- All five of Arizona’s games this season have finished between 40 and 52 total points.
One of the more unfortunate storylines of the 2020 season hit the Dallas Cowboys last week, as Dak Prescott was lost for the season to a compound fracture in his lower leg. In Week 6, the big question becomes how the offense will look with Andy Dalton under center instead of Prescott.
The Cowboys have been party to some of the most exciting games of the early part of the 2020 season, both because of their high-powered passing game and a poor defense. You won’t catch me buying into the suggestions that the quarterback change will somehow help the defense, but I do think the part of that logic where Dallas might lean on Ezekiel Elliott more makes sense.
That makes this a tough game to handicap. The Cardinals come in as 1-point road favorites in a game with a 55 total. Arizona is a team who likes to play fast and opposing offenses typically run more plays against them than they otherwise would. If Prescott were in this game, you’d expect both teams’ offensive styles to lead to a fast, aggressive game.
As it stands, the Cowboys might try to feel things out with their new quarterback a bit. If they find themselves out in front, it’s hard to envision them throwing aggressively. And for as fast as Arizona likes to play, they tend to have a hard time putting teams away when leading themselves, taking a surprisingly conservative approach that has led to occasional criticism for head coach Kliff Kingsbury. To that end, Arizona hasn’t played a game yet this season that’s gone over this 55 number.
That’s not to say Arizona can’t play a higher-scoring game. Their passing offense showed a little more verticality last week, including Kyler Murray hitting DeAndre Hopkins for a one-handed catch and a long touchdown late in the game. I’m optimistic about their offense improving throughout the season, and this is a great matchup for them against a struggling defense.
But I’m less optimistic the Cowboys’ offense won’t miss a beat. Dalton is a capable quarterback, but he’s closer to a game manager than the type of playmaker Dak is. The Cowboys have the playmakers to help Dalton succeed in this situation, but the big total does seem to be giving him a lot of credit. If the Cowboys establish Elliott early, this could turn into a game they try to bleed out. That's just one of several potential outcomes where this game doesn’t hit that number, and the ways it gets above it are pretty much limited to Dalton coming in and playing extremely well right off the bat.
NFL Expert Picks
Under 55 @ -105
NFL Free Picks
Week 6 is here after a wild week 5. Week 5 saw Covid postponements, harrowing injuries and unreal rookie performances too. Monday Night Football will see the Cowboys in their first post-Dak game and it'll be fascinating to see how they bounce back after that horrific injury. Stick with OddsChecker and you'll get free picks for every NFL game this week, from Ben Gretch, Davis Mattek, Ben Rolfe and more. Plus you'll be able to compare the best odds from legal sportsbooks too.