Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction: Can the Cardinals Right the Ship?

The Arizona Cardinals have lost three in a row and now they head to Dallas to take on the NFC East champion Cowboys. NFL expert Mike Spector is here with his prediction and breakdown of this Week 17 NFC clash.
Mike Spector |
Tue, December 28, 2:15 PM EST | 5 min read
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Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction: Can the Cardinals Right the Ship?

Though the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys each have at least ten wins each entering this colossal matchup, the two are headed in opposite directions. The Cardinals season has spiraled to the point where they are not even hosting a home playoff game at the moment, while Dallas is breathing down the neck of the Green Bay Packers for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. However, have oddsmakers overinflated this line, and is a play on Dallas an overreaction to recent events?

Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, January 2

Game Time: 4:25 pm ET

Where to Watch: FOX

Click Here For Cowboys vs Cardinals Odds

Cowboys vs. Cardinals INJURY REPORT

Cardinals

Questionable: RB James Conner, CB Marco Wilson

Out: LB Markus Golden, G Sean Harlow, WR Rondale Moore, DE Jordan Phillips

Cowboys

Questionable: S Malik Hooker

Out: OT Tyron Smith, S Israel Mukuamu

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Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals Prediction

Arizona has lost three consecutive games and four of their last six. Arizona’s sputtering offense is primarily to blame for their struggles, as they have been held under 24 points in five of their previous six. For the first time all season, they are not in control of their own destiny for the NFC West, as the Rams enter the week one game ahead of them. 

Entering last week, the difference in Kyler Murray’s numbers from the first seven weeks of the season up to their previous game against Indianapolis was staggering. Through the first seven games, the Cardinals were 7-0, and Murray had a 66.2 Total QBR, 74% completion percentage, and a 17-5 TD-INT ratio. Over the next four weeks, Murray went 1-3 with a 38.3 total QBR, 64% completion percentage, and a 3-5 TD-INT ratio.

Dallas has clinched the NFC East division title for the third time in six seasons with Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback and currently holds the No. 2 seed after their rout of Washington last week. The 56-14 win was their largest since 1980, and Prescott had a little bit of fun in the victory. He became the first quarterback with a passing touchdown to a running back, tight end, wide receiver, and offensive lineman in a regular-season game. Dak finished with 330 passing yards, a 4:0 TD-INT ratio, a 71.8 completion percentage, and 8.5 yards per attempt.

One of the biggest bright spots for Dallas was the success Amari Cooper had a week after he voiced his displeasure with the offense to the media. Entering last week, Cooper had 14 targets in the previous three games (fourth on the team). In addition, his full-season pace was for 66 receptions (second-fewest in career), 853 receiving yards (second-fewest), 99 targets (second-fewest), and the 19.7% target percentage would have been the lowest of his career. However, Cooper broke out against Washington with seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets.

The average bettor will have watched Arizona and Dallas last week and will rush to the betting windows to hammer the Cowboys’ relatively low point spread. However, that is recency bias at its finest, as Dak Prescott and the Cowboys struggled each of the three weeks before their blowout of Washington, despite winning all three games.

A positive one can take away from Arizona’s performance against Indianapolis last week was that the Cardinals offensive line did not allow a sack to the Colts after Murray was sacked seven times in three games in his return from an ankle injury. In addition, the Cardinals ran for 133 yards and 6.3 yards per carry against the Colts, even without leading rusher James Conner out with a heel injury. If Conner is available this week, he will bring much-needed explosiveness to this offense who has missed the service of DeAndre Hopkins of late.

Arizona is 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 road games and is 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 as underdogs. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have not fared well in January, failing to cover the spread in any of their previous six January games. Though Dallas is a league-best 12-3 ATS this season, they are due for some negative regression, making Arizona a great contrarian play with the general public likely to load up on the Cowboys.

Cowboys vs. Cardinals Pick

  • Cardinals +5.5 (-110)

Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals Line Movement

Mike Spector
@MikeSpector01

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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