Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Line
The Dallas Cowboys (7-6, 3-3 home) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6, 3-4 away) this Sunday at 4:25 EST. This contest has huge playoff implications as both teams are fighting for a wild-card spot in their respective conferences. The loser will have a slim to none chance of making it to the postseason. Taking a look at the lines for Week 15, I find a spread of Pittsburgh -1 over Dallas.
Why Pittsburgh Covers
The Steelers will be highly motivated following a bad 24-34 home loss to the San Diego Chargers last week. They essentially gave that game away as they outgained the Chargers 340-294. However, they committed two turnovers, including a fumble that was recovered in the end zone for a defensive touchdown by San Diego.
Ben Roethlisberger shook off the rust and threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns. He should be even sharper in his second start back from injury this week. The Steelers can also rely on a stop unit that is only giving up 20.3 points per game while ranking 1st in the league in total defense at 262.4 yards per game allowed.
This is a great match-up for their defense as well. Dallas relies heavily on a passing attack that ranks 3rd in the league at 292.2 yards per game. Pittsburgh has the antidote for Tony Romo and company. It ranks 1st in the league in passing defense, yielding a mere 169.2 yards per game through the air. Look for the Steelers to get after Romo as they manhandle a suspect Cowboys offensive line.
Pittsburgh is 43-18 against the spread vs. good passing teams averaging 7 or more passing yards/attempt since 1992. Dallas is 17-33 against the spread vs. good passing defenses – allowing 5.7 or less passing yards/att. since 1992. The Steelers are 11-2 against the spread following a loss over the last 3 seasons. Dallas is 0-6 against the spread at home this season.
Why Dallas Covers
The Cowboys have been a great second half team since Tony Romo took over as their starting quarterback. They have not disappointed over the final few months this season, either. They come in red hot having won four of their last five games to get right back in the NFC East and wild-card races.
Romo came up clutch last week as the Cowboys rallied around the death of teammate Jerry Brown. Trailing 10-19 with 6:35 remaining at Cincinnati, Romo hit Dez Bryant on a 27-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to two points. He got the ball back and led his team on a final drive that set up Dan Bailey’s 40-yard field goal as time expired. After another big win, this team comes in with a ton of confidence to say the least.
When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see that Dallas is a better team than it gets credit for. It ranks 10th in the league in total offense at 372.1 yards per game, and 11th in total defense at 336.6 yards per game. It is outgaining opponents by an average of 35.5 yards per game, which is one of the best margins in the NFL.
This is a streaky Cowboys team that plays well in stretches over the last few decades. That is evident by the fact that Dallas is 31-13 against the spread in home games after having won 3 out of its last 4 games since 1992. It is outscoring opponents by an average of 9.7 points per game in this spot. Mike Tomlin is 1-8 against the spread in road games off 2 or more consecutive overs as the coach of Pittsburgh.