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The NFC East race is coming to a thrilling conclusion in Week 17. The 6-9 Dallas Cowboys have won three in a row to put themselves back into the race, while the 5-10 New York have lost three in a row after being in first place earlier this month. Whoever wins this matchup is then a Washington loss away from capturing the division crown.
Here is a closer look at the Cowboys and Giants heading into their matchup, along with betting trends and a free pick. Right now, Dallas is a 2.5-point favorite on the road.
Following the injury to quarterback Dak Prescott in the Week 5 matchup against the Giants, it seemed all hope was lost in Dallas. The Cowboys would lose their next four games, and up until three weeks ago sat a paltry 3-9. But now, three straight wins, all with 30 or more points scored and punctuated by a 37-17 win against the Eagles last week, put Dallas in a position to win the NFC East for the fourth time in seven seasons.
With Andy Dalton leading a suddenly hot offense, joined by running back Ezekiel Elliot and wide receivers like Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, Dallas' offense ranks seventh in the NFL with 264 passing yards and 396.5 total yards per game. However, they rank 16th with 25.1 points per game while also sitting 17th in rushing yards and third-down offense.
Although they've improved a little bit from their historically bad pace, the Cowboy defense is still allowing 30 points per game, the third-most in the NFL. They also allow 400 total yards per game, hurt by their league-worst rushing defense and fourth-worst third-down defense. Dallas also has just 29 sacks and nine interceptions, ranking in the bottom half of the league.
It was another rough start for the Giants, dropping their first five games of the year, including a 37-34 loss to Dallas. However, they managed to pull through and win five of their next seven games. Lately, though, New York has lost their last three, all of them by double-digits, and now will face potentially their first division title since 2011, or their fourth straight season with a top-10 draft pick.
With quarterback Daniel Jones having an inconsistent year and running back Wayne Gallman trying to replace the injured Saquon Barkley, New York is averaging just 17.1 points per game, the second-fewest in football. They also sit next-to-last with 317 yards per game and are in the bottom-five in both passing yards and third-down offense.
However, their defense has taken a step forward from the last couple of seasons. "Big Blue" is just inside the Top 10 with 22.5 points allowed per game while also sitting in the top half of the league with 371 yards allowed. They are also adequate against both the run and pass but rank only 25th on third-down defense. Finally, the Giants have 34 sacks in addition to 10 interceptions.
Beginning with the visitors, the 6-9 Cowboys are 5-10 ATS, which includes a 2-5 record on the road ATS and overall. However, all five of those covers this year have come within the last seven games. In addition, Dallas has beaten New York in their previous seven meetings, covering in all but one of them.
For the 5-10 Giants, they come in 8-7 ATS but are 2-5 at home, both ATS and straight up. They're the opposite has their opponents, covering just once in their last five games and winning only two of the previous eight games they've hosted against Dallas. However, New York is 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last five divisional games.
Both teams should be relatively healthy heading into the week, so it should be a fair fight. But I love the Cowboys in this one. Dallas' offense has been firing on all cylinders the last few weeks, while the defense has improved mightily. Meanwhile, New York's offense has been abysmal. Couple in the fact that Dallas has owned this rivalry for years, I think 2.5 points is way too close of a margin. Give me the Cowboys to win and cover, as they will then await their fate for the division.
Betting Pick: Dallas Cowboys (-2.5).