Three weeks ago, the Dallas Cowboys were coming off a 28-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans in what essentially seemed like a must-win prime-time game on Monday Night Football. Fast-forward three weeks and the Cowboys are coming off back-to-back road wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, and look like they’re the favorite in the NFC East. First place will be on the line when they host the Washington Redskins on Thursday in what is one of the key games of Week 12:
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Odds: Cowboys -7.5
The Redskins are sinking as they’ve lost two of three and suffered an onslaught of injuries. The latest is the loss of starting quarterback Alex Smith. Now Washington turns to Colt McCoy with the hope that he can help salvage the season.
The Cowboys come in riding high as they’ve won two straight and are now the favorite to win the division. A recommitment to Ezekiel Elliott has made all of the difference as he has 388 total yards and three touchdowns in his last two games.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Odds: Saints -13
While the rest of the league deals with injuries and inconsistencies, the Saints have hit their stride with nine straight wins to take control of the NFC. Drew Brees is playing at an MVP level while the running-back tandem of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram looks impossible to slow down. Meanwhile, the Falcons don’t look like a team that is capable of slowing down the New Orleans offense. And the Falcons offense has sputtered with just 35 points in their last two games combined.
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
Odds: Panthers -3.5
With the Saints and Los Angeles Rams separating themselves from the pack atop the NFC, the Seahawks and Panthers are among the teams forced to battle for wild-card spots. Seattle is 5-5 and gets to face the team it is chasing. The Panthers are 6-4 and currently hold the final wild-card spot in the NFC.
The good news for the Panthers is they’re at home where they are a perfect 5-0 this season.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
Odds: Vikings -3.5
It wasn’t that long ago that it seemed like this game could determine the fate of the NFC North. Now the Packers and Vikings are merely looking to stay alive in the playoff race. Green Bay has lost three of four, including last week’s road loss to the Seahawks. Minnesota is also coming off a discouraging loss, getting worked over by the Chicago Bears in prime time.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
Odds: Texans -6
It appears as though Marcus Mariota will be OK after suffering a stinger in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Titans will need him as they attempt to regroup ahead of a Monday Night Football showdown vs the Texans. Houston has strung together seven straight wins to create some separation atop the division but there is still a long way to go in order to clinch the AFC South. The Titans are still in the thick of the playoff race as five teams are tied for the sixth and final playoff spot at 5-5.