The Dallas Cowboys are playing the Houston Texans on Sunday, and it’s hard to work up a scenario where you can convince yourself that the Cowboys will lose. That’s not a normal thing in the NFL, most games are expected to be at least somewhat competitive. But the 9-3 Cowboys seem like overwhelming favorites to beat the 1-10-1 Texans, and the oddsmakers agree. The Cowboys are 17 point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook and the real question seems to be whether the Cowboys will cover.
So we checked in on what some NFL observers think.
There is no such thing as a cupcake matchup in the NFL. But the Texans are close, like a box the Cookie Society might serve. Their season-long struggles underscore the sweet spot Dallas has reached in its schedule. Houston has two non-losses this year: a Week 1 tie against the Indianapolis Colts, whom the Cowboys just outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarter, and a Week 5 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, whom the Cowboys draw next week. Contain running back Dameon Pierce, and this shouldn’t be close.
Cowboys 34 Texans 10
A 24-point victory would cover the 17-point spread.
Lorenzo Reyes: Cowboys 33, Texans 10
Dallas is averaging 39.8 points per game over its last five. It is playing the Texans, who have won one game this season and are averaging 15.7 all year. The line is huge, but so is the mismatch.
Richard Morin: Cowboys 33, Texans 17
This game won’t be close, but something tells me the Texans find a way to cover the spread with a garbage-time field goal.
Lance Pugmire: Cowboys 38, Texans 10
If you watched the fourth quarter of Dallas’ blitz of the Colts Sunday night, here’s more of the same as the Cowboys enter as the week’s biggest favorite.
Almost all predictions have the Cowboys covering the 17-point spread, which is a really huge spread. But the Texans are just that bad.
... take the Cowboys and lay the points. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys shut out the Texans. Their defense is that dominant, even if we see mostly backups in the second half. They are first in defensive DVOA and the Texans’ offense is dead last in DVOA. The Cowboys’ offense also matches up well with the Texans’ defense, which is much better against the pass than against the run, and the Cowboys love to run the ball with Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. They will be able to move the ball on the ground, dominate time of possession and keep the defense fresh, which is a great recipe for the league’s best defense to post its first shutout of the season.
My Prediction: Cowboys win 27-6
Given the Cowboys’ defensive prowess, and the limited abilities of the Texans’ offense, it looks like Dallas could actually cover the huge 17-point spread. But in the NFL anything can happen.
Some of the BTB staff have been picking games using Tallysight. Below are our picks for the Cowboys game and the rest of the NFL in Week 14.