Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys: 2021 Week 17 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (10-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-4)

The Cardinals started the season 7-0, but have since fallen back to earth, going just 3-5 in their past 8 games. The +8 turnover margin they had in their first seven games was always going to be unsustainable (+2 in eight games since), but the Cardinals have also suffered a significant amount of injuries that have caused this team to not play as well on either side of the ball. Quarterback Kyler Murray has returned from a three game absence, but he remains without top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and has consistently been missing at least one talented offensive lineman. 

Left guard Justin Pugh and center Rodney Hudson have returned, but this week he will be without arguably his most important offensive lineman, left tackle DJ Humphries. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ defense has been without top interior defender JJ Watt and top cornerback Robert Alford, who will be joined on the sideline by slot cornerback Marco Wilson and Watt’s replacement Jordan Phillips, while talented edge defenders Devon Kennard and Markus Golden could join them if they can’t return from the COVID protocols in time.

Dallas, meanwhile, is arguably as healthy as they have been all season. Left tackle Tyron Smith, right guard Zack Martin, right tackle La’El Collins, edge defenders DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, wide receivers Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, and quarterback Dak Prescott have all missed at least some time with injury and have not made it through a full game together yet, but all nine of those players are available this week, which is very significant as they are among their most important players.

Despite their injuries, Dallas has still been one of the best teams in the league this year, ranking 6th, 13th, 4th, and 4th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency and they have been better in recent weeks as they have gotten healthier. The Cardinals, meanwhile, rank 13th, 18th, 17th, and 9th respectively and have struggled in recent weeks because of key players missing time. We have lost a lot of line value in the past week with this line moving up to 6, but my calculated line is 10, which would become 13 if Golden and Kennard both miss. I want to lock this in now and may increase this bet up to a possible Pick of the Week depending on what changes before gametime.

Update: Both Golden and Kennard are out and the line has stayed put at six, so I want to make this my Pick of the Week.

Dallas Cowboys 30 Arizona Cardinals 17

Pick against the spread: Dallas -6

Confidence: Pick of the Week

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