2008 Season NFL Football Past Picks
December 07, 2008
Dallas at Pittsburgh
Sunday 12/07 04:15 PM Eastern
4 units on Pittsburgh -3.5 (-110) (risk 4 to return 4) RESULT: WIN
The Cowboys have to be the biggest bandwagon team of 2008. When they started out the season playing very well, averaging 29.4 ppg in their first five games, everyone crowned them Super Bowl representatives from the NFC. Then they lost to Arizona and Romo went out. They followed that up with an embarrassing loss to St. Louis and all of a sudden, this team was destined to the trash heap. It wasn't just about Romo as everyone was pointing out the flaws in the rest of the team, a team that gave up 30 to Arizona, 34 to St. Louis and 35 to the Giants within a four week span. Well, then Romo came back and the Cowboys have won three straight and are coming off a big public flogging of Seattle on Thanksgiving day. Now the talking heads are once again annointing this team as the one that could beat New York in the NFC. Most are giving them a good shot at winning in Pittsburgh. Not me. Yes, Dallas is a VERY good team with Romo behind center. They are 26-9 with Romo starting. But let's not forget about the other team playing in this game. The Steelers are 41-19 with Ben Roethlisberger taking snaps - a much more impressive record. And, they own the league's top defense, and are playing at home in a big game. This defense held New England to 1-for-13 conversion on third down last week and sacked Matt Cassel - a supposedly mobile QB - five times. This defense has been so good, that it's allowed Pittsburgh to win, even when Big Ben has underproduced. Let's examine that. There were games this season in which Roethlisberger threw for 122, 164, 149, 168, 154, 160 and 172 yards. Pittsburgh's record in those games? They went 5-2! The Cowboys have the 9th ranked defense in yards allowed and the 16th ranked defense in points allowed. Not horrible but certainly not great. And, they may be without their best palyer this weekend - DeMarcus Ware. In contrast, the Steelers defense? Ranked #1 in rushing yards allowed, #1 in passing yards allowed, #1 in total yards allowed and #1 in points allowed. Give me that kind of defense, with a good offense, at home, laying just a field goal.