USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys – Open: -7; Move: -6.5; Move: -6; Move: -6.5
Dallas has already wrapped up the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, thanks to the New York Giants’ loss at Philadelphia last Thursday. The Cowboys (12-2 SU, 9-5 ATS) are playing in their third straight prime-time contest, after splitting Sunday nighters at the Giants and at home to Tampa Bay. Last week, the Pokes held off the Buccaneers 26-20 as a 7-point home favorite.
Detroit has more to play for, as it could seal at least a wild-card berth tonight, while it continues battling for the NFC North crown with Green Bay – two teams who meet next week to decide that division, regardless of what happens in Dallas. The Lions (9-5 SU, 8-6 ATS) had their five-game win streak halted last week by the Giants, in a 17-6 road loss as a 4-point underdog.
“The game has moved around a little,” Avello said. “That’s because there was a thought that Dallas doesn’t need it as much as Detroit. For Detroit, it’s more of a playoff game. A win tonight would guarantee a playoff spot.”
Having seen two quarterbacks suffer broken legs in Week 16 – the Raiders’ Derek Carr and the Titans’ Marcus Mariota – Dallas couldn’t be blamed for playing it safe tonight by either not playing standout rookie Dak Prescott or limiting his time, and getting Tony Romo into the fold.
But that wouldn’t necessarily have a negative impact on the line for Dallas.
“Think about who the quarterback is if they rest Dak,” Avello said. “You don’t lose anything, and you might even gain with Romo. He can go in and perform as well as anybody in the NFL. If he’s gonna play a good portion of the game, he’s not going to be content just handing it off. He’s going to want to open it up.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.