Cowboys vs. Vikings NFL Week 11 Best Bets: Can Dallas Beat Minnesota in a Close Game Again?

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Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

The Dallas Cowboys (6-3) just had a disappointing overtime loss in Green Bay after leading 28-14 in the fourth quarter. The Minnesota Vikings (8-1) had the year’s most thrilling overtime win in Buffalo after completing a 17-point comeback in one of the most improbable fourth quarters of all time.

But despite the Vikings having a two-game edge in record and home-field advantage, the Cowboys are a 1.5-point road favorite with a total of 47.5 points at many of the best sportsbooks. Should the Cowboys be favored, or is Minnesota going to defy the NFL odds again and win another close game?

We have some NFL picks and predictions for one of the biggest games of Week 11.

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Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, November 20, 2022 – 04:25 PM EST at U.S. Bank Stadium

Last Meeting Recap

Week 8, 2021: Cowboys 20 - Vikings 16

These teams met on Sunday Night Football of 2021 Halloween in a game that introduced Dallas backup quarterback Cooper Rush to the NFL world. Rush had to make his first start for Dak Prescott, who had a little injury situation that week.

The Vikings were a 3-point home favorite with Dallas having the better season to that point, but no one knew how the quarterback would respond in his first start on the road.

Rush ended up doing quite well as he passed for 325 yards and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Amari Cooper in the final minute in a 20-16 win. We know from this season that Rush is more than just a one-game wonder, but we also know that the Cowboys are in better hands with Prescott going forward.

But that was a tight game last year that was tied at 13 going into the fourth quarter. While the Vikings took a lead with a field goal, the Cowboys did them one better with Rush’s touchdown drive. Kirk Cousins was unable to answer in the final 51 seconds that day.

Cousins finished that game with 184 passing yards, his third-lowest total since 2021. It was not a good look to get outplayed at home by Rush, but things will be different this week.


Is Minnesota’s Close-Game Success Sustainable?

The Vikings (8-1) are tied with the Eagles, who handed them their only loss in Week 2, for the best record in the NFL. But unlike the Eagles who never trailed after halftime until Monday night against Washington, the Vikings have done it by winning a historic number of close games this early in the season.

Minnesota is 7-0 in close games, including a 5-0 record at fourth-quarter comeback opportunities, meaning games where the offense had the ball and trailed by one possession in the fourth quarter or overtime. These are absurdly good records because the rest of the NFL is 40-89-1 (.312) at fourth-quarter comeback opportunities this season.

Minnesota has already won three games this season after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter: down 10 points against the Lions, down 10 points against the Commanders, and down 10 points against the Bills.

The Vikings had three such comeback wins in the last 11 seasons combined (2011-2021). Now we have seen it three times in the last seven games.

Why Isn't It Sustainable?

This is simply not a sustainable way to win games, and it is not like the Vikings are doing it against the best of the best. Coming back in Buffalo was one thing, but the Lions are not a good opponent this year, and the Commanders still look like a non-playoff team despite pushing the Vikings and beating the Eagles the last two weeks.

Minnesota has won seven straight games that were each decided by 1-to-8 points, tying the record by the 1996 Jaguars and 2020 Chiefs for the longest such streaks in NFL history.

That means the Vikings can be all alone in the history books if they beat the Cowboys by one possession this week. But at some point, this team is going to need to play better to win a game, because it cannot keep relying on fourth-quarter comebacks and goofy fumble touchdowns like Buffalo’s botched quarterback sneak.

The 8-1 Record

The 2022 Vikings are the 95th NFL team since 1940 to start exactly 8-1. Minnesota’s plus-35 scoring differential ranks 94th out of 95 teams.

The only team lower was the 1976 Raiders (plus-11), who finished 16-1 and won the Super Bowl over the Vikings after years of being close in the AFC.

But the closest team in scoring differential is the 1987 Chargers, who were plus-37 during the strike year with replacement games. That team went from 8-1 to 8-7 and missed the playoffs.

So, there are the 2022 Vikings sandwiched between a team that never won another game and a team that never lost another that season. Minnesota is unlikely to repeat either of those fates, but just be aware that this team is historically out of line with a typical 8-1 team.


Will Dallas Shut Down Jefferson Again?

We know the Cowboys can score at a high level, but the Vikings have scored at least 20 points in every game this season except for the ugly 24-7 Philadelphia loss. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson is crucial to this team’s success:

  • When Jefferson has at least 100 receiving yards, Minnesota is 15-5 (.750) since 2020.
  • When Jefferson has under 70 receiving yards, Minnesota is 4-9 (.308) since 2020.

Last year, the Cowboys held Jefferson to 21 yards on two catches. The catches are still tied for his career low in a game, and the yards were his career low until he had 14 yards against Detroit this year.

That was great work by Dallas, and it helped keep the Vikings to 16 points. Jefferson just had 193 yards in Buffalo in what was probably the game of his career with some incredible catches, including that fourth-and-18 miracle late in the game.

But we have already seen this year where Jefferson set his career high in yards (184 against the Packers), then come out and put up 48 yards in Philadelphia the next week. But since Week 4, Jefferson has not finished under 98 yards in any game.

Cowboys Know How to Hold Receivers

The Cowboys were just embarrassed by Green Bay rookie wideout Christian Watson, who had 107 yards and three touchdowns. But the Cowboys held down the other receivers for the most part.

Dallas has only allowed one offense (Rams) to break 210 net passing yards in a game this year, and that was largely due to Cooper Kupp’s 75-yard touchdown. Before Watson’s big game on Sunday, Kupp’s play was the only 20-yard touchdown pass the Cowboys allowed this season.

A big part of the defensive success is pass rush as sack yardage is removed for that net number. Dallas’s 35 sacks and the great pass rush led by Micah Parsons could be the difference maker in this one if it prevents Cousins from finding Jefferson in important moments.


Cowboys vs. Vikings: Game Prediction

We started this preview with a recap of the Cowboys beating Minnesota in a close game with Cooper Rush at quarterback in 2021. But we did not even mention that it happened in 2020 as well with backup Andy Dalton throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz with 1:37 left in a 31-28 win despite Dallas being a 7-point road underdog.

So, if Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys can win in Minnesota with two backup quarterbacks, it would look bad for him to not get the job done with Prescott too, especially after last week’s disappointing loss.

Since 2021, the Cowboys are 10-3 ATS in road games (5-1 as road favorites) and 6-1 ATS after a loss, the best records in the league. The Cowboys are also an impressive 13-5 ATS as a favorite since 2021.

Sure, we shared a lot of these records last week and the Cowboys still blew the game in Green Bay. But sometimes, you give up a long touchdown pass to Aaron Rodgers on a fourth-and-7 with a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, and things snowball from there.

It was the first time in 196 opportunities that the Cowboys started the fourth quarter with a 14-point lead and did not win the game.

Picks and Prop

The Vikings are on an all-time streak of close wins, but let’s go with the opposite of last week’s results with the Cowboys getting the tight win in a game that hits the Over.

As for a prop pick, the Tony Pollard train should keep rolling in this matchup. Pollard scored a 42-yard touchdown run in Minnesota in 2020, one of his six rushing touchdowns of 40-plus yards in his career. Only Derrick Henry (seven) has more since 2019. Pollard is too good to pass up for your NFL picks right now.

Score Prediction: Cowboys 27 - Vikings 24

NFL Prop Pick: Tony Pollard Anytime Touchdown Scorer (-136) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Tony Pollard Anytime Touchdown Scorer (-136)
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NFL Pick: Cowboys -1.5 (-110) at Bovada

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Cowboys -1.5 (-110)
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NFL Pick: Over 47.5 Points (-110) at Bovada

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Over 47.5 Points (-110)
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*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.