NFC East Football Previews – Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals
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Cowboys vs. Cardinals Matchup / Lines
Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 25 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, AZ.
Broadcast: NFL Network
Cowboys vs Cardinals lines by SI
Pointspread: Cowboys -7
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The Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals renew an old NFC East rivalry in a Christmas Day showdown in the desert. Kickoff from the University of Phoenix Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.(ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on the NFL Network.
Dallas never expected to be playing for pride at this juncture of the season, but that is exactly what is on the line in this game. Also on the line is the job of interim head coach Jason Garrett as well as anyone else who is not committed to finishing the season on a winning note.
Garrett has done a good job so far with four wins in his first six games including a 33-30 win over Washington last Sunday as a 9 ½-point home favorite in a game that had no business being that close. The win raised Dallas’s record to 5-9 straight-up on the year and 6-8 against the spread after starting the season 1-7 both SU and ATS.
The Cowboys have also been getting it done with backup QB John Kitna at the helm, who has filled in admirably for the injured Tony Romo. Kitna has completed 66.1 percent of his passes and has thrown for 2,250 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games. TE Jason Whitten leads the team in receptions with 82 for 911 yards and RB Felix Jones is the team’s leading rusher with 642 yards on 158 carries.
The main problem with Dallas remains on the defensive side of the ball, as it is ranked 25th in the league overall and 31st in points allowed; giving up an average of 28.3 points per game. It is especially vulnerable to the pass; giving up an average of 256.6 yards per game.
Everyone was concerned when Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner decided to retire and WR Anquon Boldin left for Baltimore, but few imagined things would end up this bad. The Cardinals have gone from playing in the Super Bowl in 2008 to most likely having a top 5 pick in next year’s draft.
Last week’s 19-12 loss to Carolina as a 2 ½-point road underdog was a new low considering the Panthers had only won one game all season. The Cardinals are now 4-10 SU and ATS on the season and in last place of a division that is currently led by two teams(Seattle and St. Louis) that have a 6-8 record.
Arizona obviously took a huge step backwards on offense with the loss of Warner and Boldin, but its defense has been equally as bad. The Cardinals are ranked 31st in league in total offense and 27th in scoring, while their defense is ranked 27th overall and 29th in points allowed.
Dallas is 2-2 ATS in its last four games on the road and 5-1 ATS in its last six games overall. The total has gone ‘over’ in 12 of its last 13 games overall.
Arizona is 1-5 ATS in its last five home games and 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in four of its last five games.
The Cardinals actually beat the Cowboys 30-24 in overtime as a 4 ½-point home underdog the last time they played, but that was in 2008 and this is 2010.
As strange as it sounds, this is the first game that Arizona is absolutely playing for nothing after last week’s loss officially ended its shot at repeating as NFC West champions. This simply means the Cardinals could possibly play worse than they already have.
The Pick: Dallas -7 and OVER
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David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.