The pre-season edition of Sunday Night Football brings fans an intriguing all-NFC primetime clash to end off the weekend between the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.
Arizona enters this matchup a perfect 2-0 in the pre-season thus far, and they covered both of those matches as well. The Cards have ushered in a new era of football, with big changes on both sides of the football. Sam Bradford has been brought in as quarterback, with highly touted UCLA grad Josh Rosen looking over his shoulder. Expect both of those slingers to receive plenty of playing time against Dallas.
For the Cowboys, coming off of disappointing 2017 the pressure is on to make this season a better one. But in a tough NFC East division where there are never any easy clashes, it will be tough for young QB Dak Prescott and his limited offensive weapons. So far Dallas hasn’t looked all that sharp in the exhibition season, clearly not putting as much of an emphasis on it as other teams. Jerry Jones already came out earlier in the week and mentioned that it’s believed that neither Ezekiel Elliott or Dak Prescott will suit up in Week 3 for fear of injury. Dallas is already battling some key injuries on their offensive line, and any other knocks to key playmakers would really hamper the Cowboys ability to move the chains when it counts for real.
Week 3 is always a fun week to handicap, as many squads see it as the final opportunity for tweaks and tune-ups for their starters before the regular season begins. Can the Cards take advantage of a Cowboys team that will in fact be resting many of their starters? Read on below the odds to find out our official betting prediction for Sunday Night Football.
Cardinals vs. Cowboys Betting Odds:
Arizona Cardinals -2.5 (-115)
@ Dallas Cowboys +2.5 (-105)
Over 39.5 (-105)
Under 39.5 (-115)
Cardinals vs. Cowboys Pick:
With the Cowboys already so banged up along the offensive line, look for the coaching staff to be very conservative with all other Dallas starters this Sunday evening. Travis Frederick and Zack Martin are already injured and really the Cowboys can’t afford to lose any more key guys. As a result, this won’t be your typical Week 3 lineup most likely from Dallas. It’s believed that Prescott and Elliott will be out on the offensive side of things, and La’el Collins and Tyron Smith will also likely sit this one out.
That should put an emphasis on Dallas’ organizational depth and backups against the starters of the Cardinals, who have used this pre-season to mix in new schemes and faces – especially on offense. Look for Arizona to treat this fixture as a true dress rehearsal for the regular season. Expect the Cards to play their starters for the majority of the first half, at the very least.
New Cardinals’ coach Steve Wilks has been keen to give his first-teamers a solid run of play, as he looks to familiarize himself with offensive and defensive schemes and make key personnel decisions. So far his QB Sam Bradford has fit in nicely and has some talented weapons at his disposal. Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald have already formed a solid receiving duo, and with David Johnson back and healthy – those playmakers should be able to gash many of the Dallas backups. The Cowboys’ secondary has been weak for sometime now, and look for Arizona to be able to exploit this on Sunday night.
Beyond the starters, the depth edge should go to Arizona – especially at the all-important quarterback position. It’s believed the highly touted rookie Josh Rosen will be healthy enough to relieve Sam Bradford in the second half, but even if not – Mike Glennon is a great third-string option and the former starter should be able to pick apart a depleted Cowboys’ group.
This seems like a mismatch in terms of personnel and motivation, and despite Dallas playing this contest at home on a primetime spot – it seems like their emphasis is heavily geared to not having any more players injured. Arizona meanwhile is gunning to be competitive in a tough NFC West division and with so many new faces and systems to implement, look for the Cardinals to continue their hot run of pre-season form en route to a 3-0 record thus far.
PICK = Cardinals -2.5 (-115)