NFL Picks MNF Edition: With Cousins at Home Bet Redskins in Dallas

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 10:28 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 10:28 PM GMT

The NFC East leading Washington NFL franchise hope to keep their home cooking alive as they host the Romo-less again Cowboys. Is there any reason to back Dallas with our NFL picks in this affair?

With Dallas’ playoff hopes about as fragile as Tony Romo’s clavicle, the 3-8 Cowboy’s go to Fed Ex Field to visit first place 5-6 Washington in an NFC East divisional matchup on Monday Night Football. Washington beat the Giants in Week 12 at home to own the tie-breaker in the division led by two teams with losing records. Even with Washington owning the better record and an actual starting quarterback, they only find themselves as a 4-point opening favorite over the Cowboys at many sites. The O/U total doesn’t predict much offense with it being posted at 42 almost across the board. It can be found at an under lean of 41.5 if you shop the NFL odds board hard enough.

The recent form for these teams favors Washington in particular. Washington is 5-1 SU at home this year and have won five straight at Fed Ex Field. They are also 4-1 ATS at home versus Dallas in the last five, and 8-2 against Dallas in their last ten games overall. Early bettors are all over this form with consensus coming in at 61% on Washington laying the points.

Washington is in playoff position without one bona fide offensive star on their roster. But one thing is for sure, they go how their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, goes. His QBR ratings in wins and losses tell the story best.

 

QBR in Washington’s six losses:

vs. MIA – 68.8

vs. NYG – 69.8

vs. ATL – 69.7

vs. NYJ – 57.9

vs. NE – 68.4

vs. CAR – 89.2

 

QBR in Washington’s five wins:

vs. STL – 110.3

vs. PHI – 91.8

vs. TB – 124.7

vs. NO – 158.3

vs. NYG – 114.4

 

So, it might just be a good thing for us to take a look at the QBR that Dallas is allowing to opposing quarterbacks, right? Let’s do just that.

Opposing QB Rating in Dallas Wins: 75.5

Opposing QB Rating in Dallas Losses: 94.55

 

Yikes, so Dallas gives up a higher QBR in their wins than Kirk Cousins’ average in his losses. Of course, the majority of the season has been losses for Dallas so this isn’t much of a sample size. The bottom line is this, Kirk Cousins might not be lighting up the league in yardage or touchdowns, but he is third in the league behind only Drew Brees and Philip Rivers in completions percentage and his efficiency and ability to spread the ball around should keep him in this game.

The only hope Dallas has in this game is to bring so much pressure on Kirk Cousins that he makes unforced errors. Unfortunately for them, Dallas is 26th in the league in sacks with just 20 on the season through eleven games. However, they only have given up 11 touchdowns this year through the air – balanced by a nearly league low 6 interceptions.

With the Dallas defense not shutting people down, they would have to score in bunches to keep up with opponents. This is the main reason that they find themselves 3-8; their anemic offensive output averaging only 18.5 points per game good for 29th in the NFL. Their passing game has been especially bad without Tony Romo, as indicated by their season long 12/14 TD/INT ratio. The Dallas Cowboys are just not good enough to win with a replacement level quarterback.

If this game were in Dallas I would consider taking the home underdog, as the Washington Redskins have been awful on the road. But it’s not, and Kirk Cousins plays great at home – all of those winning QBR ratings are at Fed Ex Field after all. For that reason, I can’t back the Cowboys in this one. I’m going to buy the half point here as the line has moved, and take the Redskins -4 at 5Dimes as one of my Week 13 NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Redskins -4.5 at Pinnacle

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