Week 9 Preview: Cardinals at Cowboys

The Arizona Cardinals have stabilized after a loss in Denver while the Dallas Cowboys may be on the verge of reeling. Find out what Sunday's key matchups are, a betting guide and a prediction of who'll win.

Preview

After losing to the Denver Broncos in Week 5, the Arizona Cardinals (6-1) have rebounded to win three straight games. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys (6-2) were the toast of the NFL until losing to the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football a week ago. Now, with QB Tony Romo questionable for Sunday’s contest against Arizona, the Cowboys’ magical season appears to be hitting a few speed bumps. The Cardinals won’t show any sympathy as they’ve overcome numerous obstacles already this year and Dallas will need to do same coming off a short week.


Key Matchups

DeMarco Murray vs. Cardinals run defense

The Cowboys rushing attack has been tremendous this season, averaging 161.1 yards per game on the ground and has really opened things up for Romo and the passing game. Murray is tops amongst NFL running backs with 131.8 yards per game and has already surpassed 1,000 yards rushing through his first eight games of the season. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals rank third in the NFL allowing less than 78 yards per game rushing. Something will have to give in this matchup and whoever wins the battle upfront will likely prevail on Sunday afternoon.

Carson Palmer vs. Cowboys pass defense

Despite missing time with a nerve injury, Palmer has been nothing short of tremendous in 2014 and is coming into his own under coach Bruce Arians’ offense. Palmer is completing 61% of his passes and has a QB Rating of 98.3. Dallas’ pass defense has been respectable so far, ranking 15th in the NFL, but that unit just allowed Redskins third-string QB Colt McCoy to throw for 299 yards. While demonstrating his playmaking abilities of old, Palmer has also been limiting his mistakes. He’ll need to continue that against a Dallas defense that is far from dominant.


Betting Guide

Arizona

Cardinals are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog of 0.5-3.0.
Cardinals are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games as an underdog.
Cardinals are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 road games.
Cardinals are 9-2 ATS following a SU win.
Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC.
Cardinals are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Dallas.

Dallas

Cowboys are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.
Cowboys are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 games as a home favorite of 0.5-3.0.
Cowboys are 8-22 ATS in the last 30 games as a home favorite.
Cowboys are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 games when playing on a Sunday following a Monday night game.
Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 9.


Prediction

The Cardinals have clearly struggled in Dallas of late, but this team is mentally tough enough to beat the Cowboys on their home turf. Add in the fact that there’s a good chance Romo won’t play and it’s hard to bet against Arizona. Even if Romo does take the field, he’s one play away from exiting. Look for the Arizona offense to stay balanced throughout the game and key on Murray to stop Dallas’ rushing attack. In the end, the Cardinals will come out on top and it might not even be this close.

Pick: Arizona +2.5

Score: Arizona 23 Dallas 17


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