Few teams have a wider disparity in their performance between home and away games than Washington, who look to maintain at least a share of the lead in the NFC East when they host the division-rival Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. Washington extended their home winning streak to five games with last week’s 20-14 win over the New York Giants to grab a share of first place in the division.
Washington’s last three road defeats have come by a total of 59 points, including a 44-16 thumping at Carolina before last week’s bounce-back victory. ”I’m proud of the team to be in this position, how hard they worked, how much they’ve overcome from a week-to-week basis,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. The Cowboys are still in position to contend for the NFC East title, sitting only two games back of Washington despite their 3-8 record. The road got considerably tougher, however, when Tony Romo refractured his collarbone in a Thanksgiving Day loss to Carolina.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Washington opened as 4-point home favorites and have been bet down slightly to the current number of -3.5. The total has remained at its opening number of 42.
Dallas – WR D. Bryant (probable Monday, knee), CB M. Claiborne (probable Monday, hamstring), OL C. Green (questionable Monday, hip), WR B. Butler (questionable Monday, hamstring), QB T. Romo (out for season, collarbone).
Washington – S D. Goldson (probable Monday, knee), WR D. Jackson (probable Monday, illness), WR A. Roberts (questionable Monday, knee), DL C. Baker (questionable Monday, illness), DE J. Hatcher (questionable Monday, knee), RB C. Thompson (questionable Monday, shoulder), LB P. Riley (questionable Monday, foot), LB K. Robinson (questionable Monday, shoulder), CB D. Everett (questionable Monday, hamstring), TE D. Carrier (questionable Monday, ankle).
WEATHER REPORT: It will be mostly cloudy at kickoff with a slight 14 percent chance of rain. There will also be a five-to-seven mile per hour wind blowing towards the southeastern end zone. Temperatures should be in the mid 40’s.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Dallas (+3) – Washington (+1) + home field (-3) = Washington -5
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (3-8, 3-8 ATS, 5-6 O/U): Matt Cassel will be back at quarterback for Dallas, which lost all seven games when Romo was sidelined the first time – including four starts with Cassel under center. The Cowboys could do little against Carolina, getting 11 yards on 10 carries from Darren McFadden and two catches for 26 yards from Dez Bryant while being held to 14 points or fewer for the fourth time in the last seven contests. Dallas’ defense is eighth overall with an average of 332 yards allowed per game, but it has forced a league-worst seven turnovers.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (5-6, 5-6 ATS, 5-6 O/U): Like his team, quarterback Kirk Cousins is a different quarterback at FedEx Field, throwing for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions while compiling a passer rating of 121.2 during the five-game home winning streak. DeSean Jackson has a catch of at least 42 yards in three consecutive games while tight end Jordan Reed remains Cousins’ favorite target with a career-high 55 receptions and six touchdowns. The ground game has been inconsistent and the defense has been up and down, although it has held four opponents to 14 points or fewer at home.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Dallas is 2-8 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
* Dallas is 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in Washington.
* Under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings in Washington.
COVERS CONSENSUS: A good majority of bettors are backing Washington in this NFC East showdown, with 63 percent wagers on them. As for the total, 65 percent of wagers are on the over.