Dallas Cowboys (5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS, 5-3 O/U) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-4 SU, 2-6 ATS, 3-5 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 4:25 p.m. EST
The Line: Atlanta Falcons -3. Total: 50.5.
The Atlanta Falcons have lost four of their last five games heading into a home date with the Dallas Cowboys at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Atlanta started the season 3-0 but has suffered recent setbacks against Buffalo, Miami, New England, and Carolina. The Cowboys are coming off consecutive victories over San Francisco, Washington, and Kansas City.
In form with or without Elliott
Running back Ezekiel Elliott’s status is up in the air every single week. This one is no exception. Elliott’s six-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy related to domestic violence allegations, is still looming. The former Ohio State standout is back on the practice field after playing again in Week 9 as he awaits word (likely on Thursday) regarding a request for another preliminary injunction. Elliott received clearance to play in last Sunday’s 28-17 win over the Chiefs just two days before the game. He rushed 27 times for 93 yards and one touchdown.
“As far as him playing, I’ll anticipate he’s playing until I’ve been told otherwise,” Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn said of Elliott. “I’ll go down that road until I hear otherwise…. I haven’t jumped into them enough to know (everything about their offense). I do know they’ve got good backs, including him. I’d imagine the scheme would be very similar with him in or without him.”
The Cowboys’ offense will likely be a capable unit with or without Elliott. After all, there has been no kind of sophomore slump for quarterback Dak Prescott. The second-year quarterback out of Mississippi State has 16 touchdown passes compared to only four interceptions in addition to 195 rushing yards and four scores. He threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns with getting picked off against Kansas City.
Not the same
Last season, when the Falcons won the NFC Championship, they were second in the NFL in yards per game (415.8) and first in points (33.8). This year those totals are down to sixth in yards (372.0) and 17th in points (21.2). In 2016 the Falcons scored less than 20 points in a game on just a single occasion. In 2017 they have already been limited to less than 20 four times in eight outings. Atlanta has gone for only 17 points in each of its past two home appearances–losses to Buffalo and Miami.
Wide receiver Julio Jones is No. 3 in the league in yards per game at 82.2 and has seven catches of 20-plus yards, but he has shockingly found the end zone only once. Jones should have hauled in a second touchdown in last week’s 20-17 loss at Carolina, but he dropped an easy one. His one TD catch leaves him behind–among other teammates–backup running back Tevin Coleman. In three home games, Jones has just 210 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys are:
- 22-8 in their last 30 games on grass
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games in Week 10
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games in November
The Atlanta Falcons are:
- 0-5 ATS in their last five overall
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games on grass
- 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a loss
Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan, last season’s NFL MVP, is already up to eight turnovers this season. He had just 10 all of last year. Atlanta currently has a minus-four turnover differential. Whereas Atlanta is 1-4 in its last five contests, the Cowboys have won three in a row–all by double-digits and by a combined 55 points. Dallas is 22-8 ATS in its last 30 on grass, 8-3 ATS in its last 11 in Week 10, and 4-1 ATS in its last five in November. The Falcons are 0-5 ATS in their last five overall, 1-4 ATS in their last five on grass, and 0-4 ATS in their last four following a loss. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys +3
Atlanta’s offense has taken the biggest step back, but the defense is also struggling. Vic Beasley Jr. led the NFL in sacks last season. He and several others have been injured at times this year, which is part of the reason why the Falcons are 25th in the league in total defense allowing 371.2 yards per game. They will have to get pressure on Prescott, who is the midst of another outstanding season. The over is 4-1 in the Cowboys’ last five overall, 4-0 in their last four against the NFC, and 6-1 in their last seven in Week 10. It is also 19-7-1 in the Falcons’ last 27 overall, 12-2 in their last 14 at home, 14-3-1 in their last 18 against the NFC, 13-3-1 in their last 17 after passing for more than 250 yards in their previous outing, and 8-3 in their last 11 against winning opponents. Additionally, the over is 4-1 in the last five meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to go over the total.