The (6-5) Dallas Cowboys are looking finally to pick up a win against a playoff team. The (8-3) Buffalo Bills want to continue their most successful season in years. Today both teams will be hoping to pick up a victory as the two meet in Dallas for some afternoon, Thanksgiving football (4.30pm ET Thursday).
Returning to the Thanksgiving stage for the first time in 25 years, the Bills are in the midst of one of the best seasons in recent memory. Buffalo opened their season with three straight wins, though at the time, they all came against winless teams. This led the Bills into their toughest matchup of the season against the AFC East-leading New England Patriots. Buffalo lost, but not by much as their defense held New England’s top-ranked offense to just 16 points.
The Bills won their next two against the Tennessee Titans and then-winless Miami Dolphins, before suffering a bad loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in week eight. The Bills rebounded to defeat the Washington Redskins, before losing to the Cleveland Browns and ultimately getting back on track with wins against the Dolphins and Denver Broncos.
One of the team’s regularly in action on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys are trying to keep their NFC East divisional lead while navigating through one of the NFL’s tougher schedules to end the year. Much like Buffalo, the Cowboys opened their year with three straight wins over teams that held a combined total of zero victories for themselves.
Dallas moved on to a tougher part of their schedule starting in week four and proceeded to lose three straight against the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. The last named were winning for the first time this year. The Cowboys got back on track with a dominating victory over the Eagles followed by another win against the New York Giants. Dallas then lost against the Minnesota Vikings, defeated the Detroit Lions and finally, in another close one, lost to the Patriots.
Here’s the thing, and this is something that can be said for both teams. Including the win over the Eagles, the Cowboys’ six wins have come against teams who have a combined total of just 14 wins (Dallas has played the two-win Giants twice). Philadelphia, at 5-6, is the best team on their schedule that the Cowboys have beaten to this point. Dallas has struggled when playing against .500 or better teams, going 0-4 in their opportunities this season.
The Bills have eight wins that have come against teams with a combined total of 21 wins. The 6-5 Titans are the best team Buffalo has beaten. They are also one of just two .500 or above teams that Buffalo has faced this year. The Bills have no doubt benefited from one of the league’s easiest schedules, picking up wins over the teams they were supposed to beat.
It is hard to get a good read on both Buffalo and Dallas’ 2019 campaigns given the level of opponents they have faced. Sure, at the end of the day, wins are wins, but Dallas and Buffalo have tough tasks ahead of them, ones that will likely determine if either or both are legitimate playoff contenders or just pretenders. That starts today.
The Cowboys will no doubt have to deal with detractors if they drop yet another contest against a team with a winning record. Jason Garrett is already on the hot seat and it seems owner Jerry Jones has all but run out of patience for the longtime head coach. Dallas’ destiny is in their own hands right now, but with Philadelphia’s end of the year schedule, a loss to Buffalo could be a big blow to the Cowboys’ playoff chances.
The Bills seem to have their sights firmly set on an AFC wildcard, something their 8-3 record puts them in a good position to accomplish. Much like the Cowboys, a loss today furthers the narrative and asks the question. Buffalo is good, but are they good enough to contend with the league’s better teams?
Our Betting Preview’s Buffalo Bills vs Dallas Cowboys Predictions & Picks
While trends only tell part of the story, it is worth noting that the Cowboys have enjoyed incredible success when playing on Thanksgiving. Since beginning annual play on the holiday in 1966, the Cowboys have a winning percentage of .618. While several teams have higher winning percentages, none have played more than 10 games on Thanksgiving compared to the 51 played by Dallas. The Cowboys’ 31 turkey day wins are also second to just the Lions, who accumulated their 37 victories over the course of 79 games. That means it took them 28 games more than the Cowboys to pick up just six additional victories.
Despite their 6-5 record, the Cowboys actually have the NFL’s league-leading offense, averaging over 300 passing yards per game. Dak Prescott leads this unit and is having the best year of his young career. He has already thrown for nearly 3,500 yards, 21 touchdowns and an NFL-3rd best QBR of 75. After a sluggish start, Ezekiel Elliott didn’t take long to pick up where he left off after missing most of the offseason on a contract holdout.
Elliott topped the 100-yard mark for the first time this season in week two and bested that margin in five of his first eight games. However, Elliott has fallen under 50 yards rushing in two of the last three, with both games being ones that Dallas had opportunities to win. They didn’t because despite Elliott’s struggles due to facing top notch run defenses, the Cowboy stuck with the run and it backfired.
Elliott has another tough matchup today as he will face the league’s third best defense. It remains to be seen if Dallas will stick to the run if Buffalo seems to be shutting it down. That decision could ultimately be one that determines if Dallas wins the game as well as Garrett’s fate for the rest of the year. So this is how USAbetting’s Buffalo Bills vs Dallas Cowboys predictions pan out:
- In a somewhat surprising look, the Cowboys are 6.5-point favorites at the leading US oddsmakers for today’s Thanksgiving game. The first of our betting picks is for Buffalo to get the win. Bet the Bills +6.5pts @ best odds of -110 with Intertops.
- As for the total points of 47, take the under @ best odds of -110 with Intertops or BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.