#490 Arizona Cardinalsvs.#489 Dallas Cowboys
Written by Benjamin Hayes
Dallas Cowboys (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
When and Where: Monday, Sept. 25, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 8:30pmET
Line: Dallas -3
It’s time for Monday Night Football featuring two powerhouse NFC teams. Ok, powerhouse might be a bit too optimistic considering the way both teams played last week. Arizona escaped Indianapolis 16-13 in overtime on the road last week. The offense looked like it was stuck in mud without star running back David Johnson. Dallas got their backsides handed to them in Denver, 42-17. They have numerous injuries in the secondary that explains the defensive problem. But the injuries don’t explain how poorly they played on offense.
Dallas was a slight favorite headed up to Denver and left feeling a bit humbled. Part of the problem was injuries in their secondary. The Cowboys’ defense allowed just three points to the New York Giants (19-3) in their opening game. Top cornerback Orlando Scandrick (broken hand) was already out so they couldn’t afford more injuries. But they lost corners Nolan Carroll (concussion) and Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) during the Denver game and were left with just two inexperienced cornerbacks. Broncos QB Trevor Siemian took advantage, completing 22 of 32 for 231 yards with four TDs and a pick. The Cowboys struggled against the run as well, as C.J. Anderson rushed for 118 yards and a TD on 25 attempts.
The offense wasn’t much better as the normally-efficient Dak Prescott (30-50 for 238 yards, 2 TDs) threw two picks. The Broncos stacked the box so Ezekiel Elliot wound up with just eight rushing yards on nine carries. Tight end Jason Witten caught 10 passes for 97 yards and a score, while Dez Bryant added seven catches for 59 yards and a score.
It’s hard to get excited about a win over the Indianapolis Colts. Without Andrew Luck, they are certainly one of the bottom-feeders in the NFL. But Arizona needed a win after falling to Detroit on the road (35-23) in their first game and then losing David Johnson to a dislocated wrist in that game. Phil Dawson’s 30-yard field goal with 8:02 left in overtime saved the Cardinals from an embarrassing loss and an 0-2 start. Dawson made up for his 42-yard miss at the end of regulation and was given another chance thanks to Tyrann Mathieu’s interception of Jacob Brissett at the Colts’ 22 on the first play of overtime.
Brissett played well early on as the Colts jumped out to a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter. Dawson nailed a 27-yard field goal with 5:56 left in the second quarter but the Cards would not score again until the fourth quarter. Down 13-3 with 7:38 left, Carson Palmer hit J.J. Nelson for a 45-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 13-10. Palmer also drove the team 40 yards to allow Dawson kick the game-tying 40-yard field goal with 3:25 left. Palmer threw for 332 yards with one TD and one pick on 19-of-36. Veteran running back Chris Johnson led the ground attack with 44 yards on 11 carries. Defensively, the Cards allowed 190 passing yards and just 76 rushing yards on 29 carries.
The strength of Arizona is their passing game and Dallas’ big weakness right now is in the secondary. Does Scandrick play with a broken hand? Even then, they have Carroll likely out with a concussion and Awuzie limited with a hamstring injury. Expect Arizona to take advantage at home.
The Cards played an under last week, while the Cowboys played an over. Have to stick to the over in this one with Dallas’ concerns in the secondary. Their offense should also bounce back from a bad game in Denver. Dallas is 10-3 Over in September, while Arizona is 7-0 Over vs. NFC.
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Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!