Today's Free Picks for
Posted Friday at 12:45 PM EST.
8:25 PM EST. Dallas got whacked by the Broncos 42-17, but the biggest story coming out of that game on the Cowboys' side was the shade thrown on running back Ezekiel Elliot after he quit on a pair of Dak Prescott interceptions, one of which led to a touchdown when he could have made a tackle on the return. Zeke also had his worst rushing day as a pro with eight yards on nine carries. The Cowboys are a premier team and just about everything that happens in Big D is blown out of proportion. Dallas was a small road favorite going into Denver after coming off a high-profile Sunday night win over the Giants, but now that New York is 0-2 after an embarrassing loss of its own on Monday night, that victory over Big Blue doesn't hold as much weight in the market as it maybe did a week ago. We've heard this week that the blueprint is now out on how to beat the Cowboys, stop Zeke and make Prescott throw. These are the same guys that were slobbering all over Dak after he threw just four interceptions all of last season. In a week to week league like the NFL we are always looking for over and under-reactions and a lopsided loss like the one the ‘Boys suffered in Denver really stands out when you are supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. There is no shame in losing in the Mile High City, as the Broncos have been the best home team in the NFL for over four decades. The unpleasant way in which it went down should only motivate the Cowboys to be better this week when they take a big step down in competition with the entire country watching on a Monday night game in the desert.
Our fade of the Cardinals continues this week. Arizona is also 1-1 but they’ve played two of the ugliest games of football we’ve ever seen to open a season. They’ve lost their best player with running back David Johnson out for at least a couple of months and what remains of their offense looks old and busted. Carson Palmer is at the end of the line and looks like he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn right now, His 54.8 completion percentage this season proves it. Palmer has thrown more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (2) and the only reason the Cardinals aren’t taking as much heat as the Giants are is because nobody without a stake has bothered to watch either of their games. It's not just the surface stats that are showing Palmer's decline but his numbers under the hood as well. When looking at Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (which gives the value of a QB's performance compared to a replacement level, and then translated into yardage) Palmer is a -35, which puts him 25th in the league, sandwiched between Mike Glennon and Jacoby Brissett, not exactly elite company. What's more, the Cardinals offense as a whole has a negative DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) rating of -24% which ranks 27th in the league and puts them with the likes of the Jets and Texans through two games, but neither of those clubs had the high preseason expectation of the Cardinals. Arizona was very fortunate to have won last Sunday, as the undermanned Colts led for most of that game. The Cards were able to capitalize on a Jacoby Brissett interception early in overtime in Colts territory. Arizona was lucky to take the game into OT and just as fortunate to win it.
We’re always preaching not to overreact to one or two performances so one has to question whether we’re overreacting to Arizona’s two ugly performances. That’s a fair question that requires an answer. We started attacking Arizona right out of the gate and suggested that this year is a carryover from last season in which the Cardinals got progressively worse each week. We’re reacting to a 16-game schedule last plus two games this year in which the Cardinals more often than not looked sloppy and old and were the inferior team on the field most weeks. Arizona has not improved while Dallas is an outstanding football team that is coming off one bad week. We absolutely love that Zak Prescott took responsibility for last week’s debacle, as that shows leadership and inspires everyone to rally. The overreaction here is to Dallas getting torched last week but great teams rebound big time and Dallas couldn’t have handpicked a softer opponent than the incapable and disheveled group that they’ll see here. Rarely are we in favor of spotting road points but there are exceptions from time to time and we trust that the market is way off on this one, which is why we’re posting this Monday night game on Friday.
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Dallas -3 -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)