If we are being honest, the Thursday night football package in the NFL this season has been rather bland. A lot of bad games either because of mismatches or due to the fact that the players on both teams were still not 100 percent physically after taking a beating the Sunday before.
However, neither of those issues will be a problem this week when Dallas visits Minnesota. Both are on a normal week of rest after each played on Thanksgiving, so that should mean a higher quality of football. The Cowboys are road favourites on Sports Interaction NFL odds.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Point spread: Cowboys -3.5
Date: Thursday, Dec. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
The Cowboys (10-1) are on a franchise-record 10-game winning streak, and it sure looks like the NFC playoffs will run through Dallas as no other team in the conference has fewer than three losses. When we previewed Dallas’ home game vs. Washington on Thanksgiving, we figured you’d be better off giving 6.5 points to the visitors and going over the betting total of 51.
Dallas won 31-26 — the Redskins were able to cover on an 8-yard TD pass with under two minutes left. The two amazing Cowboys rookies continued to shine on offense. Dak Prescott threw for 195 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 39 yards and another score. Ezekiel Elliott carried 20 times for 97 yards and two scores. Most first-year NFL players hit a rookie wall at some point, but these two sure aren’t.
If there was one concerning that about that victory it was that Dallas allowed Kirk Cousins to throw for 449 yards. The Cowboys’ defense was expected to be a weakness this year but has overachieved. Could it now be showing cracks? In a Week 10 comeback win in Pittsburgh, the Cowboys allowed 408 yards passing to Ben Roethlisberger. Dallas isn’t getting many sacks (20 all year) or forcing turnovers (only 10). Since the Cowboys’ last interception, opposing quarterbacks have thrown 221 passes.
That said, Dallas is -1000 to win the NFC East — it has a two-game lead over the Giants — and a +175 favourite to win the NFC title. The Cowboys are 9-2 against the spread and 5-0 ATS on the road.
The only path to the playoffs for Minnesota (6-5) is likely a wild-card spot as it is essentially two games behind first-place Detroit (7-4) in the NFC North because the Lions have clinched the head-to-head tiebreaker following a 16-13 home win on Thanksgiving.
The Vikings took a 13-10 lead on the Lions lead early in the fourth quarter, and Detroit did next to nothing on offense in the second half. But the Lions were able to tie it on a 48-yard Matt Prater field goal with 1:45 to go. At that point, one figured at worst the Vikings would be headed to overtime and at best Sam Bradford could drive them into field-goal range for a possible winning kick. However, Bradford did the one thing he absolutely couldn’t: he threw an interception on 3rd-and-7 at his own 28 with 30 seconds left. The Lions would win the game on a Prater 40-yard field goal as time expired. Prater was a big reason the Vikings lost 22-16 in overtime at home to Detroit in Week 9 as well as Prater hit a 58-yard tying field goal at the end of regulation.
Minnesota’s offense just isn’t very good with the league’s worst rushing attack. Bradford is not the type of quarterback who is going to win games by himself. Bradford didn’t have top receiver Stefon Diggs due to a knee injury vs. Detroit, but it’s looking promising this week for him. Diggs has 67 catches for 747 yards and two scores.
The Vikings, +2000 to win the NFC championship, are 6-5 ATS this season and 4-1 ATS at home.
Cowboys vs. Vikings Prediction
These franchises haven’t played since 2013 so nothing to glean from that. Dallas is light years better offensively, but the Vikings can say the same on defense. That defensive group has played great in the new Minneapolis stadium, which is one of the loudest in the NFL. Take the points here and go under the total.