The New York Giants (6-2) are the hottest team in the NFL right now having won five straight games, while the Dallas Cowboys (1-7) are the polar opposite of hot and fired Coach Wade Phillips this week.
The NFL betting lines for this contest list the Giants at -14 at home, with the betting total set at 45½.
It was the New York Giants that effectively ended the Dallas season by injuring Tony Romo in that Monday night game three weeks ago in a game where the Cowboys actually looked good up to that point, and they have just been going through the motions ever since, prompting Phillips’s removal.
And thus, the Jason Garrett era begins in Dallas. Garrett has already made a splash this week by putting the Cowboys through full contact drills for the first time since preseason. Whether or not that will translate to an improved effort remains to be seen.
Now much has been made of the fact that Phillips was the first coach the Dallas Cowboys have ever fired in the middle of a season, and the fact that they did not do so before a bye week, which has been a popular time for other teams to fire coaches in season, limits the coaching transition time. We mention this because since 1996, teams that have fired their coach mid-season on a non-bye week are a heinous 2-11 ATS!
Facing the Giants in his first game does not help Garratt’s cause either. The Giants are second in the NFL and first in the NFC in total offense at 401.0 yards per game, and they have done that with great balance, ranking third in the NFL in rushing (151.9 yards per game on 4.7 yards per rush) and ranking seventh in passing (249.1 yards per game on 7.4 yards per pass attempt).
You would think the offense should have a field day vs. a Dallas defense that has allowed 40.3 points and 433.0 yards per game over the last three weeks. This skid started with the first meeting between these teams where the Giants accumulated 497 yards in the 41-35 victory.
Then again, part of that had to do with the Cowboys simply quitting after Romo went down. Perhaps Garrett can use that game as a motivating tool to inspire Dallas to an improved performance in his first game as a professional head coach.
The scary part of this game is that there are loads of technical trends pointing to a Dallas cover! For example, road teams coming off of three or more consecutive losses are 93-70, 57.1 percent ATS Also, divisional road teams coming off a road game are 46-20, 69.7 percent ATS. And for good measure, teams that failed to cover the spread in their last game by 25 points or more are 76-38, 66.7 percent ATS.
The caveat may be though that most of the teams in those situations were giving a full effort, whereas Garrett may need to be somewhat of a miracle worker to get that kind of effort out of the Cowboys here.