The Dallas Cowboys (11-4) will host the Arizona Cardinals (10-5) in one of the biggest games of Week 17. Both played in prime time this week with the Cowboys crushing Washington and the Cardinals falling again to the Colts on Christmas night.
Can Arizona rebound or is Dallas too hot right now? Keep reading to check the NFL odds and start cashing out!
Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, January 2, 2022 – 04:25 PM EST at AT&T Stadium
The Cowboys, who are a league-best 12-3 ATS, are a 4.5-point favorite over the Cardinals (9-6 ATS) at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Do the Cowboys extend their winning streak to five games and help the Rams move one step closer to clinching the NFC West?
Cardinals: Full Collapse?
Arizona has gone from the last unbeaten in the league (7-0) to just 3-5 over the last eight games. That has seen the Cardinals fall from the NFC’s No. 1 seed to the current No. 5 seed. Injuries have certainly played a big part. Kyler Murray missed three games and he misses top wideout DeAndre Hopkins even more. The Cardinals have also had to get by without J.J. Watt on defense.
But in the Indianapolis loss on Christmas, the Cardinals were also without running back James Conner and wide receiver Rondale Moore. Still, there is talent on this offense as Chase Edmonds shined in Conner’s absence and Antoine Wesley caught his first NFL touchdown. Murray needed to do a better job of finding A.J. Green for more than one catch.
However, the Cardinals seemed to miss their holder and center Rodney Hudson (COVID) the most against the Colts. A bad snap from center led to a safety, and the different holder on kicks got to kicker Matt Prater, who missed two field goals and an extra point.
When losing a 22-16 game, those points really come back to haunt. But while the Cardinals have been undermanned, they still underperformed against teams also experiencing injuries and COVID.
The Cardinals infamously lost to Green Bay on a night where Aaron Rodgers was without his starting receivers. Arizona could not take advantage of the Rams when Jalen Ramsey was ruled out on the game day for COVID. The Cardinals totally bombed Detroit even though the Lions were missing their best tight end and running back.
Then the Colts were down three starting offensive linemen and All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard on Saturday. The Cardinals still could not stop Jonathan Taylor from breaking 100 rushing yards. Arizona is fading at a time when Dallas is surging.
The Cowboys scored more points in the first half against Washington (42) than the Cardinals have scored in their last two games combined (28).
Cowboys: Is This the Year?
The Cowboys have infamously not been to the NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season. Arizona has been there twice in that time, including a Super Bowl in the 2008 season. But the Cowboys have claimed the NFC East and will host at least one playoff game this year.
This game could have a playoff atmosphere, and Arizona is the best team the Cowboys have faced since they lost 19-9 in Kansas City in Week 11. That was during a November to forget when the Cowboys were 1-3 with a sputtering offense.
But the skill players and left tackle Tyron Smith have gotten healthier, and even without Smith on Sunday night, Dak Prescott was in rare form. He passed for 322 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone just weeks after a rough outing against this Washington defense.
Dallas has one of the best receiving corps in the league and everyone was productive in the team’s most complete game of the season. The defense also continued to dominate on third down and collected two more interceptions.
Dallas has 14 takeaways during this four-game winning streak. The Cardinals do not turn the ball over a lot, but the defense has not been taking it away much in games against quarterbacks not named Andy Dalton. Arizona had the No. 1 scoring defense when the team was 7-0, but since the schedule toughened up, Arizona has had most of its worst games of the season on defense. Dallas is going to be an incredible test for this defense.
If NFL teams were stocks, the Cardinals would be sinking the fastest and the Cowboys would be red hot right now. Even if Conner returns to the Arizona backfield, the Cowboys have more than enough weapons to win a shootout.
With the way the Dallas defense and Arizona offense (without Hopkins) has been playing, that should not even be necessary. I really like the Cowboys to cover in this one for your NFL picks this Sunday.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.