attempt allowed at 4.88. Basically, the running game is going to be a crutch for backup Cowboy QB, Brandon Weeden. Take that away, and you will force him to throw to a depleted receiver corp missing All-Pro, Dez Bryant.

After seeing an outmatched Detroit team somehow cover against Seattle in Week 4 on MNF, I’m staying away from double digit spreads for now. In this game I think the O/U total presents greater value anyway. It is currently listed at 49.5 at most books and can be found at 50 at 5Dimes for those of you shading the Under.

Although Dallas apparently lost LB Sean Lee for this game due to a concussion versus the Saints, they do have some defensive players returning for this game. Linebackers Rolando McClain and Greg Hardy both return from suspension this week, with McClain filling in for Lee last year with some success. Unfortunately, they also lost receivers Lance Dunbar and Brice Butler in the game against New Orleans. So if the defense got better, the offense lost a step.

Given that New England has had a bye week to get healthy, and the Dallas offense is in injury limbo, I don’t like the chances of Dallas putting up too many points in this game. For this game to go over it would be on the back of the New England offense alone, and 50 points is a pretty hard road to climb. I’m thinking the Dallas offense lays a dud and the Patriots offense doesn’t put on as much of a show as they did at home last week versus Jacksonville. Shop around and take Under 50 points at 5Dimes as one of your Week 5 NFL Picks.

NFL Pick: Patriots & Cowboys UNDER 50 at 5Dimes