Stephon Tuitt has six sacks in seven games to help the Pittsburgh Steelers stay undefeated. The Steelers lead the NFL with 30 sacks going into their week 9 meeting with the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas (4:25 EST) Photo by CBS Sports HQ (Twitter).
- The undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0) are 14.5-point favorites against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9
- Sunday Betting Record: 2-6-0, -4.10 Units
- Kick-off is Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET; See the game odds, spread and total as well as a preview below
Football life couldn’t be better for the Pittsburgh Steelers and it couldn’t be worse for the Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers (7-0) are off to the best start in franchise history and the Cowboys’ ability to compete disappeared after Dak Prescott was injured.
Given how weak the Cowboys’ offense has looked for the past three weeks, the Steelers’ status as a 14.5-point favorite doesn’t seem the least bit out of line.
With Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci replacing Prescott for the last three weeks, the Cowboys have managed to score a grand total of 22 points in 180 minutes of football.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Dallas Cowboys Odds
|Pittsburgh Steelers||-1000||-14.5 (-110)||O 43 (-110)|
|Dallas Cowboys||+700||+14.5 (-110)||U 43 (-110)|
Odds taken Nov. 7 from DraftKings
Steelers’ Defense Has Been Crucial to 7-0 Start
Much of the national talk about the Steelers has been about Ben Roethlisberger’s comeback from injury. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. Roethlisberger only has one 300-yard passing game, but he has completed 67.9% of his passes. He’s been machine-like in his efficiency.
However, the Steelers’ true strength has been a physical defense that leads the NFL with 30 sacks and 109 quarterback hits. Their 42.1 % quarterback pressure rate is 9.5% higher than any other team in the NFL. TJ Watt, Stephon Tuitt and Bud Dupree have combined for 19 sacks.
The Steelers have been almost as beastly against the rush, giving up about 97 yards per week. That ranks fifth in the NFL. As a result, they are surrendering 20.3 points per game, which ranks sixth.
Boy that defense is spooo000o00o0oky good!#WeDoNotCare #HereWeGo #Steelers pic.twitter.com/FffrCNeTtZ
— 5 Star Matchup (@5StarMatchup) October 30, 2020
Injuries and illness Make Cowboys Situation Worse
When quarterback Andy Dalton went on the Covid-19 list and it was announced that punter Chris Jones would miss multiple weeks with a muscle injury, there was a collective shrug in Dallas.
That’s just the way it has gone since Prescott was lost for the season because of an ugly ankle injury.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring) is also questionable, along with defensive end Aldon Smith (knee) and Joe Thomas (wrist).
Cowboys’ starting quarterbacks in five-game span
Week 5: Dak Prescott
Week 6: Andy Dalton
Week 7: Andy Dalton
Week 8*: Ben DiNucci
Week 9*: Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert
*First career NFL start for QB
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 4, 2020
The Steelers’ defense will be without defensive end Tyson Alualu (knee) and cornerback Mike Hilton (shoulder) is listed as doubtful.
Cowboys Will Start Fourth Different Quarterback in 5 weeks
The Dallas Cowboys are going to face the NFL’s No. 1 defense with a quarterback whose NFL experience is measured in passes, not years.
Garrett Gilbert, 29, has thrown six NFL passes, completing two, Cooper Rush, 26, is one-for-three in his NFL time. The two players shared practice time this week and one will be given the starter’s job.
At this point the Cowboys may be seriously better off starting their Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore at QB
— Bryan J (@bryan_judson) November 5, 2020
Whoever wins the job, he can expect a heavy rush from the Steelers. Ben DiNucci, last week’s starter, was sacked seven times in the six quarters he played after replacing Dalton.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Big Spread
The Steelers have the best pass rush team in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys’ pass blocking hasn’t been good and the Cowboys are planning to use an inexperienced quarterback
As a result, you should believe the Steelers can cover a 14.5-point spread.
Over the past three weeks, the Cowboys have lost by 28 points, 22 points and 14 points. Here’s the kicker: the Cowboys are 0-8 against the spread this season, matching the 2003 Raiders for the most losses against the spread, at the start of the season, over the past two decades.
Pick: Steelers: -14.5 (-110)
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.