NFL · Sun (10/31) @ 8:22pm ET
|U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
Our Pick: DAL Cowboys at +350. Enjoy a $1,000 risk-free bet when you sign up with BetMGM today!
Cowboys At Vikings Facts And Analysis
The skinny: At the birthplace of the Hail Mary, the big question preceding this game is whether absolutely, positively Dallas QB Dak Prescott will start after straining his right calf throwing the overtime TD pass at New England two weeks ago.
Facts: Although Prescott is expected to play, backup QB Cooper Rush has been getting extra reps in drills just in case. He was an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan in 2017 who has thrown three passes in his five-year “career.”
Both teams are coming off a bye, denying each other a chance to face a team of regular rest/prep time. A key absence for Minnesota will be eight-time Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson (IR, hamstring).
Entering Week 8, the Vikings were the only team to give Arizona a major scare, losing 34-33 in Glendale after their PK, Greg Joseph, missed on a 37-yard FG try as time expired. He’s otherwise 18-for-18 from inside 40 yards in his career.
In last year’s meeting between two going-nowhere teams, Dallas won in Minnesota 31-28 as a 7-point underdog behind QB Andy Dalton. The Cowboys were off a bye then, too. In that meeting, Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins had his best game of the season (based on passer rating) at 140.1.
Dallas, which went 0-8 ATS to open 2020, matching the Raiders’ miserable start in 2003, is the only unbeaten team against the spread this season. The last team to get off to a better start was the 2008 Titans, who went 7-0 ATS.
Analysis: If Prescott does start, he no doubt will have reduced mobility — because his injury limits him or because he’s trying to avoid additional trouble while on the move. He’ll be facing a defense that’s tied for the league-high with 21 sacks despite playing only six games. And that defense will be going against an offensive line that has issues at left guard and with standout OLT Tyron Smith questionable (ankle).
A key on the other side is Cousins avoiding trouble with his throws, especially when throwing in the direction of Dallas CB Trevon Diggs (questionable, ankle), who has a league-best seven INTs. But Cousins has tossed only two interceptions, the second-fewest for any QB who has started each of his team’s games.
Then there’s this: Dallas has a 3.5-game lead in the NFC East, the biggest division advantage for any team. If Prescott shows signs he’s laboring, coach Mike McCarthy would be wise to yank his QB with an eye toward the long-term future.
Sports Betting Pick: Vikings 27, Cowboys 23
Last week: 5-7-1 ATS, 9-4 SU
Season total: 58-46-3 (.558) ATS; 72-35 (.673)