Sunday Night Football Predictions
Will Raiders Or Cowboys Fall Out Of Playoffs?
After winning the NFC East last season, the Dallas Cowboys were considered favorites to control their division again in 2017. However, numerous controversies engulfed the Cowboys early in the season, leading to a dire prognosis for the rest of this campaign.
Oakland was having so much fun to begin the season, but their fortunes turned quickly into a difficulty when they lost four of their first six games. Oakland recovered around week seven but hasn’t been consistent enough to claim top spot in a weak AFC West.
- Game: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders
- Pick: Raiders Beat +3.0 Spread, Under 46.5
- NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
Cowboys at Raiders - Vital Trends
Bounceback Game For Derek Carr
After a great 2016 regular season cut short by injury, Derek Carr has been infuriatingly inconsistent this season, one of the reasons why the Raiders are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs. Last season, he had a 96.7 passer rating, a number that’s dropped to 88.8 after 12 starts in 2017. One pattern to emerge for Derek takes place whenever he has a bad game. He typically follows poor outings with strong performances. Last week was uninspiring for Carr, which could point to a bounceback game for Derek.
Raiders Receivers Fill In For Cooper
Amari Cooper’s considered a top target for pivot Derek Carr, but stats show that this battery hasn’t been very effective this year. For whatever reason, Cooper seems unable to reign in Derek’s tosses lately, resulting in a horrid 48.8 catch percent, the worst of his young career. Comparatively, Crabtree, Cook and Roberts have catch percentages above 62, providing a steady pair of hands for Derek. Cooper will miss this game, which could help improve Carr’s reception rate, and the Raiders offense as a whole.
One More Game Without Ezekiel
Noted bulldozer Ezekiel Elliott will miss one more game because of his suspension, removing the most dynamic offensive presence of the Cowboys for another week. In the four games prior to his suspension being upheld, Elliott averaged 126.5 yards per game rushing. Including 5 rushing TDs and a receiving touchdown. Morris and Smith did their best to fill in, but Ezekiel’s ability to break tackles and quickly read plays forces opposing defenses to key in on the Cowboys star running back, opening the field for the rest of the offense.
Prescott Not The Same Without Zeke
The additional space that Ezekiel Elliott creates with his superb rushing abilities benefits Dak Prescott more than any other member of Dallas. Without Elliott, opposing defenders have the option of focusing on Dak, preventing the type of play-action sets where Prescott shines brightly. With Zeke in the backfield, defenses must prevent easy rushing gains, before adjusting to play-action passes which may result in a Prescott scamper down the field. Ezekiel and Dak playing together forces difficult decision-making, even for experienced secondary and linebacker units.
Low-Profile Injuries Hurt Cowboys The Most
There’s not a whole lot of discussion about the Cowboys that doesn’t revolve around Dak and Zeke, but injuries to key contributors have made things even more difficult for Dallas this year. Tyron Smith is questionable for Sunday night because of a back injury. Without Tyron’s superb blocking, Dallas lost twice while scoring only 16 points against the Eagles and Chargers. The Cowboys defense is on the limp too, with linebacker Sean Lee questionable due to a hamstring injury and cornerback Orlando Scandrick out with back fractures.
NFL Sunday Night X-Factors
The Raiders and the Cowboys rarely play against each other, depriving statheads of a detailed breakdown of the matchup history. Dallas has won the last two meetings in 2009 and 2013. Before that, the Raiders won three in a row against the Cowboys, between 1998 and 2005. Overall, the Raiders have a 6-5 advantage over Dallas since 1974.
Home advantage has been good to Oakland this year, creating four of their six victories this season, including an exciting must-win against the Chiefs in week seven. Since a one-point loss to the Chargers in week six, Oakland has won three games in a row at home.
The spread for this game started around -1.5 for Dallas before the money shifted the line to -3 for the Cowboys, making it easier for the Raiders to cover the spread.
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