The Dallas Cowboys (1-2) look to get back to even in the NFL standings this Sunday when the Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans (2-2) visit Cowboys Stadium.
Coming out of their bye week, NFL sportsbooks favor the Cowboys by a touchdown to pick up their second win of the young season and further jumble the messy NFC East race. Tennessee enters the game off a very sloppy 26-20 loss on its home field to the Denver Broncos.
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The NFL betting season is already at the quarter-pole, and there’s no clear-cut favorite in the NFC.
We all pegged New Orleans, Minnesota, Green Bay and Dallas as title contenders before the season began, but none of those four teams have truly emerged as frontrunners.
The Super Bowl champion Saints are 3-1, but all of their wins have been by only a few points.
Brett Favre has a passer rating in the neighborhood of his completion percentage for the Vikings, who have their only win against Detroit.
The Packers are in the best shape of the lot, but they’re far from dominant. Green Bay barely got past the Lions at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
The Cowboys started the season with losses to Washington and Chicago, but coming off a 27-13 win at Houston and a bye week, they’re in as good as shape as anyone.
Even at 1-2 SU and ATS, Dallas is only a half-game out of first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys are easily the best team in the division on paper as they get ready to host the Tennessee Titans (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) on Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium (4:15 PM ET, CBS).
Look, Dallas is still the most overvalued team on the NFL betting odds board, but the reality is all the contenders and quasi-contenders in the NFC (see: Atlanta and Chicago) are overrated.
Honestly, is there a NFC club on which you feel comfortable betting? I didn’t think so. Given the Cowboys’ performance against the Texans in Week 3, they might be the best of an unpredictable bunch.
Dallas opened as a 6½-point NFL spread favorite against Tennessee, while the total was listed at 42. It’s hard to side with the Titans in this spot after they folded against Denver at LP Field on Sunday.
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Following Tennessee’s 26-20 loss to the Broncos (+6), Jeff Fisher lamented his team’s lack of playmaking as the determining factor in the loss. It might be semantics, but the Titans made plenty of plays – just bad ones – against Denver.
Chris Hope’s pass interference penalty set up Kyle Orton’s 6-yard touchdown toss to Correll Buckhalter with 1:33 left to put the Broncos up 23-20, while Marc Mariani’s botching of the ensuing kickoff buried any decent chance of a Titans comeback.
Lost in the shuffle of the loss was Tennessee’s impressive showing against Denver’s rushing attack: The Titans held the Broncos to only 19 yards on the ground. Too bad Tennessee allowed 308 yards through the air; that doesn’t bode well with Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ passing game on tap.
Fifth in the NFL in total offense (391.7 YPG), Dallas has established itself as a pass-first team around Romo and weapons like Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and $54K man Dez Bryant.
Whether you agree with the strategy or not, the Cowboys should be able to throw the ball on Sunday. Romo went 23-of-30 for 284 yards with a score against the Texans to lead Dallas (+1.5) to the cash, while Williams caught five balls for 117 yards with two TDs.
Williams could be the main man again on Sunday. Bryant hurt his ribs and hip against Houston, although he wasn’t limited in practice on Monday. Witten (sprained MCL, knee), however, was limited in practice and is a question mark for Sunday’s matchup.
Other than with Witten, Wade Phillips has to be pleased with the progress on the injury front. Along with Bryant, offensive linemen Marc Colombo (knee) and Kyle Kosier (knee) appear ready to go, as is wide receiver Sam Hurd (hip). Tight end Martellus Bennett (undisclosed) wasn’t in pads on Monday.
Wide receiver Justin Gage (left hamstring) could be questionable for the Titans, who also need to stay disciplined if they’re to have a chance of covering against the Cowboys. Tennessee took 10 penalties for 111 yards against Denver to punctuate a mistake-filled loss that included a Chris Johnson fumble.