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It’s an inter-conference matchup on Sunday, featuring the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL in the 7-0 Steelers, visiting the only team yet to cover a spread in eight games in the 2-6 Dallas Cowboys inside AT&T Stadium as part of the NFL’s Week 9 slate.
This is the first meeting between the two historic franchises since 2016, with Dallas winning in Pittsburgh, 35-30. The Steelers are looking for their first win against the Cowboys since 2008, trailing in the all-time series 17-15, with three of those encounters coming in the Super Bowl.
Steelers are Heavy Favorites
The Steelers are one of two double-digit favorites this weekend, with the Chiefs, who are laying 11 points at home to the Panthers, as the other. It’s no coincidence they are the two best teams in the AFC, and maybe in all of football. Pittsburgh knocked off rival Baltimore in the marquee matchup of Week 8 to remain unblemished and put two games between themselves and the Ravens for the AFC North division lead.
The last time they started 7-0? 1978. Their result that year? Super Bowl Champions. Their opponent in the Super Bowl? The Dallas Cowboys. Since 1970, 38 teams have started a season a perfect 7-0. All of those teams went on to make the playoffs, and exactly half of them advanced to the Super Bowl. Most predict that that 7-0 record will be 8-0 at the end of the day this Sunday.
QB Carousel in Jerry’s World
It’s been a disappointing season in Big D, and on Sunday, the Cowboys will start their fourth different quarterback when either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush gets the nod under center. Andy Dalton replaced Dak Prescott after the latter broke his ankle in Week 5. Dalton was concussed two weeks later and then placed on the Covid-19 reserve list, paving the way for Ben DiNucci to make his first career start in front of the world this past Sunday night against the Eagles.
DiNucci’s predictably uninspiring play forced Mike McCarthy to look to the practice squad for a replacement. A decision is expected on Gilbert or Rush by Saturday.
Betting Line and Pick
As noted, the Steelers are the biggest favorite of the weekend, laying 13.5 in Dallas, with an over/under of 42. Pittsburgh is 5-2 to the OVER this season and 6-1 ATS, and if the Cowboys fail to cover this number, they’ll be the first team in NFL history to start a season 0-9 against the number. Currently, they share the 0-8 distinction with two other teams.
This could be ugly with an offense that hasn’t scored a touchdown in two full games. A quarterback that has yet to take a snap this season is going up against a top-5 defense. It’s a defense that was also shored up by the addition of LB Avery Williamson, who was acquired from the Jets prior to the trade deadline.
Traditionally a build-through-the-draft type of team, Williamson became just the fourth player the Steelers have acquired in-season in the last 25 years. However, he is the second in as many years, as the team added Minkah Fitzpatrick in a splash deal last season.
Pick: Steelers -13.5