Dallas Cowboys (0-0) vs. Denver Broncos (0-0)
It is a potential Super Bowl preview on Saturday when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Denver Broncos in the first preseason game for both clubs. Dallas is coming off a 12-5 season that saw the club win their division but fall to the San Francisco 49ers in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Denver finished in last place in the AFC West, but there is a new sense of optimism for the Broncos with star quarterback Russell Wilson coming from the Seattle Seahawks.
With the game in Denver, the Broncos enter as -3.0 favorites (-110), with the total set at 31.5 (over: -110, under: -110). Dallas went 4-0 ATS in their last four road games while Denver is 1-5 ATS in their last six games on a Saturday. The Broncos are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams.
Young Receiving Corps to him See First ActionThe Dallas Cowboys will play their first preseason game, and while there will be a lot of attention focused on offensive tackle Tyler Smith (Tulsa) and edge pass rusher Sam Williams (Ole Miss), it will be Jalen Tolbert and the other group of young wide receivers who will earn the most discussion.
Starting quarterback Dak Prescott is not expected to see much action, but the trade of Amari Cooper and the knee rehab for Michael Gallup has opened the door for some young wide receivers to see extensive action, even into the early part of the season. Tolbert is expected to have an immediate impact for this offense.
While he will not see a lot of action here in the preseason, Ezekiel Elliott got a big contract. He is expected to be the focal point of this offense after rushing for 1002 yards, posting a 4.2 yards per carry average. Elliott only average 58.9 yards per game last season, scoring 10 touchdowns, and a lot more is going to be expected of him, especially after a disappointing 12-carry, 31-yard performance against San Francisco in the playoff loss.
This is a schedule packed with brutal opponents, including Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay, and Tennessee. An 11-victory season for this club may be about as good as it gets.
Wilson Makes Broncos Super Bowl ContenderThere may be no team earning more hype this season than the Denver Broncos. The team acquired quarterback Russell Wilson from Seattle during the off-season and instantaneously became Super Bowl contenders. Wilson is coming off a season where he appeared in 14 games, throwing for 3,113 yards and 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He is now just eight touchdowns short of reaching the 300 plateau and needs a 3,000 yards season to reach 40,000 yards.
“This is a great tradition, a great heritage of winning. But the goal now is to build on that heritage and that tradition to continue it in a way that makes for a bright future.” - Condoleezza Rice pic.twitter.com/n6BT8ylP5d— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 10, 2022
Despite the addition of Wilson, the offense for Denver is challenged. The club is not averaged 21 points per game in any of the last six seasons but there is a new sense of hope as Nathaniel Hackett takes over as head coach, the first offensive head coach since Gary Kubiak in 2016. Most will be watching to see how Courtland Sutton responds after ACL surgery.
The win total for the Broncos is set at 10. The date to watch will be September 12, when Wilson returns to Seattle to take on his former club. The Broncos have games against San Francisco, two against Las Vegas and Kansas City, Tennessee, Baltimore, Arizona, and the Rams. While Wilson is a major upgrade of the quarterback position, there is still a lot that needs to improve on this Denver team. The question is if Hackett is the guy who can turn the team around.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The reality is that these preseason games mean very little to most teams. Cooper Rush will play a lot at quarterback for the Cowboys along with Will Grier. Especially the first one. Very few of the starters see any real action, as clubs are trying to evaluate what their depth is like heading into the regular season.
However, this may be different for the Broncos. They have a first-year head coach in Nathaniel Hackett, who is trying to establish himself and get this offense in rhythm. So, he is not only going to be looking to try to get his team off on the right foot but wants to ensure that he gets some buzz going surrounding the club. While Wilson shouldn’t see much time in this contest, expect starting running backs, wide receivers, and offensive lineman to see at least a full quarter of action. Josh Johnson is a journeyman, who has shone in the preseason and Brett Rypien can get the job done against third-stringers. That helps Denver to win this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
The one thing to like about preseason games is that there’s never a point where a team takes their foot off the gas. If it’s the regular season and your club is up by 20 points with 10 minutes left in the contest, you are looking to run out the clock. Not so in the preseason. Teams need to evaluate how their third and fourth-string players will perform, so they will be going full speed until the end. That helps to drive up the score.
Josh Johnson and Brett Rypien are both quality backups who can put up big numbers, especially in a preseason game. The Cowboys have three guys battling for the final two quarterback spots on the roster, including Central Michigan phenom Cooper Rush. These guys are going to be airing out the ball, as the Cowboys look to get their young wide receivers some game-time experience.
Take Denver to win, 24-17.