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The Dallas Cowboys host the Minnesota Vikings Sunday night in a matchup of two NFC contenders. The Cowboys moved into first place of the NFC East Division with a 37-18 Monday night victory over the New York Giants. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for three touchdowns as the Cowboys outscored the Giants 21-3 in the fourth quarter. Dallas will be in for more of a challenge this weekend as it tries to slow down the league's leading rusher, Dalvin Cook. Cook was held to 71 yards on 21 carries in Minnesota's 26-23 loss to Kansas City Sunday.
Minnesota and Dallas rank third and fourth in the NFL in rushing yards so defending the ground game will be key. Both defenses have had about equal success stopping the run: Dallas allows 97.2 rushing yards per game, while Minnesota holds opponents to 95.8 yards on the ground.
Vikings turn to ground game once againThe Minnesota Vikings were held to 96 rushing yards against Kansas City, just the second time they've failed to hit 100 yards on the ground all season. For Minnesota to leave Dallas with a win, it'll likely need a far more productive rushing performance. Dalvin Cook 894 yards still lead the NFL, but he was severely limited by the Chiefs defense. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn't compensate for the Vikings' lack of ground success.
Cousins nonetheless threw for three touchdowns but was held to a pedestrian 220 passing yards. He completed just 50% of his attempts. Minnesota's top receiver Stefon Diggs caught just one pass for four yards. The Vikings could be without receiver Adam Thielen, who missed practice Thursday with a lingering hamstring injury. Thielen has the second-most touchdown receptions on the team (six) behind Diggs.
.@vikings @dalvincook @chiefs played their best run defense of the season to limit the @NFL leading rusher. #BigTime performances from #Nnadi #Pennel #CJones #Ivie #Saunders #Tanoh #Ogbah. The won the LOS all afternoon #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/F78hqBoNc0— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 4, 2019
Defensively, Minnesota is one of the top teams in the NFL at stopping the rush. The Vikings allow 95.8 yards on the ground per game and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns, the fewest in the NFL. Secondary could be a bigger concern for the Vikings. Safety Andrew Sendejo and cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Trae Waynes have all been held out of practice this week due to injuries.
Cowboys go for third straight winThe Dallas Cowboys are on a roll right now, having won their last two games by margins of 27 and 19 points. Now comes a challenging three-game streak with Minnesota at home before facing Detroit and New England on the road. Dallas has arguably the most lethal quarterback - running back duo in the NFL between Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Both will be tested against a strong Vikings defensive line.
The Cowboys are also banking on top receiver Amari Cooper to be healthy enough to play Sunday. Cooper missed Thursday's practice with a knee injury but sounded confident that he'll be available. Cooper has five touchdown receptions, nearly a third of the team's 15. The Cowboys' offense is otherwise healthy, although offensive tackles La'el Collins and Tyron Smith are both listed as questionable.
DAK PRESCOTT TO AMARI COOPER FOR THE TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/nVyYH9YykU— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) November 5, 2019
Dallas gives up 17.8 points per game which ranks fifth in the NFL. The Cowboys have given up the third-fewest touchdown passes (seven). Dallas could be without three key defenders: safety Jeff Heath and linebackers Sean Lee and Leighton Vander Esch. They've cumulatively produced 129 tackles.
- Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in November.
- Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Vikings are 3-12 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the hottest teams in the NFL with their last two wins by three possessions are more. All they'll need is to win by more than more three points to cover this week. Dallas has a good shot at doing so because it's rush defense is one of the strongest in the NFL. We just saw what happens when the Vikings face a defensive unit that can stop them on the ground: they get stuffed. The Cowboys have a big advantage through the air with Prescott behind center and Cooper expected to play.
Prediction: Dallas Cowboys -3
Full-Game Total Pick
Dallas and Minnesota boast two of the top scoring defenses in the NFL. The Vikings allow 17.6 points versus the Cowboys at 17.8. Additionally, the under has gone 6-2 in Minnesota's last eight road games. This game features two elite running backs, but the Vikings are the best team in the league at preventing rushing touchdowns. Dalvin Cook likely won't put up any gaudy numbers against a great Dallas defensive line. The under is a fairly safe bet here.
Prediction: Under 47.5