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It’s an NFC matchup in Minneapolis as the 2-7 Dallas Cowboys are in Minnesota to battle the 4-5 Vikings inside U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday as part of the Week 11 slate in the NFL. The Vikings won last year’s meeting in Dallas, 28-24, and a win on Sunday would tie the all-time series at 16 wins apiece, which includes seven postseason matchups.
Minnesota has not beaten the Cowboys at home in 10 years, after stringing together five straight in that scenario.
In any other division, and in most any other year, the 2-7 Cowboys would have been left for dead long ago, especially with their run of bad luck at the quarterback position. But because the Eagles lead the NFC East with a record of 3-5-1, it’s still up for grabs, and Dallas is very much in the hunt.
Dak Prescott is still lost for the season, but after struggling performances from Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert, Andy Dalton returns to the lineup after missing the last two games with a concussion.
Defensively, stopping (or at least containing) the run will be paramount for Dallas. In Week 4, the Cowboys allowed a franchise-record 307 rushing yards to the Browns, and on Sunday, they’ll face the league’s leading rusher in Dalvin Cook.
Many critics dismissed the Vikings following their 1-5 start, and after the team traded Yannick Ngakoue to Baltimore in October, it seemed to signal a white flag from within as well. However, Minnesota has since reeled off three straight wins, all against division opponents, to climb within a game of .500 and two games out of the final playoff spot.
As noted, Minnesota boasts the top rusher in the NFL in Cook, who has amassed 465 rushing yards during the three-game win streak. He ran for 97 and a touchdown and caught seven passes for an additional 86 yards in the meeting with Dallas last year.
Betting Line and Pick
The Vikings are seven-point favorites in this one, with the over/under set at 48. If you recall, Dallas was approaching futile status prior to last week’s bye.
Entering their Week 9 matchup with the Steelers, the Cowboys were 0-8 ATS and would have become the first team to ever start a season 0-9 had they failed to cover against Pittsburgh. They escaped that futility but still lost the game straight up.
The Vikings, meanwhile, are 6-3 ATS and 2-2 at home. It’s worth mentioning that the line opened with the Vikings as 9.5-point favorites, so it has come down considerably.
There has been a lot of money going to America’s Team this week, especially with the return of Dalton and the public thinking the Vikings are in for a letdown after three consecutive division games. But under Mike Zimmer, Minnesota is 11-5 ATS as home favorites against non-divisional opponents since the start of the 2017 season. With Dalton as the starter, the Cowboys has lost 38-10 and 25-3 this year. Lay the points.
Pick: Vikings -7