The Washington Football Team (6-8) desperately needs a win to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Dallas Cowboys (10-4), already the winners of the NFC East. In Week 14, Dallas came dangerously close to blowing a 24-point lead in Washington before hanging on for a 27-20 win. Keep reading to check the NFL odds and get some expert betting advice. Let’s begin.
Washington Football Team vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, December 26, 2021 – 08:20 PM EST at AT&T Stadium
The Cowboys (11-3 ATS) are a 10.5-point favorite over Washington (5-8-1 ATS) at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Dallas is tied with Green Bay for the best spread record in the league. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is 8-1 in his career against Washington, but two of the three interceptions he’s thrown in those games happened in Week 14. Can Washington pull off an upset?
Week 14 Recap: Cowboys 27, Washington 20
The Cowboys looked like they were going to blow Washington out in Week 14. Dallas relied on its turnover-happy defense to set up an 18-0 lead in the first quarter. Randy Gregory had an incredibly athletic interception of Taylor Heinicke, and Micah Parsons caused more havoc on a forced fumble that was returned for a 37-yard touchdown.
But that Gregory interception set up the offense for a 41-yard touchdown drive that would prove to be the only offensive touchdown of the game for Dallas. Washington settled in and continued to hold Prescott’s offense to field goals.
Despite trailing 27-8 in the fourth quarter, Washington got back into the game quickly with a touchdown drive followed by a pick-six thrown by Prescott with 4:13 left to make it 27-20. The Cowboys, who were missing running back Tony Pollard that day, went three-and-out, leaving backup quarterback Kyle Allen a chance at an amazing comeback. But that was snuffed out quickly as Gregory strip-sacked him and the Dallas offense ran out the clock.
Washington’s offense managed just one 20-yard play in the game, and the Cowboys racked up five sacks while forcing Heinicke into one of his worst games before he left injured. But it was still a rough game for Dallas’ offense as Prescott had two picks and four sacks.
What Changes on Sunday?
As the Saints showed last week in Tampa Bay, a division rematch when your season is on the line can be a big motivating factor. Ron Rivera has to get the best from his team with the playoffs looking dire after a 27-17 loss in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Washington had a COVID outbreak and were forced to play the Eagles with their third-string quarterback Garrett Gilbert.
There is a good chance Heinicke can return to action Sunday night, but he’ll have to solve the Dallas defense that crushed him in Week 14. In that game, Heinicke had his season-worst numbers in the rate of bad throws (24.0%) and the lowest rate of first downs per pass attempt (17.2%) according to Pro Football Reference. The Cowboys are tied with the Colts for the league lead with 31 takeaways on defense. Washington had a season-high four turnovers in Week 14.
But the Cowboys are also going to be looking for a cleaner offensive performance, especially since their players are fairly healthy after every position group has battled injuries or COVID this season. In the last three games, Dallas’ offense has not scored more than 21 points. Against the Giants on Sunday, the Cowboys again had to settle for three field goals, and their two touchdown drives were a combined 42 yards thanks to short fields set up by the defense.
The Cowboys should welcome a home game after three straight road trips, but anyone saying that makes them a bigger favorite is lying to you. This is a Dallas team that lost 36-33 in an overtime flag fest on Thanksgiving to the Raiders. Before that, the Cowboys beat Atlanta 43-3 one week after trailing 30-0 at home to the Broncos. Overall, Mike McCarthy is 4-7 ATS as a home favorite since last year.
Division rematches are hard to cover big spreads. Even when Washington played with a third-string quarterback and allowed 519 yards to the Eagles on Tuesday, the game was still decided by 10 points. Dallas needs an extra score than that to cover this one. I like Dallas to win the game, but I am going to trust Rivera to get his team’s best to keep this close enough for the cover to close your Sunday NFL picks.
*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.