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Dak Prescott, extra rest, and a healthy offensive line are why I’m taking the points and Dallas

The Cowboys head to New Jersey to take on the struggling Giants. We break down the pick against the spread.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When Monday Night Football kicks off, the Cowboys will have had 14 straight days of rest coming off a home drubbing of the Eagles, 37-10. The Giants come into this home matchup with four consecutive losses.

Before Dallas’ beatdown of the Eagles, they had lost three in a row, including on the road against the Jets. The Giants’ wins have come against Tampa Bay (2-5) and Washington (1-7) while the Cowboys have beaten the Giants (2-6), Washington (1-7), Miami (0-7), and Philadelphia (4-4). There aren’t any signature wins in the bunch.

The Cowboys are favored 6.5 over the Giants at DraftKings Sportsbook. The over/under sits at 48.5, the third-highest of the week.

Trends

The Cowboys are 4-3 ATS, 1-2 on the road and 3-1 at home ATS. The Giants are 3-5 ATS, 2-2 on the road and 1-3 at home ATS.

Dallas is 5-4 ATS after a bye since Jason Garrett took over as head coach.

Since 2018, the Cowboys are 5-7 ATS on the road, and the Giants are 2-9-1 ATS at home.

Since 2018, the Cowboys are 1-3 ATS as road favorites, and the Giants are 1-7 ATS as home underdogs.

Team Statistics

Dallas’s offense has been potent all season, averaging 27.1 points (6th) to New York’s 19.8 (22nd), and winning by an average of +9.4 points (4th) while the Giants have an average deficit of -7.5 (27th). Neither team has taken on the toughest schedule, as the Cowboys strength of schedule ranks 30th in the league while the Giants’ schedule ranks 23rd.

The Cowboys did blast the Cowboys in Week 1 in Dallas, 35-17, but the Giants have changed quite a bit since that game, as Daniel Jones has taken the starting job and Golden Tate is in the mix after serving his suspension.

The Cowboys lead the league in yards per play with 6.7 while the Giants rank 20th at 5.3. Defensively the Cowboys have given up 5.3 yards per play, ranking 11th, and the Giants have given up 6 yards per play, ranking 25th. With both teams having a similar strength of schedule, there’s not much wiggle room to dismiss these numbers, which show Dallas has been superior offensively and defensively to the Giants this season.

Dallas’ offensive line ranks third in DVOA and sixth in adjusted sack rate allowed while the Giants defensive line ranks 12th overall and seventh in adjusted sack rate. When Dallas is on offense, this will be a true battle between two good units. When he has a clean pocket, Prescott leads the league in adjusted completion percentage at 87.3 percent.

The Giants offensive line ranks 13th in DVOA and 21st in adjusted sack rate allowed while the Cowboys defensive line ranks 26th overall and 22nd in adjusted sack rate. The Giants don’t have a considerable advantage, but they’re also not at a disadvantage in pass protection and run blocking. When he has a clean pocket, Jones ranks 25th in adjusted completion percentage at 74.2 percent.

Takeaways Turnovers

Turnovers are one way an underdog can upset the favorite, especially in front of the home crowd. This week has the Cowboys at an exactly even turnover margin of 0.0, ranking them 18th while the Giants rank 28th at -1.1.

So far, Jones has turned the ball over seven times through interceptions and six times through fumbles while Prescott has seven interceptions, but just one fumble.

Game Script

With the Giants pass defense giving up the seventh-most yards per game and the most yards per attempt, Jones has needed to throw the ball the sixth-most times per game. The sixth most passes per game are more than Pat Shurmur would like for the rookie, especially when he’s averaging the 17th most yards passing.

Dallas has the no. 1 offense by a few different models, and Prescott will have a rested offensive line with LT Tyron Smith and RT La’El Collins getting close to 100 percent. They’ll also have a healthier Amari Cooper who has had ankle and quad issues, along with Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb, who have also had nagging injuries of late. The Cowboys should have no trouble putting up yards and points against the 28th ranked pass defense in DVOA.

The hope for the Giants will likely be to move the sticks with Saquon Barkley (who now looks back to 100 percent health) on the ground and short passing to Barkley, Tate, and Evan Engram while opening things up with Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard on occasion.

The Giants are also healthy and do have the horses to put up good offensive numbers at home, while the Cowboys defense is better than the Giants but still middling on the season. The trouble is Jones’ propensity for turning the ball over and his overall inaccuracy. The Giants’ hopes will likely fall on Jones’ back with the Cowboys poised to put up above-average offensive numbers.

Pick

I expect this game to be a nail-biter for bettors on either side. Both offenses are at full strength, and Jones is coming off one of his best games as a passer. But in the end, the Cowboys are more rested, have had longer to game plan, and have a better overall team and quarterback.

The line was up at a touchdown, but as of Monday morning is 6.5. It’s a sizable amount of points give up on the road, but I’m taking the Cowboys against the spread. They have the means to score without much pushback, and I expect the turnover numbers to lean Dallas’ way.

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