NFL Week 2 Predictions: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys players in action

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 6:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2016 6:34 PM UTC

Our NFL handicapping expert provides us with an early betting preview on next Sunday’s Cowboys and Redskins game. Join us in reading this revealing article concluded with an NFL point spread pick.

Bitter NFC East Rivalry Resumes
The Redskins and Cowboys will square off on Sunday, and each team will be looking to rebound from a season-opening loss. The opening kickoff at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland is slated for 1:00 PM ET. These division rivals split their two meetings a season ago, and the road team won on each occasion. Dallas has won their last three visits to Fed Ex Field. Additionally, 7 of the last 9 games played in Washington have gone under the total.

At the time of this writing, NFL betting odds at Bookmaker, which currently offers a 50% free sign up play, indicates that Washington is a 3.0-point favorite, and there’s a total of 46.5. Presently, Bookmaker is one of the best sportsbooks.


Tough Loss for Cowboys in Season Opener
Dallas is coming off a narrow 20-19 home loss to the New York Giants last Sunday. It was a game in which the Cowboys probably deserved a better fate. Especially when considering a monumental gaffe made by wide receiver Terrance Williams, and it occurred on what turned out to be the final play. Following a reception, Williams opted not to go out of bounds and stop the clock, and despite Dallas being well within Dan Bailey's field goal range. As a result, Dallas was unable to run another play, and the clock expired. As a matter of fact, Bailey had been 4-4 on his field goal attempts, including converting from 54 and 56 yards out.

There were some positives that Dallas can take away from last week’s defeat. They held a huge edge in time of possession, evidenced by them holding the football for 36:24 compared to the Giants 23:17. Furthermore, rookie starting quarterback Dak Prescott played mistake free football in terms of committing no turnovers. Dallas’ defense turned in a decent performance, limiting New York to 316 yards of total offense, and was particularly adept at stopping the run.


Disappointing Opening Performance
Washington opened their 2016-2017 NFL campaign in front of a national television audience on Monday night, and they were thoroughly embarrassed by Pittsburgh. After jumping out to a 6-0 lead after their first two offensive possessions, the Redskins were outscored 38-10, and fell to Pittsburgh by a convincing 22-point margin. The Steelers had little trouble moving the ball all night, amassing 435 total yards. Pittsburgh’s wide receivers seemed to be open on a consistent basis, and they also churned out 150 yards on the ground, while averaging a lofty 4.9 yards per rushing attempt.


Third Down Efficiency Comparison
Despite coming up short last Sunday, and playing with a rookie quarterback, Dallas was an excellent 10-17 (58.8%) on offensive third down conversions. Conversely, Washington was the polar opposite, going 3-10 (30%) on offense, and allowed Pittsburgh to convert 9-14 (64.3%).

I’m a big proponent of factoring this specific statistical category into my NFL handicapping equation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that Dallas will have a decided advantage in this specific area.


NFL Point Spread Pick and Supporting Betting Angle
I already alluded to the fact that Washington is coming off a 38-16 loss. Furthermore, this was a Redskins team which allowed 24 points per game a season ago.

Any road underdog (Dallas), versus an opponent that allowed 24 or more points per game the year before, and that opponent (Washington) is coming off a contest in which there were a combined 50 points or more being scored, resulted in those road underdogs going 28-3 ATS (90.3%) since 1983.

Here’s my personal prognosis on this NFC East divisional matchup. Pittsburgh had a lot of success running the ball against Washington’s front seven. They did so mostly with 33-year-old backup running back D’Angelo Williams shouldering the load. This week, they’ll be facing arguably the best offensive line in football, and a young stud running back in Ezekiel Elliott. My lean is on the road underdog being one of my early NFL picks against the spread.


Free NFL Pick: Dallas Cowboys +3
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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