Dallas (8-4) at Washington (6-6)
When: Sunday, December 12th 2021
Where: FedEx Field,
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Dallas -5/49
Last year, the Washington Football Team got hot towards the end of the season and ended up winning the NFC East and giving the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs a run for their money. Well, it appears the Football Team wants to repeat that feat. Washington heads into a Week 14 showdown against the Dallas Cowboys on a four-game winning streak that was started with a win over the Bucs in Week 10. Byes don’t help all teams, but it sure helped Washington who was a four-game skid before getting the week off to prepare for the Bucs. The defense has been fantastic. A complete turnaround from the first half of the season. The Football Team trails the Cowboys by two games and they will play each other again in two weeks in Arlington. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke has sparked the offense lately with his play and has a passer rating of 110 during the current streak.
The Cowboys were a perfect 7-0 against the spread, but have gone just 2-3 ATS since. They will come in with extra rest after beating the New Orleans Saints on the road last Thursday night 27-17. That broke a two-game skid and kept Washington two back for the time being. The Cowboys are hoping to get close to 100% on defense with DeMarcus Lawrence returning from the IR last week after missing 10 games. Randy Gregory was back at practice this week off his IR stint and could be activated Sunday. Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons has done the heavy lifting, but the three combined will present problems for opposing quarterbacks. Dallas is also looking for a little revenge after being swept by the Football Team in 2020.
With a win on Sunday, Dallas can put a stranglehold on the division as it would open up a three-game lead on Washington and idle Philadelphia (6-7) with four games left. Dallas got their two best receivers back on the field for the win over New Orleans. CeeDee Lamb finished with 122 yards from scrimmage, while Amari Cooper had two catches for 41 combined yards. Quarterback Dak Prescott finished with 238 passing yards, throwing for one touchdown and one interception. Running back Ezekiel Elliott still doesn’t seem 100% and rushed for just 45 yards. Tony Pollard stepped up last week with 71 rushing yards, including a game-changing 58-yard touchdown run. Dallas’ defense picked off Saints quarterback Taysom Hill four times, including three straight times in the final six and a half minutes of the game. The Cowboys have won six of their last eight trips to Washington and have covered the spread in five of their six road games this season.
Washington is no stranger to December playoff pushes. Since 2000, they have made five playoff appearances and always came into December with a losing record. Washington won’t have a quarterback controversy the rest of the season after it was announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will undergo season-ending hip surgery. Heinicke has led the team to four consecutive wins and thrown just two interceptions in that span. Last week he finished with 196 passing yards and two touchdowns with one pick in the 17-15 at Las Vegas. Antonio Gibson led the ground attack with 88 yards rushing on 23 carries to go along with 23 receiving yards and a touchdown. Tight end Logan Thomas caught the other touchdown pass and finished with a team-high 48 receiving yards, but will miss the rest of the season. The defense has allowed just 286.7 yards per game during the winning streak, compared with 361.3 during the four-game skid.
Washington has some key injury concerns, but they have been playing some inspired ball with Heinicke and a vastly improved defense. Dallas still doesn’t seem right offensively after the hot start to the season. I can see this coming down to a field goal, so I’ll take the points.
Pick: Washington +4.5
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