Sunday, November 8, 2020, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 4:25 p.m. ET
Steelers at Cowboys Betting Preview: Steelers (-13.5/-114), Cowboys (+13.5/-106)
The Steelers look to start 8-0 for the first time in franchise history as they aim to supplant the 1978 “Steel Curtain” squad for the top beginning to a campaign.
Pittsburgh is on the road for the third consecutive week, having begun the stretch by beating two AFC title contenders, the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are fifth in the NFL in scoring offense (30.1 points per game) and sixth in scoring defense (20.3) while rating third in the league with 10 interceptions.
Pittsburgh has racked up an NFL-best 30 sacks with linebackers T.J. Watt (6.5) and Bud Dupree (six) plus defensive end Stephon Tuitt (six) leading the charge. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 1,628 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions but has failed to reach 200 yards in two of the past three games. Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had recorded 16 of his team-high 39 receptions in the past two games but has averaged fewer than 10 yards per catch in four straight contests.
The Steelers regain a valuable piece of their offensive line as guard Stefen Wisniewski (pectoral) was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday — he didn’t practice — after a six-game absence. Defensive tackle Cameron Hayward (quadriceps) was injured in last week’s game against the Ravens, but the outlook is good after he was a full practice participant on Wednesday.
The Cowboys (2-6) have lost three consecutive games and will be starting their fourth quarterback of the season as they try to upset the Steelers.
Dak Prescott (ankle) was lost for the season, Andy Dalton is on the reserve/COVID-19 list and rookie Ben DiNucci struggled in his first career start against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, so either Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert will start versus Pittsburgh. Neither player has started an NFL game, but Rush may have an edge as he spent the past three seasons as a backup with the Cowboys.
Dallas has scored just 22 points total in the three games Prescott has missed as its scoring average has dropped from 32.6 to 23.1. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has been unable to pick up the slack, managing just 157 rushing yards during the stretch and failing to reach 50 in two of the contests. Amari Cooper has team-best figures of 54 receptions and 588 yards but had just one catch for 5 yards with DiNucci under center against the Eagles.
The Dallas defense has allowed a whopping 266 points — a league-worst 33.3 average — despite giving up “only” 48 over the past two games. Defensive Aldon Smith (team-high five sacks) is nursing a knee injury and was limited at Wednesday’s practice, as was Elliott (hamstring).
Steelers at Cowboys Betting Pick for Week 9
Pittsburgh has been marching through its schedule with impressive victories and would like to end the road stretch with a convincing win. Having its opportunistic defense going up against a novice quarterback and a team with a minus-11 turnover margin almost seems unfair.
Dallas stunningly hasn’t covered the point spread at all this season, and there doesn’t seem to be much chance the team will do so on Sunday. It figures to be a tough day for either Rush (three career NFL pass attempts) or Gilbert (six) as the Cowboys trend toward another setback.
Steelers at Cowboys Betting Pick:
Steelers 30, Cowboys 6
Steelers at Cowboys Best Bet for Week 9
Pittsburgh should be in control of this contest from the outset on both sides of the ball. The Steelers could reach the 30-point mark and still have the total fall under due to the Dallas quarterback situation.
Steelers at Cowboys Best Bet: UNDER 41.5 (-114)