This game is a strange one for the Dallas Cowboys. Their opponent, the Tennessee Titans, have nothing to play for this week, but everything to play for next week when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a consequence, they are resting some starters who are banged up or could just use a break.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys do have something to play for this week, even though capturing the NFC East is a remote possibility. But they will go at it with everything they have, and this has left DraftKings Sportsbook to place a 12.5-point spread on the game in the Cowboys favor, and even that line has been growing over the past couple of days.
So are people taking that big of a spread? Mostly, yes. A quick tour of some sites shows that almost everyone thinks the Cowboys will cover.
The pick: Cowboys -12.5. The Titans are a gritty team, and that grittiness earned them the No. 1 seed in the AFC last season despite playing with an NFL-record different amount of players due to injury. This season, the Titans just couldn’t overcome that adversity. Willis is a very raw rookie quarterback operating behind a terrible offensive line, and he has a subpar wide receiving corps and offensive coordinator to work with. The defense plays tough, but it is injured just about everywhere. We are looking at a potential blowout.
For some, a spread of 12 points seems high considering the Titans have been leading the AFC South all season. But those critics might not have actually watched this team play over the past month. It’s hard to see Tennessee breaking through against a surging Dallas team still motivated even though their chances of earning the first-round bye are minimal at best.
How is Tennessee going to score? That’s the question you have to ask yourself. And if Henry sits this one out to give him more time to heal with the division on the line against the Jaguars next week, the number of game-changers left on offense dropped to zero.
So a double-digit spread might actually be too low. Dallas is out to make a statement at the end of the year and it doesn’t feel like the Cowboys run into much resistance in Music City on Thursday night.
Prediction: Cowboys 38, Titans 13
The Behavior Bets model doesn’t have high hopes for Tennessee this week. The defense will do its best, but it will likely be unable to stay off the field. Getting worn down against the top-scoring rate offense in the NFL isn’t a good recipe for success. The Titans’ offense won’t be able to keep pace.
Dallas covers in a big victory that may even end up bigger than projected.
Cowboys Titans Prediction
Cowboys 26, Titans 10
Most picks and predictions see Dallas in a blowout and covering the large spread. With Tennessee showing little desire to win, it’s hard to see it any other way.
Some of the BTB staff have been picking games using Tallysight. Here are the picks for Week 17.