Another game, and another opportunity for Dak Prescott to prove himself. With Tony Romo nursing himself back to the field, the show is still Prescott’s, so it seems. There were some grumblings a few days ago that Romo might be looking at making a return this week. It isn’t looking like that will be the case. I doubt that the Cowboys will stick with Prescott after Romo is 100 percent. There is an argument the Cowboys should stay with Prescott, but I think their offense would be clicking at a higher pace with Romo under center. Not to take anything away from Prescott, who has been excellent in the starting role. But with Romo starting from day 1, I think Dallas would have a perfect 4-0 record at the moment. They dropped a close opener to the New York Giants, 20-19, in Week 1. Put Romo there and I think it’s a 30-19 Cowboys’ win. Romo just better perform when he makes his return, because if he falters out of the gate, you’re going to hear fans calling for a benching.
The Cowboys draw the struggling Cincinnati Bengals at home today. Cincinnati, who has notoriously become a hot starting team, has been treading water thus far in 2016. In their defense, both of their losses came against two of the best teams in the NFL: the Broncos and Steelers. It would have been nice to win those, especially the Steelers game, but they are still staying afloat. The Bengals dropped the Dolphins last week to pull to .500 on the season. I’m sure the Bengals will improve on that mark as the season progresses. The only thing I am worried about for today is if it’ll come today against the Cowboys on the road.
The Cowboys come back home after sending a loss the 49ers’ way. Since then the Cowboys have won three straight games, but before you get too excited Dallas fans, you should check out the teams that they have beaten. I know you want to get excited about Dak and everything, but hold on a second here. The Cowboys have beaten the Redskins, Bears, and 49ers. Those are three teams at the bottom of the entire league. Start beating some quality teams, like say, the Bengals today and I will give Dak all of the credit in the world. I do give him some credit now, however, I am holding my complete thoughts on him before he has to play some really good teams. The Cowboys have benefited from a soft schedule early on. The Bengals will provide a stronger test today. We’ll see if they can handle it in Week 5 of the NFL.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Oakland Raiders NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Cowboys +1.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bengals vs. Cowboys Pick:
A.J. McCarron took over at quarterback last season after Andy Dalton was sent to the shelf. He threw for 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions to get the Bengals into the playoffs. There was never any doubt, though, that once Dalton was healthy to make a return the job would be his again. McCarron nearly did what Dalton has never been able to do: win a playoff game. A series of unfortunate events derailed those plans in the playoffs last season. If anything, McCarron’s play indicated that he deserves an NFL contract. Dalton has passed for 1,234 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this season. Facing the Broncos’ defense will definitely keep the numbers down.
I’ve read some articles this past week talking about how Prescott’s numbers looks better than Dalton. While true, I think they should refer to the teams that Prescott has played, they are at the bottom of the league like I stated earlier. The Bengals have played the Jets, Broncos, and Dolphins’ defenses, all serviceable units who far exceed anything Prescott has had to deal with up to this point.
The Bengals have allowed 20.5 points per game this season, along with a pass defensive ranking of 11th. They are also 9th overall in the NFL, allowing an average of 322.8 yards per game. This will be the best defense that the Cowboys have played thus far. The Cowboys opened as favorites here, but sharps quickly jumped on the Bengals and flipped the line around. Dallas is getting the benefit of the doubt because of their 3-1 record, along with the hype surrounding Dak Prescott. But come on, who have they played up to this point? The same reason I liked Florida State over Miami last night, I like the Bengals to provide the biggest challenge the Cowboys have had in 2016. 24-20 win for Cinci in Texas looks plausible.
PICK: BENGALS -1.5 (-110)