NFL Betting Preview: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Football Team – Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

It’s rare for a Thanksgiving Day matchup between a pair of 3-7 football teams is a game with significant playoff implications. But that’s the bizarre situation for the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys.

By virtue of a tie, the Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFC East at 3-6-1, while the New York Giants are also 3-7. In the worst division the NFL has seen in a long time, someone has to emerge on top.

Washington and Dallas have a chance to make their mark Thursday. Kickoff is at 4:30 pm ET on FOX. The Cowboys open as a three-point favorite.

Washington Football Team – Total Team Effort Needed

Fresh off a 20-9 home win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington has won two of their last four games, including a 25-3 dismantling of the Cowboys on Oct. 25. The Football Team has looked good recently, even in losses, due in large part to the return of Alex Smith under center.

Smith is a walking miracle, returning to the field after 17 surgeries to reconstruct his leg after injury and combat sepsis. The lock for NFL Comeback Player of the Year has completed just over 68 percent of his passes this season, totaling 918 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, his four interceptions have been costly.

Washington has leaned on the running game in the red zone, with 13 rushing touchdowns this year, tied for seventh in the league. Antonio Gibson leads all backs with 530 yards and eight touchdowns, with 212 receiving yards to his credit. J.D. McKissic is another backfield threat, with 217 rushing yards, 317 receiving yards, and one score.

On the defensive side, Washington’s defense leads the league in fewest passing yards allowed per game. Washington (195.4) is one of two teams to allow fewer than 200 passing yards per game this season; the other is the Rams at 199.7.

Washington also has 32 sacks in 2020, tied for third in the league, and 11 takeaways. Unfortunately, despite the surprising defensive brilliance, Washington has a -6 turnover margin.

Dallas Cowboys – Where’s the Dallas Defense?

Dallas enters this game off a win of their own, snatching a 31-28 victory from the jaws of defeat at the hands of the Vikings. Andy Dalton returned from concussion protocol and a positive COVID diagnosis to lead the Cowboys on a game-winning drive with 1:37 left in regulation.

The win was the first for the Cowboys since losing Dak Prescott for the season with a leg injury, stopping a four-game losing skid. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 100 yards but couldn’t find the endzone. Rookie CeeDee Lamb had a highlight-reel touchdown reception and has now scored in back-to-back games.

The Cowboys have an abysmal -12 turnover margin, second-worst in the league. Hurting that margin is Dallas’ nine takeaways on the year, which is again second-worst. However, two of those were fumble recoveries last week against Minnesota, so the unit is trending in the right direction.

Dallas is allowing a league-worst 31.8 points per game, surpassing even the winless New York Jets. Getting pressure on Smith, limiting big plays, and forcing turnovers is the only way the Cowboys can come away with a win.

Free Betting Pick

Washington is an even 5-5 against the spread this season, while Dallas is a league-worst 2-8 ATS. The Cowboys have a 31-20-1 record while playing on Thanksgiving, but this year, expect another tally in the loss column.

Dallas’ defense has too many gaps to take the win. Take Washington to win an ugly one.

Spooky Express Free Pick: Washington Football Team (-3)

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