head-to-head as the Dallas Cowboys host the Washington
Perhaps one of the great surprises of the NFL season thus far
is the fact that the Cowboys are 6-1 straight up and 5-2
against the spread through the first seven games of the season.
Washington, on the other hand, has won just one of its previous
five games and has failed to cover the spread in four straight
heading into the Week 8 finale.
The majority of books opened the ‘Boys as 9.5-point home faves
with that line still being offered, or -10 being out there as
In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve
enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best.
Expert NFL bloggers Scott Jennings of Redskins blog
Haven and K.D. Drummond of Dallas blog Blogging the
Boys strap on the pads to debate not just who wins,
but which team will cover the spread when the Washington
Redskins visit the Dallas Cowboys Monday night.
WHY WASHINGTON WILL COVER
Scott Jennings writes for
Haven. You can follow them on Facebook
and Twitter @HogsHaven.
Jordan Reed is back
Reed has missed a lot of time with a bad hamstring injury since
Week 1, but he returned to the lineup two weeks ago and had a
very good game. Last week, Colt McCoy connected with Reed three
times for 25 yards during the game winning drive. The playbook
opens up with Reed in the game and Jay Gruden loves moving him
around the line. He will line up wide and in the slot, finding
the best matchups and taking advantage of a Cowboys defense
that has struggled against Tight Ends this season.
Ryan Kerrigan vs. Jermey Parnell
Ryan Kerrigan has been having the best season of his career,
with 6.5 sacks already. Jermey Parnell struggled early last
week in place of Doug Free, and he is the weak link on an
otherwise stout Cowboys offensive line. They will provide help
for Parnell, and the loss of Orakpo on the other side hurts the
Redskins pass rush, but Kerrigan will get home against Tony
Tyler Polumbus has been benched
The weakest link on the Redskins offensive line will be on the
bench or inactive this week. Polumbus has been terrible this
season, giving up eight or nine sacks already depending on
which stats service you check. He’s got a slight knee issue,
but that is not the reason his play has regressed this year.
Swing tackle Tom Compton will get the start and the OL should
be slightly less porous.
WHY DALLAS WILL COVER
K.D. Drummond writes for Blogging The Boys and
Dallas. He can be followed on Twitter @KDP10For10 and
Follow The Trend
Dallas’ surprise start to the season has also been extremely
helpful to those willing to wager on a team expected to be in
the dumps this season. Dallas is 6-1 straight up, but also 5-2
against the spread in 2014, with the lone “win but a loss”
being the overtime game against Houston. On the opposite side,
Washington matches their dismal 2-5 record with a similar mark
against the number. While there is normally some trepidation as
a spread creeps towards double-digits, bettors should remain
faithful that this matchup is as lopsided as it seems; even for
a Monday night game.
Too Many Weapons
The Cowboys offense is rolling at an elite level right now.
They arguably have the league’s best offensive line, the
league’s best running back, the league’s most physical wideout
and one of the five best at his position, and a quarterback
making very few mistakes that can’t offset his many spectacular
plays. Now, they are integrating their secondary weapons and
functioning at a level only seen by the Green Bays and Denvers
of the world. Washington is missing Brian Orakpo which means
that DeMarco Murray should have a tunnel in front of him to an
eighth straight 100-yard game, and when that happens the rest
of the offense opens up.
There are two advanced metrics that I love to trot out: Passer
Rating differential and Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. Next to
Scoring Differential, these two stats are the most closely
correlated to winning over the years. Dallas’ advantage in
these two categories is absurd. The Cowboys are fourth in the
league in PRD, while Washington is a lowly 25th. In ANY/A,
Dallas is ninth to Washington’s 20th. Simply put, teams that
win at the quarterback position usually win the game outright.
Washington is on their third quarterback and it would be
foolish to wager he’ll be able to keep pace with the what Tony
Romo has been outputting over the course of the 2014 season.
Join the debate. Which team covers on Monday Night Football:
Washington or Dallas?