Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys Betting Preview

Thursday, November 26, 2020, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 4:30 p.m. ET

Washington at Cowboys Betting Preview: Washington (+3/+140), Cowboys (-3/-167)

Washington Football Team

This year wasn’t supposed to be about winning for Washington, and at 3-7, it hasn’t been. Yet a mostly young team with a first-year coach, Ron Rivera, is going to get to play meaningful games down the stretch because its division is among the worst in NFL history.

If nothing else, the pressure-packed stretch run will give Rivera a better idea of who’s worth keeping when this team is good in a couple of years. And what Washington has learned is that its defense can keep it in most games, ranking ninth in points allowed, tied for third in sacks and tied for ninth in interceptions.

The offense isn’t quite as good. Although quarterback Alex Smith has authored quite a story by returning from a horrifying leg injury, there aren’t enough weapons for this unit to solve better defenses, although Dallas certainly isn’t in that category.

Dallas Cowboys

Welcome back, Dallas offense, where have you been for the previous month? Dak Prescott’s season-ending broken ankle and Andy Dalton’s frightening concussion two weeks apart rendered useless a unit with Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and a good line.

Until Prescott was hurt, the Cowboys were piling up stellar offensive numbers. And their defense was trending just as hard in the other direction. It was like watching the Air Coryell Chargers, version 2.0. You couldn’t stop them, but they couldn’t stop you.

Dallas’ defense has been a bit better the past few games, even coming up with a game-clinching stop Sunday in Minnesota after getting strafed most of the day. It must keep improving for this team to emerge from a morass of bad teams and win the weak NFC East.

Washington at Cowboys Betting Pick for Week 12

There was once a time when this matchup was the sexiest the NFL had to offer. It is far from that anymore, but the ratings will still be good Thursday, even if the football isn’t.

As for the nuts and bolts of this one, Dallas has to play much better in the trenches than it did last month, when Washington administered a beating, outgaining Dallas 397-142 in total yardage en route to a 25-3 victory. But Washington hasn’t won on the road yet, and its tendency to start slowly could prove decisive in this one.

Washington at Cowboys Betting Pick:

Cowboys 23, Washington 20

Washington at Cowboys Best Bet for Week 12

Common sense and recent trends suggest that wagering on the under might be the best play. Until Dallas’ victory over the Vikings last week, the Cowboys’ previous four games all went under, and four of Washington’s past six games have gone under.

Factor in a short prep week limiting the time for players to recover from injuries, plus the fact teams use fewer plays on a short week, and the under sure looks like the way to go.

Washington at Cowboys Best Bet: UNDER 46 total points (-103)

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, FedExField, Landover, Maryland, 1 p.m. ET

Bengals at Washington Betting Preview: Bengals (+1.5/+102), Washington (-1.5/-120)

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals (2-6-1) appear to be the same team that earned the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, but have improved in Year 2 under Zac Taylor and in the debut season of No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow.

Slotting in the AFC North with undefeated Pittsburgh and playoff-contenders in Baltimore and Cleveland, Cincinnati has still managed to contend most weeks. The Bengals are 1-2-1 this season in one-score games after an 0-8 mark in 2019.

Cincinnati is just two weeks removed from an impressive home win over the Tennessee Titans, but remains 0-4-1 on the road. Burrow has earned high marks so far for his accuracy and poise, and he’s thrown for 2,485 yards and 12 touchdowns against just five interceptions this season.

But with running back Joe Mixon still a question mark due to a foot injury, the Bengals’ one-sided offense was exposed at Pittsburgh where Burrow slumped to just 212 passing yards and the team finished 0-for-13 on third down conversions.

Injuries and COVID-19 issues have played havoc in the secondary, and the Bengals allowed 333 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to the Steelers after having just three cornerbacks available for that matchup. Cincinnati should get some stability there as cornerbacks Leshaun Sims and Mackensie Alexander are projected to return on Sunday.

Washington Football Team

Incredibly, Washington (2-7) remains in the division title chance thanks entirely due to the division in which it resides. The NFC East is a combined 2-18-1 against teams outside its division in 2020.

Any team that can string together two or three wins can seize control, and Washington has looked capable of late after the insertion of Alex Smith as the starting quarterback. Washington has lost two straight, but by a combined six points, with Smith at quarterback.

Dwayne Haskins’ ineffectiveness and Kyle Allen’s ankle injury have left the offense unproductive most of the season. But Smith posted career highs of 38 completions and 390 passing yards in a 30-27 loss at the Detroit Lions in Week 10. Smith sparked Washington to a 21-point second-half comeback, and the 27 points scored were the most for the team since a Week 1 win against Philadelphia (27-17).

Defensively, Washington will lean on a front four stocked with first-round draft picks, including 2020 No. 2 overall selection Chase Young. Kendall Fuller has snagged four interceptions. Washington has held just two opponents under 20 points all season, and won both games.

Bengals at Washington Betting Pick

Bruised by a tough division featuring strong pass rushers, the Bengals are 0-4 in the AFC North. But they’ve more than held their own outside of it (2-2-1).

With injuries decimating the offensive line and secondary in recent weeks, Cincinnati was ill-prepared for the Steelers. But with some of those players returning, and with Burrow manning the controls, the Bengals have been a tough out for most teams on the schedule.

Washington is 2-3 at home, but thus far has been incapable of winning outside the NFC East (0-5). Smith has given the team a needed offensive spark, and he and receiver Terry McLaurin (57 catches, 787 yards, three touchdowns) could give the Bengals fits.

Bengals at Washington Betting Pick:

Bengals 28, Washington 24

Bengals at Washington Best Bet

Cincinnati will be looking to bounce back from one of its worst offensive performances of the season and, to date, Burrow has yet to produce consecutive games that don’t pass muster. The Bengals have reached 30 or more points five times this season, while Washington has yet to score more than 27.

With good weather conditions in the forecast, and both teams dealing with secondary injuries, points could be plentiful. Smith has provided a lift, but Washington still hasn’t proven it can win — outside the division or in a game that hits the four-touchdown mark.

Bengals at Washington Best Bet: OVER 46.5 total points (-110)