It’s a big Monday Night Football matchup here in the final MNF of the month of September. The Arizona Cardinals are at home and on national television, trying to swing their season in the right direction. On the other side you have Dallas, a team that is in desperate need of a win after getting embarrassed last week.
The Dallas Cowboys are dependent on running the football, and if they want to do that, Ezekiel Elliott has got to come to play tonight. He is coming off a poor performance where his integrity, hustle, and competitiveness were all called into question after he gave up in Week 2, so with this suspension talk back and looming, he needs a good game as much as Dallas.
It’s a proven formula for the Cowboys if they want to win. Run. The. Ball. It’s unfortunate that Elliott decided to quit and cry like a little boy when things weren’t going his way last week, but the fact is Dallas is 11-2 SU in games where Elliott has 20 carries. It’s as simple as that.
Keeping the ball out of Carson Palmer’s hands and wearing down a suspect defense on the road is the blueprint for how the Cowboys go to 2-1 and how they cover the -2 ½ or -3 they’re laying on the road.
When it comes to Elliott, the sportsbooks seem to be predicting a bounce back too. Bovada Sportsbook has him sitting at a total of 92 ½ rushing yards tonight with a total of 24 ½ receiving yards. If he can get north of 115 all-purpose yards tonight, I’d call that a win for Dallas.
Speaking of running, last Week C.J. Anderson and the Broncos ran all over the Cowboys. The Cardinals are without their top running back, so this would be a perfect time for a bounce back from the Boys’ front seven as well. If they can slow down the Cardinals’ rushing attack, all while running the football better, this is a win for them.Cardinals Quarterback Containing
Another thing that concerns me when it comes to the Cardinals is their ability to slow down Dak Prescott. Matt Stafford threw bombs all over the field against Arizona in Week 1 in that collapse, while Jacoby Brissett would have done better if he had been with the Colts longer than a week before taking the field.
The Arizona defense is suspect, and this is surprising because they have been so good under Bruce Arians. If Prescott gets on the move throwing the ball, I fear the Cardinals will have some problems containing him.
Prescott has to be put in a position to win the game though. It all really goes back to the running game. If that is clicking for Dallas, Prescott won’t be forced to throw the ball 45 times and Dallas can win like they did all of last season. If Prescott is asked to do too much, and the Cardinals’ defense is opportunistic, things could easily shift back in favor of the home team.
This is why I see this line as a trap in the end. The Cowboys are just 9-12-1 ATS as road favorites since 2010, and even with the line slowing ticking up to -3 for the Cowboys, I see this as a no-play on Monday night. I can’t trust either team right now, especially at the current offerings from the sportsbooks.Best Bet For This Game: No Play