NFL Week 13: Thursday Night Football – Dallas @ Minnesota

Posted: December 1, 2016

 

Dallas -3 @ Minnesota 44

Friday December 1, 12:25pm AEDT 

Moneyline

 

Dallas (10-1)

Both teams come off of Thursday games last week so they both have had a week to prepare. Dallas is off their 31-26 win over the Redskins, which Washington back doored late in the game. The Cowboys ran for 163 yards at 5.4ypr and held the Redskins to 56 yards rushing at 2.9ypr. The Cowboys gave up 449 yards passing at 8.5yps while throwing for just 190 yards but at 7.6yps.

Overall, Washington out gained the Cowboys 7.0yppl to 6.4yppl but Dallas ran the ball 11 more times while Washington passed the ball 28 more times to skew those final numbers. The Redskins did do what they set out to do and controlled the clock by about seven more minutes but they couldn’t overcome the Cowboys.

Minnesota (6-5)

Meanwhile, the Vikings were doing what they could do to manage their game and cover up their flaws but threw the game away late at Detroit in their 16-13 loss. Minnesota actually ran for 5.1ypr but allowed Detroit to run for 4.9ypr. The Vikings were able to throw the ball for 6.1yps and held Detroit to 5.1yps. Overall, Minnesota out gained Detroit 5.8yppl to 5.0yppl but a costly interception late in the game in their own territory allowed Detroit to take over and break the 13-13 tie.

Key Stats

  • Dallas averages 4.8ypr against teams allowing 4.3ypr, 7.7yps against teams allowing 6.6yps and 6.2yppl against teams allowing 5.6yppl.
  • The defense is allowing 4.1ypr against 4.2ypr, 6.8yps against 6.4yps and 5.9yppl against 5.6yppl.
  • Minnesota averages just 2.8ypr against 4.0ypr, 6.0yps against 6.5yps and 4.8yppl against 5.5yppl.
  • They allow 4.2ypr against 4.2ypr, but just 5.2yps against 6.4yps and 4.9yppl against 5.5yppl.

Rosters

  • For Dallas, CB Morris Claiborne remains out. LB Justin Durant is out as is S J.J. Wilcox. S Barry Church returns this week.
  • For Minnesota C Joe Berger adds to a long list of Viking offensive lineman injured and Berger will miss this game. PR Marcus Sherels and DT Sharrif Floyd are out.

The Verdict

My numbers make this game a pick ‘em and project about 41 points. The Vikings qualify in a late season home dog scenario, which is 144-87-7. Dallas has scored at least 27 points in all but two games this year. They scored only 19 points in Dak Prescott’s first game of the year against the Giants and only 24 points against the 49ers but that was more about running out the clock to end the game than trying to score more points.

On the other hand Minnesota has yet to allow more than 26 points in a game so this will be a true test to see if the offense or defense wins out. Dallas has only allowed 23 or more points four times this year. They allowed high powered offenses Washington (2) and Pittsburgh (1) to account for three of those and Philadelphia to account for the fourth so it’s not likely they give up more than 23 points or so in this game.

Minnesota scored 30 at home in their last game but had a kick return for a touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown so the offense didn’t do all of that work. They also scored 31 earlier in the year against Houston but again had a punt return for a touchdown.

Could they duplicate those things on Thursday? Yes, but Dallas isn’t the type of team that gives up special team touchdowns or turns the ball over so it’s not likely. Minnesota just doesn’t have enough explosive plays in their offense so they resort to the dink and dunk type offense that takes forever to move down the field.

Dallas is happy to play that type of game as they like to control the ball and methodically move the ball down the field. With Stefon Diggs back in the lineup we will see if they can find some big pass plays in this offense. But, Dallas is pretty efficient and likely to finish those drives with scores more so than Minnesota is.

Dallas is the better team but Minnesota will be one of the toughest opponents Dallas has faced this year. Dallas typically plays a clean game that is void of costly turnovers. If they do that again on Thursday they are likely to win this game. If they turn the ball over, then Minnesota will have their shot.

Forecast

Dallas 21 Minnesota 20

 

YPR = Yards Per Rush

YPS = Yards Per Pass

YPPL = Yards Per Play

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