Dallas Cowboys desperate to avert 0-2 crisis
There is some good news for the Cowboys. The Redskins might be even more of a mess. Dallas is the play as a 3-point underdog at Washington.
September 16, 2016 - 10:48 pm
One game into the season, the Dallas Cowboys are facing a potential crisis. What that means is it’s business as usual for owner Jerry Jones, the face of a franchise that seems in perpetual disarray.
With their franchise quarterback crippled, their franchise clown — wide receiver Dez Bryant — is about to go berserk if he’s not getting the football. Jason Garrett is about to be put back on the coaching hot seat. Jones is about to give Garrett another vote of confidence.
The Cowboys are about to be left alone in the NFC East basement, unless they can find a way to win at Washington on Sunday.
The only dull moments in Dallas come when the playoffs start, and NFL teams that start 0-2 rarely reach the postseason (it happens around 10 percent of the time.)
But there is some good news for the Cowboys. The Redskins might be even more of a mess, if their sad showing Monday night is any kind of indication of what’s to come. There are countless clueless people in high positions in Washington, D.C., and not all of them are politicians.
Kirk Cousins, Jay Gruden, Joe Barry and Josh Norman had some explaining to do after the Redskins’ 38-16 humiliation at the hands of Pittsburgh in prime time.
Cousins tossed two interceptions and alligator-armed a few other throws. Gruden was a coach with no answers. Barry, the defensive coordinator, left his $75 million cornerback (Norman) on the left side of the field while the league’s top wide receiver (Antonio Brown) ran free on the opposite side and found the end zone with ease.
Bryant, who had one catch for 8 yards in a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants, might see more action this weekend. The Redskins definitely will see a lot of running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, who have the ability to control the game behind Dallas’ dominant offensive line.
The Cowboys, 1-12 in their past 13 games without injured quarterback Tony Romo, need rookie Dak Prescott to literally run the offense in his second start. Prescott attempted too many passes (45) in Week 1, and he was 0-for-6 on throws of 20-plus yards, according to Pro Football Focus.
Dallas is 1-8 at home since the start of the 2015 season. But the road is where the Cowboys deliver the cash — 11-5 in their past 16 with three consecutive straight-up wins at Washington — so I’ll back the 3-point road underdog.
Four more plays for Week 2 (home team in CAPS):
• Titans (+6) over LIONS: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford had it easy against Indianapolis, but he’ll have a tougher time against the Tennessee defense. Look for Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota to clean up his mistakes while DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry get physical on the ground.
• BROWNS (+6½) over Ravens: In this league, teams that looked terrible in Week 1 tend to turn it around in Week 2. Cleveland was crushed at Philadelphia, and the public will overreact. The Browns were truly bad, but they should be better with Josh McCown replacing injured quarterback Robert Griffin III. Baltimore did not exactly light up the scoreboard by scoring 13 points against Buffalo.
• RAMS (+6½) over Seahawks: This is another ugly ’dog. No team looked worse in Week 1. But this also is a good spot for Los Angeles in its home opener. The Rams do have redeeming qualities with their defensive front and running back Todd Gurley. Seattle’s offensive line is weak, and quarterback Russell Wilson has a bad ankle.
• Jaguars (+3) over CHARGERS: Jacksonville totaled 348 yards against a good Green Bay defense. Blake Bortles held his ground against Aaron Rodgers, and he’s up to the task of trading shots with Philip Rivers. San Diego’s offense is reeling from the loss of wideout Keenan Allen.
Last week: 3-2 against the spread
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports betting columnist Matt Youmans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. He co-hosts “The Las Vegas Sportsline” weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio (1100 AM). Follow @mattyoumans247 on Twitter.