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*This is the transcript of our Handicapping group wager chat for this particular game. Taking it as it is, so forgive any typos, etc. It's just casual opinions shared. Also, we may veer way off topic but that's half the fun of it.
YTD (unaudited for Week results so far):
Savage: 28-18; Blazing 5: 7-8; Best Bet: 2-1
Katz: 25-21; Blazing 5: 6-8; Best Bet: 0-2
FFM Computer: 29-17, 12-3 Blazing Five
Skolman: 23-23; Blazing 5: 9-5; Best Bet: 1-2
RC: 23-23; Blazing 5: 8-6; Best Bet: 1-2
Rabbitt: 23-24; Blazing 5: 7-7; Best Bet: 1-2
Katz: So far, road favorites are 1-8 this week. That's... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpUWrl3-mc8.
Will my Cowboys be part of the exception?
RC: Yes, they will because they have one things going for them all the other road faves didn’t – they are playing the worst team in football, I mean…besides Oakland. This is a must-win game and the kind of game an NFL team has to not only win if they’re to be considered a top team – but they must ‘crush’. I’m sticking by them despite all betting logic saying not to.
Even the currently 13-2 in Week 3, 5-0 in the Blazing Five FFM Computer models says Dallas tonight, so…come on.
RC: Make that 12-3. I forgot the Rams didn’t cover.
Savage: Road favorites have to be better than 1-8 because I had two blazing 5 losses on home dogs.
I looked at the group's picks last night and saw I was the only one who took the Cards. I also noticed that we're 3-0 on our unanimous picks for the week with the Bears, Giants, and Titans. Does that mean I should switch my pick to make Dallas unanimous or would that jinx it?
Katz: The road favorites are due! (I don't really believe that). I pretty much agree with RC. If the Cowboys are as good as I think they are, then they win this game handily.
Savage: Picking the Cards doesn't have much to do with the actual matchup - I just took all the home dogs of 3 or more this week thinking I'd come out ahead. I'm going to try to make the case for Arizona even though I don't really like either side of this game:
- Arizona has looked awful, but they haven't played at home yet. Losing to the Lions in Detroit doesn't look so bad at this point. OT with the Colts still doesn't look great, but they might be more of a "tough out" bad team with Brissett at QB. Arizona as an under 500 team is a lock, but Arizona as a bottom 5 team might be a slight overreaction.
- Dallas is extremely banged up in the secondary, which might be just enough to make Carson look like he's still an NFL QB.
- Shouldn't we be a little bit concerned about the Cowboys' offense? I fully expected them to stumble going in to Denver, but it sort of dawned on me watching that game that they are pretty limited if you can take away the run game with run blitzes like Denver did. Dez doesn't scare anyone anymore and Williams never did. At this point Dak's #1 receiver is Jason Witten. Nothing against the HOF TE but if you're building a passing attack around him in 2017 it might be a problem.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Dallas rebound and dominate tonight. I also wouldn't be shocked if the offense struggled again and we see a 20-17 type game. You know the media wants to start the Dak "Sophomore Slump" stories and speculate about Romo coming out of the booth, and the media always seems to get what they want.
Skolman: This line opened with heavy juice on Dallas -3 (-115, -120) to start the week and now they are -3 EVEN. The money flowing in on Ari and all of the home dogs that already covered make me feel better about this game...I vaguely remember a positive trend backing a good team in their 2nd road game after not covering their 1st? I'm not as high on the Cowboys as some in this group but certainly they would qualify as a good team.
Skolman: I have to remind myself how I made my way to this game in the first place...need to trust my cynical instincts...I heard an analyst say that the Cardinals have one of the last true home field advantages in the NFL. Am I missing something or is that just ridiculous? I have a buddy who just moved to AZ and he just texted me that the place is crawling with Cowboys fans. He guesses it will be 50/50 tonight. I still wish I had Was as my last B5 but I'm back on board with the Cowboys.
RC: I think the hidden gem opportunity here will be teams now thinking the way to beat Dallas is making them throw/cutting off the run. What, no one in the media or on NFL teams figured that out when Dak was a rookie QB and Elliott was leading the league in rushing. The whole time Dallas kept winning every game teams were letting Elliott run wild and were trying to shut down Dak by mistake?
How is it Denver beating Dallas now means something got figured out that didn’t the last 17 regular season games of Dak/Elliott? Denver just lost to Buffalo…so is the key to beating Denver getting mobile QBs, firing your coach from the year before, and having Mike Tolbert lead you in rushing?
The key to Denver winning is to make every team pass against them because that’s a recipe for disaster. Arizona doesn’t have the horses Denver does on defense.
Good QBs have no problem with Arizona, but bad ones they take some advantage of.
Brees, Garoppolo, Ryan, RWilson went 11 TD/1 INT against them in 5 games last season. And they went 1-3-1 against them.
Arizona can’t cover whatever Peterson isn’t covering. PP will take out Dez, which is fine because Dez is useless anyway, The Cards are down two OLs tonight, I believe.
The Cowboys secondary is banged up but if you add J.J. Nelson going inactive…the Cardinals have absolutely no receivers that can get open naturally. Palmer has to force it on timing throws and he doesn’t have it anymore.
Arizona was 4-3-1 at home last year.
Katz: Even though they're my team, if Dez drops 27 tonight in .5 PPR to beat me, I'm not going to be happy.
Skolman: That's the spirit RC! I was wondering if fallout from Den losing at Buffalo yesterday would cause people to bet Ari tonight...seems like the answer is maybe/probably. A lot of non-division opponents are going to get blasted at Denver this year. Even if the earliest of Cowboys/Cardinals look ahead lines was a pick um, I think we all would trade D. Johnson for 3 points.
Katz, l think you're safe, Witten is going for 150 and 2TDs to support my team so no enough left for Dez.
Rabbitt: The key to beating Denver is not getting behind early. The pass rush+secondary is going to be a bitch to pass on. Given how much the run defense has appeared to improve, if the offense can do anything, they will be fine. It also helps getting the worst taunting penalty in the history of sports.
As far as tonight goes Dallas simply has more boxes to check than Arizona. Better QB, Better RB, Better TE, Better OL, Better kicking game, slightly better D, Better coaches. The only thing I would argue Arizona has going for it is maybe WR but both groups are not good in that area. I can't bet against that. I just cant
Savage: Its not that Denver figured anything out, necessarily. Teams have always thought that the way to beat Dallas was to stop the run, its just easier said than done. Dallas didn't play many of the top run defenses last year, and when they did they struggled more often than not. Arizona's defense isn't elite, but they had a good run defense in 2016 and I haven't seen anything to suggest otherwise in 2017.
Again, I don't love Arizona because their offense might be so inept that it doesn't matter. I'm more playing devil's advocate than anything else. I'm hoping Arizona shuts down the Dallas run game so we can see how Dak responds to it on the road, coming off a tough loss.