Washington Redskins (8-7) at Dallas Cowboys (4-11)
Ordinarily, I would be all over the Redskins as 3.5 point underdogs here in Dallas, for three reasons. The first is that the Cowboys tend to struggle as hosts, particularly as home favorites, going 8-25 ATS as home favorites since 2010. The second is this is a big revenge spot for the Redskins, who were upset at home by the Cowboys earlier this year. Divisional road underdogs are 57-31 ATS in a same season regular season rematch against a team they previously lost to as divisional home favorites, since 2002. Revenge is far from uncommon in divisional matchups similar to this one, especially in matchups like this where one team barely has any homefield advantage (Dallas).
The third is that the Redskins are much better than the Cowboys. They rank 13th in rate of moving the chains differential and have been playing great football since wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned from injury. They’re playing their best football at the best time and are relatively healthier than most of the league. The Cowboys, meanwhile, rank 17th and are missing key players with injury. With Tony Romo out for the season, Kellen Moore will make the 2nd start of his career this week, the 4th quarterback to start for the Cowboys this season. The Cowboys have moved the chains at a 66.46% rate in the 11 games Romo has missed, as opposed to 72.80% in the 4 games Romo played, and will also be without top wide receiver Dez Bryant and possibly top linebacker Sean Lee with injury in this one.
However, this game is meaningless to the Redskins with the division already wrapped up and the #3 seed out of reach. Win or lose this game, they’ll be the #4 seed and host the better of the two wild card teams next week in Washington. As a result, they’re not expected to play their starters for the full game. I can’t take Dallas, one of the worst teams in the NFL, favored by 3.5 points at home, where they traditionally struggle, in a bad spot, but, because I don’t know how much the Redskins will be playing their starters, I can’t put any money on them.
Dallas Cowboys 17 Washington Redskins 16
Pick against the spread: Washington +3.5