The Dallas Cowboys look to improve to 4-8 as they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. Both teams have high powered offenses and suspect defenses. Can the Colts overcome their injuries, or will the Cowboys talent prevail?
The early spread on this game is Colts (-5.5). Here are five of the key aspects and what to watch out for when betting. All stats are from NFL.com unless otherwise noted. Lines from Cooper’s Picks.
The Dallas Cowboys last game was on Thanksgiving. The Indianapolis Colts last played on Sunday Night football. Therefore, the Cowboys have had three more days to prepare for greatness.
The Colts have been playing without many of their offensive weapons. These include Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Mike Hart, Anthony Gonzalez, and Austin Collie. They’ve also been without many of their linebackers and Bob Sanders, damaging the defense’s effectiveness.
The Colts offense relies on precision and perfect timing, and it’s hard to replace that with inexperienced backups. Manning hasn’t been able to be as productive in the past few weeks.
#3: Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs. Dallas Cowboy Passing Defense
The Colts have the NFL’s #1 passing offense, an area where the Cowboys have struggled to defend. The Cowboys passing defense is ranked 23rd, and their opponent QB rating average of 101.4 is fourth worst in the NFL. Their 7.9 yards per catch average is fourth worst, and their 66.9 completion percentage is third worst. Their 23 passing touchdowns allowed is tied for second worst only to the Broncos.
Remember, though: The Colts offensive attack has been limited from injuries, so their passing game hasn’t been as effective and might not play up to their #1 ranking until players return from injury.
#4: Indianapolis Colts Defense
The Colts defense has surrendered 26 points or more in three of their past four games. They have played against other prolific passing attacks from the Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, and New England Patriots.
The Colts defense is wounded, slow, and cannot be trusted against a productive offense.
#5: Indianapolis Colts Past Four Games
The Colts are 1-3 in their past four games. They have lost road games to the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots while getting dominated by the San Diego Chargers. The Colts are struggling, and the Cowboys have been rejuvenated under Jason Garrett. They’re a Roy Williams blunder away from being 3-0 under Garrett.
Very difficult game to pick. The more Peyton Manning loses, the harder it is for me to pick against the Colts because I think he’ll be due for a victory. The Cowboys are the hotter team, but the Colts should be more desperate as they’re about to lose their cling to the AFC South.
The Cowboys passing defense is atrocious and amongst the NFL worst in multiple categories. Combined with Peyton Manning, home field advantage, and the fear of being 6-6, and I just think the Colts are going to squeak one out here. I wouldn’t weigh an opinion of the Chargers debacle too heavily because the Chargers have always given Manning difficulty. Finally, I don’t think the Cowboys can pressure Manning, which will be vital.
On a side note, the total is currently 47.5. With these offenses and defenses and in a domed facility, I’d go over.
Against the Spread: Dallas Cowboys (+5.5)
Straight: Indianapolis Colts
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Week 13 Predictions Against the Spread (Complete Version)
Cooper’s Picks, November 30, 2010.
NFL.com, November 30, 2010.
Pro Football Injury List from covers.com. Accessed November 30, 2010.