Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-10, 48)
The Dallas Cowboys learned last week that the prevent defense is anything but a certainty. The Cowboys will look to bounce back from a crushing loss and hang onto their lead in the NFC East when they host the struggling Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Vikings don’t have the type of explosive passing game that has doomed the Dallas defense and Adrian Peterson is averaging only 50 rushing yards in the last three games.
The Cowboys surrendered 623 total yards at Detroit last week, with the last 80 coming in the final 50 seconds to give the Lions an improbable 31-30 victory. Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant got into a pair of shouting matches with teammates and coaches on the sidelines during that game but the team insists there are no hard feelings. “There’s not a guy that you love playing more with on Sundays than Dez Bryant,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten told ESPN Dallas. “I feel like I have a lot of passion and I think he matches that passion.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE: The Cowboys opened as 10.5-point faves and are now -10. The total opened 47 and is up to 48.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (1-6): Minnesota’s defense is nearly as poor as the Cowboys but the majority of the attention is being placed on the quarterback position, where Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder seem to be in a weekly competition for the starting job. Neither passer managed to take advantage of an opportunity to start, but Ponder will be under center for the second straight week. The unsettled situation at quarterback and a nagging hamstring injury are keeping Peterson from replicating his historic 2012 campaign, when he amassed 2,097 yards on the ground.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (4-4): Dallas could use some of Bryant’s "passion" on the defensive side of the ball, where new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has his unit last in the NFL while surrendering an average of 422.5 yards. The Cowboys have already allowed four different quarterbacks to pass for over 400 yards and were burned for the second-highest receiving total in NFL history when Calvin Johnson piled up 329 yards last week. Tony Romo is enjoying a solid season at quarterback but is not getting much help from the running game with DeMarco Murray (knee) sitting out the past two games after being limited to 14 carries or less in the previous three.
* Favorite is 9-0 ATS in their last nine meetings.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games.
* Over is 10-1 in Vikings last 11 games in Week 9.
1. Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring) is not expected to play and S Barry Church (hamstring) is questionable.
2. Minnesota WR Greg Jennings (knee) sat out practice on Wednesday and is questionable.
3. Dallas is 11-0 when Murray gets 18 or more carries.