NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Toughest Call
by Dennis Ranahan

A National Football League game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants seems as old as the league. But in reality, the Cowboys didn’t join the NFL until 1960, the same year Lamar Hunt introduced the American Football League with his franchise, the Dallas Texans.

Three years into the experiment of having an AFL franchise going head-to-head against an NFL team, prompted Hunt to transfer his franchise to Kansas City. After the move, the former Dallas Texans rebranded themselves as the Kansas City Chiefs, named for the mayor who guaranteed sellout revenus to the team.

Tonight, when the Giants and Cowboys renew their rivalry on national TV, the winless home team is favored over a visitor that the Cowboys beat twice last season.

From a pure motivational perspective, that swings an advantage to the visitor. But, the Cowboys lost last week on the road, 16-8 at Carolina, and would surely appear poised for a win tonight in front of their home fans.

What has to be factored into the equation tonight is that the Cowboys are an unreliable favorite against a division opponent that they beat twice last season. That factor by my charts is more important than weather Dak Prescott is scheduled to have a big day or Eli Manning is past his prime.

I don’t think either of those things are true.

Prescott can never be scheduled to have a good game when his team is coming off a loss and favored on the point spread. Prescott, like almost all the quarterbacks and teams in the NFL, will have good days when they are most challenged, and fall flat when their failures are hidden behind high expectations.

I think the Giants are going to be a lot better than anyone expects this season, but they lost their home opener … a real bad sign for a squad looking for good things. If, the Jacksonville Jaguars go on to have a championship season, then perhaps a five point setback on their home field does not have to spell certain doom for the New York team in blue.

But, to back the Giants on the road after they lost what appeared to be a great opportunity at home is not the thinking that builds a bigger bankroll.

The Cowboys downed the Giants twice last season, and are unlikely to do it again this year. The Giants get points tonight on the spread, something they probably won’t have in the return meeting at Metlife Stadium when they close out the 2018 regular season on December 30..

Points on the spread are nice, but the winning team will take home the money 84% of the time.

Do the Giants really have an opportunity to upset the Cowboys in their home stadium?

Yes.

And that prospect is enhanced by the fact that they are getting a field goal on the spread.

What we have here is clear evidence that the Cowboys are not the right play tonight, but inconclusive data that justify the thought that the Giants are the right play.

When confronted with such a dilemma, we make the toughest call of all on a primetime game … no play.