Tonight the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins square off on Monday Night Football. If you are a fan of the Cowboys, or just in the NFL in general, you know that “prime time” games haven’t seemed to treat them very well over the years.
The NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray, will have a big hand in avoiding another national TV nightmare. The Cowboys are 9 1/2 point favorites according to a list of betting sites, and have failed to cover the spread in seven of the past nine Monday Night appearances. Since 2013, Jason Garrett’s club is 4-4 against the spread when laying points at AT&T Stadium. Murray will look to keep his record-setting streak alive with his eighth consecutive 100-yard rushing game to start the season tonight. Last week, Murray broke Jim Brown’s record which stood at seven. The workhorse back is on pace for an NFL record 427 carries, 2,087 yards, and 16 TDs. With new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan at the helm, the Cowboys coaching staff has finally realized that with a superstar running back and one of the best offensive lines in the league, quarterback Tony Romo does not have to drop back nearly forty times per game.
With the new for running game, Tony Romo is now completing an NFL-high 69.2 percent of his passes, which is good for the top mark in the league. Romo has always been an extremely accurate passer, but this season he has been a little extra time to throw thanks to the addition of guard Zack Martin, the Cowboys first round draft pick this season. To give you an idea as to how good the Cowboys line has been this year, LT Tyron Smith was named NFC offensive player of the week a few weeks against the Seahawks. Smith is the first lineman to win an Offensive Player of the Week award since Chiefs guard Brian Waters got the award in 2004. Dallas has used its first round pick on an offensive lineman in 2011, 2013, and 2014.
The offensive side of the ball isn’t the only place the Cowboys are excelling. There aren’t any stats that are going to jump off the page at you, but there is one player in particular that needs to be given his props. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain has resurrected his career. According to ProFootballFocus.com, McClain is grading at +9.5 on the year, second-best among ILBs, with a 14.2 Run Stop Percentage, tops in the NFL at the position. Tonight he will have the task of trying to stop Alfred Morris, who will probably see more touches than normal, due to Colt McCoy getting the start tonight for the Washington Redskins. McCoy is making his first NFL start since 2011.
The Cowboys are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now, having won six straight games, and exercising their daemons against the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks. If the Cowboys can pull off the victory tonight, they would play the Arizona Cardinals next week at home in a battle between the only two one loss teams in the NFC.