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NFL Picks Against The Spread: Cowboys Have To Figure Out Their Road Woes | TheSportsDay NFL Picks Against The Spread: Cowboys Have To Figure Out Their Road Woes | TheSportsDay

NFL picks against the spread: Cowboys have to figure out their road woes


The Dallas Cowboys have a problem. They’re probably going to have to go on the road in the playoffs.

Despite the Philadelphia Eagles’ struggles, they’re still the favorite to win the NFC East due to tiebreaker edges and an easier schedule. If the Eagles win the East, the Cowboys’ path to the Super Bowl would likely be three road playoff games. That’s bad news.

The Cowboys have a staggering home/road split this season. At home they’re 7-0. They have a +171 point differential at home and six of the seven wins have come by at least 20 points. Then they go on the road and they’re unrecognizable.

The Cowboys are 3-4 on the road with a -4 point differential. The Cowboys could become the first team dating back to at least 1933 to have a home point differential of at least +170 and a negative road point differential, according to Bobby Belt of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

Home-field advantage has rebounded after home teams posted a losing record through five weeks this season. Home teams are 126-98 this season, according to Covers.com. But even with home teams playing well, what the Cowboys are doing this season is well beyond the norm.

This week the Cowboys travel to face a Miami Dolphins team that has its own dilemma.

The Dolphins don’t have a win over a team currently over .500. The Denver Broncos have been over .500 briefly, but they’re 7-7 going into Week 16. That’s the Dolphins’ best win. If the NFL was run by the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee, Miami might be in trouble for not having a single quality win. But the Dolphins have, for the most part, won comfortably against bad teams. Their resume makes them a hard team to figure out.

Something has to change. Either the Cowboys will look a little better on the road or the Dolphins will get a true quality win. Miami is a small 1.5-point favorite over Dallas at BetMGM, and I’ll take the Dolphins. The Cowboys’ road problems are a real thing. I’d rather trust the Dolphins to beat a good team than the Cowboys to change who they are away from Dallas.

Here are the rest of the picks against the spread for Week 16 of the NFL season, with odds from BetMGM:

Saints (+4) over Rams

I worry about the Saints being in a look-ahead spot. Their Super Bowl comes in Week 17 when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That should be the NFC South championship game. But the wild-card window is still open for the Saints if they win Thursday night. The Saints have been a disappointment but this seems like a field goal game, if the Saints are properly motivated and not thinking about the Bucs.

Bengals (-2) over Steelers

I see the market still doesn’t believe in Jake Browning. All he has done is throw for 354, 275 and 324 yards in his last three starts, which were all wins. Ja’Marr Chase’s absence hurts, but this Steelers team looks cooked. Mason Rudolph isn’t changing that.

Chargers (+12) over Bills

It’s hard to take the Chargers. But there are a couple of factors in play. They just were utterly embarrassed and often teams have a dead cat bounce for a new coach. Also, this might be a little bit of a breather for the Bills. Yes, they need to keep winning to keep AFC East hopes alive and they’re not a wild-card lock either. But after playing the Eagles, Chiefs and Cowboys, it’ll be hard to get up for the Easton Stick-led Chargers

Another quarterback change isn’t going to help the Falcons. After last week’s loss to the Panthers, they have to know they are in trouble in the NFC South. Meanwhile, the Colts keep on finding ways to win. I don’t love the Colts on the road but this could be a big letdown game for the Falcons.

Seahawks (-2.5) over Titans

Seattle is another team I don’t completely trust on the road. But I also don’t think this Seahawks team came all this way, beating the Eagles in dramatic fashion to get back to 7-7 and revive their playoffs hopes, just to lose to a bad Titans team. Maybe I have too much faith in the Seahawks being good and the Titans being poor.

Vikings (+3.5) over Lions

Nick Mullens wasn’t bad in his first start for the Vikings. He just made some costly mistakes. He might eliminate some of that in his second start. And while it’s possible the Lions are completely back on track after blasting the Broncos last week, it’s still a team that had been struggling for multiple weeks before that. The Vikings can keep it close.

Jets (-3) over Commanders

If you’re heading to this game on Christmas Eve, nobody can ever question your devotion to the Jets. It’s a bit surprising Sam Howell gets another start for Washington, after Jacoby Brissett was much better off the bench last week. It sets up a really bad matchup against the Jets defense. The Jets offense will be unwatchable, but maybe slightly less putrid against the Commanders horrid defense? Just pass. On betting this, watching this, anything.

Packers (-4.5) over Panthers

One ugly win in the rain over a mediocre Falcons team doesn’t mean the Panthers are any better. They’re still the worst team in the NFL. I don’t love taking the Packers as a road favorite, but they can’t afford a flat performance.

It’s hard to call this game without knowing C.J. Stroud’s status. I’ll assume he won’t play, since he’s still in the concussion protocol and the team will be careful with him. Houston got a tough overtime win last week at Tennessee, but it wasn’t pretty most of the game. It’ll be a big challenge against the Browns defense if Case Keenum gets another start.

Buccaneers (-1) over Jaguars

Another game that’s almost impossible to pick at this point in the week. If Trevor Lawrence plays, I like the Jaguars. If it’s C.J. Beathard, I wouldn’t take Jacksonville on the road against a scrappy Tampa Bay team.

Bears (-4) over Cardinals

This line was a little surprising. The Bears were 3-point underdogs at the Browns. They’re 4-point favorites against the Cardinals. If we assume even two points for home-field advantage, that means the Browns would be only three points better than Arizona on a neutral field? I’m not buying that. I think the Bears’ line last week was a little more accurate. I’m not sure the Cardinals are going to be fired up to go play in possible cold rain at Chicago.

Patriots (+6.5) over Broncos

The Broncos still aren’t a great team. I respect them getting back in the playoff race after a 1-5 start, but just about every win was a close call. In some metrics, like net yards per play, the Patriots have been better on the road than at home this season. I don’t love taking New England but neither side is enticing.

Chiefs (-10) over Raiders

It always seems so easy to take the Chiefs against a bad team, but they haven’t been a great team against the spread for many years (they’re 6-6-1 this season, according to Action Network’s standings). But how do you view a Raiders team that scored zero points two weeks ago and then 63 last week? I’ll lean toward the team that lost 3-0 to the Vikings and take Kansas City.

Giants (+12) over Eagles

Since Week 3, the Eagles have won one game by double digits. That came against the Dolphins in Week 7. We all know the Giants aren’t very good and could lose this game by 20 or more. But do you really trust the Eagles right now?

After two awful matchups on Monday, we get one of the games of the year to end it. The 49ers are very good. They also are a virtual lock to get the No. 1 seed (95.6% percent chance via DVOA) and maybe it will be hard to stay sharp the last few weeks of the season. I also have a lot of respect for the Ravens, who might not be getting enough respect as at worst the second-best team in the NFL. I’ll take the points for what should be a great game.

Last week: 9-5-2

Season to date: 114-106-8

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