The Washington Redskins may have lost their starting QB Alex Smith for the year, but the team expects little to no regression as Colt McCoy takes over under center. It’s got to be business as usual for the ‘Skins when they take on Dallas in the NFL week 12 free pick with 1st place in the NFC East up for grabs. The Cowboys definitely have the advantage of knowing the Thanksgiving Day ritual, but is the DAL -7 spread too much for this division matchup?
Washington Must Rely on Defense Even More
Yes the loss of the veteran Alex Smith hurts Washington, but it’s not like they were a passing oriented team to begin with. The Redskins have compiled their 6-4 record and 1st place slot by running the football behind Adrian Peterson and playing stout defense. 4 of the last 6 Washington opponents have scored 17 points or less. The Redskins also have one of the most stout run defenses in the league this year, limiting opponents to 95.7 rushing ypg (6th). Washington held Dallas to 22 carries for 73 yards in the 20-17 ‘Skins win in week 7 and stopping the Cowboys ground game will once again be key in the NFL week 12 free pick.
Of course the big question heading into this Thanksgiving afternoon matchup is how the Washington offense will look with Colt McCoy getting the start? The 32-year-old is a seasoned NFL veteran and orchestrated a 20-17 Washington win over Dallas in 2014, the year the Cowboys went 12-4. McCoy has a solid safety blanket in TE Jordan Reed but will be up against a Dallas defense that is 8th in the league in total yards allowed. Even so, McCoy has been here since 2014 – which is every year in coach Jay Gruden’s system – so there are some saying he may actually be an upgrade over Smith.
Will Dallas Break This Game Open On Their Home Turf?
The Cowboys have crawled back into the NFC East race behind wins vs. Philadelphia and Atlanta – with both games coming on the road. Dallas is back home in the NFL week 12 free pick where they are 3-1 this season. The Redskins were in a knock down, drag out 21-23 loss to Houston on Sunday and they could be feeling the effects of playing the physical Texans team combined with a short week. Today feels like a statement game for a Dallas defense that has held 5 of the last 6 opponents to 20 points or less up against a back-up QB. Today’s O/U of 41 might lean towards the low side with two solid defenses taking the field. Then again the short week often throws everything out the window.
The betting public is 51/49 in favor of Dallas but one of the major reasons the Cowboys should cover the -7 spread is because their offense has more potential than Washington’s. Zeke Elliott has ran for 151 yards and 122 yards in 2 of the last 3 weeks since the team acquired Amari Cooper. The Redskins did hold Elliott to 33 yards on 15 carries in week 7 however. The Redskins are 24th in the NFL in passing yards allowed however which could open things up for Cooper and Dak Prescott through the air. Expect about 220 from the air through Prescott but will it be enough?
NFL Week 12 Free Pick Betting
A TD is a lot of points to give up in a divisional matchup but you have to like the Cowboys chances today. Three weeks or a month ago there was no way Dallas was talking playoffs but here they are on Thanksgiving, at home, with 1st place hanging in the balance. That being said, Washington is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 in Dallas and the road team has covered 7 of the last 9 H2H meetings. Dallas gets the win today, but not by a TD in this defensive oriented game.
NFL Free Pick: Washington Redskins +7