The high-octane Atlanta Falcons (0-1) take their talents to Jerry World to face an equally potent offense in the Dallas Cowboys (1-0). This should be an exciting shootout and one of the more interesting games of the day (1:00pm ET Sunday live on Fox).
Read on for our Falcons at Cowboys predictions, concluding betting picks and full NFL game preview.
Who is the healthier team?
Both teams have a few significant injuries they are dealing with already. Atlanta will be without reserve cornerback Kendall Sheffield and starting offensive tackle Jake Matthews is questionable with a knee injury. Matthews was limited in practice throughout the week but should be available to play on Sunday. The knee injury may limit his mobility, which is never good against pass-rushers like DeMarcus Lawrence, Everson Griffen, and Aldon Smith who had a great debut against the Rams.
The Cowboys have several starters already ruled out including starting tight end Blake Jarwin, starting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and starting tackle Cam Irving. Vander Esch is set to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone. Starting tackle Tyron Smith will be a game-time decision and star wide receiver Amari Cooper was limited in practice on Thursday but he said he would not be missing the game on Sunday.
The Falcons are the far healthier team but can they win or cover with a defense that got torched for 38 points last week versus Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks? It is going to be a tough feat but if any offense in the league can score enough to keep up it is the Falcons.
Who is the money coming in on?
Sharp money was coming in on the Falcons and the under. The Falcons have been bet down to four-point underdogs with many of the States’ elite offshore odds makers after opening as seven-point underdogs in places. The public will no doubt be on America’s team: 53% of bets and 67% of that early money was on the Cowboys.
Can the Falcons’ defense do enough?
One pundit had Atlanta’s secondary ranked 30th out of 32 teams in the preseason. Week one was a perfect example of why they were considered one of the worst in the NFL. They lost starting corner Desmond Trufant to Detroit in free agency but brought in first round pick AJ Terrell from Clemson. Will the Cowboys pick on the rookie this coming week?
The Seahawks were able to take advantage of the weak unit as Russell Wilson threw for 322 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett both had solid games. Metcalf lead the way with four receptions, 95 yards and a score. Lockett racked up eight receptions and 92 yards receiving. Both are quite respectable days and strong performances from a fantasy perspective, especially in PPR (points per reception) leagues.
Look for the Cowboys to follow suit and air it out to their stable of weapons. Expect big games from Zeke out of the backfield, Cooper, Gallup and rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb on the outside.
Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was rightfully criticized throughout the week for his more conservative approach against the Rams in week one. Their longest play of the game was a 33-yard pass to Lamb. Expect the game plan to be much more aggressive to take advantage of the weak secondary and plethora of weapons for Dak to take advantage of.
Coming to one facet of our ultimate Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys predictions, the total points at 53.5 is the highest of the week and rightfully so. I think both offenses will be rolling and we will have a high-scoring affair. The Falcons were able to score 25 points against a relatively strong Seattle defense. Matt Ryan passed for 450 yards and two touchdowns on 54 passing attempts. Wide receivers Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage were all able to eclipse 100 yards and Ridley had two scores.
The Falcons do not disguise their intent to air the ball out. I would start anyone and everyone I could on either of these offenses in fantasy as they look to push the pace and should be able to score at will.
Our Betting Preview’s Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys Predictions & Picks Verdict
This has 35-28 Cowboys written all over it, which would comfortably hit the over. I would lean towards the Cowboys at -4 to -4.5 points on the spread with the sportsbooks but I also worry that their significant injuries will catch up to them.
Especially worrisome is starting linebacker Vander Esch being down. An interesting trend that points to the Cowboys is due to the success of new head coach Mike McCarthy at home. McCarthy as a home favorite is 53-34-4 against the spread. On the flip side, Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn is 45-36 overall ATS.
Ultimately, I will be playing the over at 53.5 points. I am going to side with the public and expect an explosive affair from both teams. As of Friday a shocking 98% of money was on the over. Neither of these defenses are strong enough (due to injuries and lack of personnel on the Falcons) to stop these two dynamic offenses.
To summarize, and at best bookies’ odds, these are USAbetting’s picks for this NFL game and Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys predictions:
- Bet on the Dallas Cowboys -4pts on the spread @ -110 with Bookmaker or Intertops. It is -115 with Bovada and -104 for a 4.5pts handicap with BetOnline.
- For reasons already explained in this preview, go over 53.5 total points @ best odds of -110 with BetOnline or Intertops. It is -111 with Bookmaker and -115 with Bovada.