Cowboys Field-Goal Favorites at Oakland for Sunday Night Football

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The Dallas Cowboys, with a rejuvenated Dak Prescott and a reinforced defense, also take two positive trends into a do-or-done game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night.

The Cowboys are listed as a three-point road favorite against the Raiders with a 45-point total for the Week 15 Sunday night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NFL Database shows that the Cowboys are 8-2 straight-up and 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games as a favorite on the road, as well as a commendable 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS when laying 3.5 or fewer points. Bettors sizing up the underdog Raiders and QB Derek Carr will have to measure their desultory defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14 against a 9-2 ATS mark in their last 11 games after consecutive ATS losses.

The fortunes of the Cowboys, who are 7-6 SU and ATS, have been yoked to the health of their offensive line. While RT La’el Collins (back) is listed as questionable, he has been playing without practicing over the past few games, so he should be good to go for a likely matchup against OLB Khalil Mack, edge rusher extraordinaire. Otherwise, the Cowboys, who are 5-1 SU in their last six night games, have a good matchup in the passing phase.

The Raiders allow a whopping 7.7 yards per pass and a have a NFL-low two interceptions, and Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has been very productive over the past few games.

The Dallas rushing game has been serviceable of late with an Alfred Morris-Rod Smith rotation in place of suspended star Ezekiel Elliott.

Regarding the Raiders, who are 6-7 SU and 4-8-1 ATS, the big question is whether they will come out with some urgency after mailing in the first three quarters against Kansas City. It isn’t overly auspicious that the Raiders are 3-7 SU and ATS in their last 10 home games as underdogs of 3.5 or fewer points, nor is it promising that No. 1 WR Amari Cooper (hamstring) will not be available to take advantage a young Dallas defensive secondary.

The Raiders will need to coax some consistency out of receivers such as WR Johnny Holton in order to test the likes of CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis and SS Xavier Woods. Oakland RT Marshall Newhouse could also have his hands full against DE DeMarcus Lawrence, an elite pass rusher in his own right.

Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch has five touchdowns in as many games, but the Cowboys rush defense has been fortified considerably now that OLB Anthony Hitchens and OLB Sean Lee are healthy again.

The favored team is 4-0 SU in the last four games of this matchup. Five of the Cowboys’ last six games have gone under, and the total has also gone under six of the last eight times that the Cowboys were favored on the road by 3.5 points or less.

Peter King ranks every single NFL team heading into the summer

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Mid-May. Time to take stock of the offseason. There’s not much left for teams to do before training camp. Vets with something left (Ndamukong Suh, Muhammad Wilkerson, Jay Ajayi, maybe Chris Long) could land somewhere, but those guys aren’t going to shift the balance of power in pro football’s 100th season.

So here are my rankings of the teams with most of the chairs being taken, and the music about to stop. Instead of justifying my pick in many of the fat-graf explanations, I’ll take some space on a key point that could determine success or failure with the team.

I fully expect to be wildly incorrect, so react accordingly.

The 2018 playoff teams are marked with asterisks … The teams that finished under .500 in 2018 are marked with plus-signs.

1. *KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2018: 13-5)

Seems a little crazy with the firing of the 2017 NFL rushing champ (Kareem Hunt) six months ago and the iffy status of the NFL’s most dangerous weapon because of a child-abuse investigation (Tyreek Hill). But this is an In-Mahomes-We-Trust pick, mostly. I wonder if you could ever say that a rookie picked as low as 56—that was the draft slot of the Chiefs’ top pick, Georgia receiver-returner Mecole Hardman—would enter a season as the rookie with the most pressure to produce at a high level from opening day. With Hill facing a possible suspension to start the season, or more significant banishment, Hardman’s a huge factor for the Chiefs. I went back and watched his highlights from the 2018 national title game against Alabama, and he made a couple of prime-time plays. He took a shotgun snap at quarterback from the ‘Bama 1-yard line, play-faked to Sony Michel, and beat three defenders around the left corner for a touchdown. Then he flashed his 4.33 speed down the right sideline, beating the Alabama corner for an 80-yard TD from Jake Fromm. But is Hardman as tough and competitive as Hill? Will he strike fear into defenses? We’ll see in a tough three-week open to the KC season: at Jacksonville, at Oakland, Baltimore at home.

Read more from Football Morning in America here

2. *NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2018: 14-5)

I just kept thinking as New England, round-by-round, let tight ends go by in the draft: Well, Bill Belichick knows he needs a tight end badly, and if he doesn’t take one, it must mean he didn’t love one, or he has plans beyond the draft. One of those plans, post-Gronk, was Ben Watson, who was highly peeved to not be active for the NFC title game as a Saint, and felt he had unfinished business as a player when he retired after the season. Watson, even at 38, is a useable player familiar with Patriot ways because he played for them for six years. I’m not sure Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be much of a factor either. And we’ll see who else comes available. Could Kyle Rudolph, for instance, in Minnesota, be a June cap casualty? That would be a golden piece for New England, though I have no idea if he’d sign with the Patriots if released. Looking at the Patriots this spring, I’m not going to sit here and kill them for not taking a Jace Sternberger in the draft. I, along with the rest of the media world, learned a lesson sometime around the fifth or sixth Super Bowl that Belichick and personnel czar Nick Caserio might know what they’re doing, and they usually figure out a better-than-competent roster to play with Tom Brady by November.

Quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts. (Getty Images)

3. *INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2018: 11-7)

My first surprise, having the Colts this high. I’m relying on Justin Houston an awful lot here. The Colts haven’t had a pass-rusher have a premier season since 2013, when Robert Mathis had his last great rush season with 19.5 sacks. Houston had an impact year at 29 last fall for Kansas City (14 games, 11 sacks, including playoffs), which is why the Colts outbid others for his services on the free market in March. But he missed 5, 12, 1 and 4 games (regular and postseason) in his last four Chief seasons, so this is a gamble. If the Colts get 12 effective games out of him—and if two or three or those are in the postseason—the investment will be worth it. Big if. You can tell I’m buying Houston being able to have one more strong year for a good team. I’m probably sold mostly by the fact I saw his last game for Kansas City—the overtime classic against New England in the AFC title game—and Houston played an astounding 95 of 97 snaps that cold Sunday at Arrowhead, frequently buzzing around Tom Brady.

See where the other 29 teams fall in Peter King’s Football Morning in America

Can Raiders actually trust Josh Jacobs to be a featured RB?

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Josh Jacobs, the first-round pick of the Raiders and the first running back picked in the 2019 draft, takes a truly bizarre college résumé into his NFL career.

• Jacobs played 40 games at Alabama. He ran for 100 yards against Kentucky in his fourth college outing, and then, in his final 36 games, never ran for 100 yards in a game.

• His highest 10 rushing games as a collegian, in yards gained: 100, 98, 97, 97, 89, 83, 68, 57, 52, 51.

• His biggest workloads as a collegian, in numbers of rushes in a game: 20, 16, 15, 12, 11, 11, 10, 9, 9, 8.

• In one of 40 college games, including receptions, Jacobs touched the ball 20 times.

Not to sound an alarm bell or anything, but the Raiders want Jacobs to be a bellcow back, the kind who regularly will have 20 touches or more in a game. It’s entirely possible that he’ll be great at that role. But if he is, it’ll be the first time doing it since high school in Oklahoma. In three years at Alabama, Jacobs was part of Nick Saban’s running back-by-committee system. This is going to be a very interesting test for Jacobs starting in September.

Read more from Football Morning in America here