Dallas Cowboys (-4) at Minnesota Vikings
Total points: 44
Jeremy: Jeff and Jeremy both had solid days picking the Thanksgiving games. Jeff finished at 2-1-1 with wins with Pittsburgh and the over in WAS/DAL. His only miss was with Dallas. Jeremy finished at 3-0-1 hitting on Pittsburgh, Washington and under MIN/DET. They both pushed with Minnesota -3. This week's game in Minnesota features two teams going in seemingly opposite directions with the Cowboys winners of 10 straight and Minnesota losing five of six and fading in the NFC North. Will the return of Stefon Diggs jump-start the Vikings offense? Can Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys keep rolling in a hostile environment on the road? Let's get to the picks….
Thursday night record:
Jeremy: 3-0-1 (last week); 14-10-2 (season)
Jeff: 2-1-1 (last week); 13-11-2 (season)
After starting the season 5-0, the Minnesota Vikings have now lost five of six and are looking up at the first-place Detroit Lions to whom they lost 16-13 on Thanksgiving Day. They will look to get back on track this week against the 10-1 Dallas Cowboys at home where Minnesota is allowing just 16 PPG. The Vikings will be getting a boost as wide receiver Stefon Diggs returns after missing last week with a knee injury. Quarterback Sam Bradford will need all the help he can get in the passing game as the Vikings have virtually no running game and Dallas has been stingy against the run allowing just 82 yards per game. Look for tight end Kyle Rudolph to be highly involved in the game plan as well, especially if the Cowboys can get pressure on Bradford who will be playing behind a beat-up offensive line. For the Cowboys to make it 11 straight wins they will need another big performance from running back Ezekiel Elliott. Minnesota ranks fourth against the pass overall with 12 interceptions and 28 sacks. However, since allowing just 80 YPG on the ground in their first five games, they have allowed 119 YPG per game in their last six. I'm expecting Elliott to have a solid game in this one as the Cowboys’ offensive line will win the battle in the trenches and be able to open holes against the Vikings’ front seven. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been a model of efficiency on the season completing 68% of his passes while throwing 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions. I'm expecting a heavy amount of the passing game to flow through Cole Beasley and Jason Witten as the Vikings look to minimize any deep shots to Dez Bryant. The total for this game has been posted at 44 and I don't like this one to go over that number. Elliott should be able to move the ball efficiently which will allow Dallas to eat up clock and limit the Vikings’ scoring opportunities. Minnesota has struggled offensively recently, scoring just 16.5 PPG in their last six and I don't see that changing against a Cowboys team allowing 19 PPG. As for the side, I like Dallas to cover here. They are 9-1-1 ATS and are a perfect 5-0 on the road. Minnesota is a pedestrian 6-5 ATS and while they are 4-1 at home, three of those wins came in the first five games of the season. The Cowboys have the offensive weapons and solid offensive line to offset the Vikings’ defensive strength. I don't see a blowout but I like Dallas to win by a touchdown. Take Dallas giving four and under 44.
Pick: Cowboys (-4)
Total points: Under 44
Jeff: The Cowboys made it 10 straight wins as they defeated the Redskins on Thanksgiving 31-26. The Vikings weren't as fortunate on Thanksgiving as a late QB Sam Bradford interception led to a last-second field goal by the Lions who won the game 16-13. The Cowboys will now travel to Minnesota looking to extend their winning streak. The Vikings offense was very poor versus the Lions as this unit struggled to do much of anything. The Vikings offense must play better against the Cowboys to have any chance to win this game. The Vikings were without WR Stefon Diggs last week, but it does appear Diggs will suit up against the Cowboys. QB Sam Bradford will have opportunity in the passing game as he faces a vulnerable Cowboys’ secondary. The Vikings will have to put points on the board as since the Cowboys offense has proven they can move the ball effectively on any defense in this league. As for the Vikings defense, they'll need to contain both rookies in RB Ezekiel Elliot and QB Dak Prescott. It is not realistic to think this Vikings defense will shut down this potent Cowboys offense. However, what they need to do is make things difficult for the Cowboys offense. They need to make them earn every yard, and eliminate mental mistakes. I'm expecting the Vikings defense to be very aggressive in this contest as they know getting pressure on Prescott is a must. I can see this being a tight game as the Vikings will feed off of the crowd's energy. Look for this game to be decided by a field goal either way as I'm backing the home underdog. I also think it is possible the Cowboys could be looking ahead to a rematch with the Giants in Week 14. As for the total, I'm expecting this game to have more points than people think. The Vikings getting Diggs back in the lineup will help this passing offense. The Cowboys offense continues to put points on the board regardless of the defense.
Pick: Vikings (+4)
Total points: Over 44