Broncos vs Cowboys Week 9 Picks and Predictions: Denver's Horsepower Insufficient in Dallas

The Cowboys made a major statement last week, while the Broncos said goodbye to a legend and are ready to wind down the clock. Our picks break down whether Denver can cover against an electrifying offense in Dallas in Week 9.

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2021 11:49 AM ET Read Time: 5 min
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The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a statement win last Sunday night and host the Denver Broncos as big NFL betting favorites in Week 9.

The Cowboys, who knocked off Minnesota without starting quarterback Dak Prescott in Week 8, are 10-point favorites this Sunday, expecting to have Prescott under center against a Broncos team that just traded away the face of the franchise. That has this contest lining up as a motivational mismatch, with Dallas pushing for the postseason and Denver possibly packing it in.

Here are our free NFL picks and predictions for Broncos at Cowboys on November 7.

Broncos vs Cowboys odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Cowboys opened as low as -7.5 for this non-conference matchup but quickly jumped to -9 by Monday and swelled to -10 on Tuesday afternoon, with some buyback on the Broncos bringing the spread down to -9.5. The total opened at 49.5 points and has stayed steady early into the week.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Broncos vs Cowboys picks

Picks made on 11/2/2021 at 3:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Broncos vs Cowboys game info

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Date: Sunday, November 7, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Broncos at Cowboys betting preview


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Key injuries

Broncos: Noah Fant TE (Out), Mike Purcell DT (Out), Malik Reed LB (Out), Garrett Bolles T (Out).
Cowboys: Blake Jarwin TE (Out), Tyron Smith T (Out), Michael Gallup WR (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cowboys are 6-2-1 ATS as home favorites of more than a touchdown (-7 or higher) since 2016, when Prescott took over as QB1. Find more NFL betting trends for Broncos vs. Cowboys.

Broncos vs Cowboys predictions

The Cowboys continue to cover, staying perfect against the spread through seven games but laying a lot of lumber at home in Week 9. Dallas’s offense will be a full strength for this matchup with the Broncos, who have fallen well short of their defensive expectations in 2021.

An injury to Bradley Chubb and now the departure of Von Miller (traded to the Rams on Monday), leaves this once mighty pass rush toothless. Denver does have 20 sacks on the season but a quarter of those came against the Jets in Week 3. It’s generated pressure on only 23 percent of its opponents’ dropbacks despite blitzing on 28.5 percent of those snaps – sixth most in the NFL.

Dallas is not the offense you want to roll the dice on with extra pass rushers. Prescott has been surgical in the short passing game, boasting 7.4 intended air yards per target while completing 74 percent of his passes and feeling pressure on less than 16 percent of dropbacks. When Dak isn’t doing damage with a bevvy of dangerous targets, the rushing attack of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard is plowing through defensive lines for 4.9 yards per carry and keeping pass rushers honest. 

Denver’s defensive metrics are a bit misleading, puffing up its averages due to a schedule laden with offensively-challenged opponents. However, the Broncos have given up big gains to the likes of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas, and rank 25th in defensive DVOA – pulling back the curtain on what has been a soft stop unit so far.

Offensively, Denver can’t go tit-for-tat with Dallas. Teddy Bridgewater and this playbook just don’t move that fast - 29.64 seconds per play (28th) – and when they aren’t milking the clock, they’re not moving the chains or finding the end zone. The Broncos managed just 17 points in a win over Washington last Sunday and boasts a dismal EPA per play of +0.003 since Week 4. 

No team has been able to slow this Dallas offense with Prescott at the wheel, especially in Arlington where the Cowboys boast an average points per play margin of +0.229 – second highest in the league. We missed out on that opener of -7.5, so make sure you get the -9.5 below the next key number stop. 

Sunday’s win was special for backup QB Cooper Rush but it was even sweeter for the Dallas defense, which has been criticized for the better part of the past three years. The Cowboys were thriving on takeaways and that was hiding some unimpressive defensive metrics, which won’t go away after just one win.

That said, this unit is really coming together under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Over the past three games, Dallas’s defense owns an EPA per play of -0.114, which ranks third lowest since Week 5. The Cowboys have been especially stingy against the pass, ranked No. 7 in DVOA, and are always a threat to steal the ball away with 11 interceptions in 2021.

As mentioned, the Broncos offense doesn’t pack much punch and while it did return some top targets in WR Jerry Jeudy and TE Albert Okwuegbunam last week, Denver isn’t built to play from behind. It averages just 2.5 points per first quarter and 8.4 first-half points – among the lowest in the league. Dallas is on the other end of that split, and will get up quick and force this Denver gameplan to be very one-dimensional.

Cooper recently gave his teammates on Dallas's offense diamond-encrusted dog tags and come Week 9, he’ll give prop bettors a nice payday. Not only does Amari get Dak back under center, but he faces a Broncos secondary that gets torched by top receivers.

Denver is 27th in defensive DVOA versus WR1s and could be without top nickel corner Bryce Callahan for Sunday, after he left with a hyperextended knee in Week 8. The Broncos are giving up more than 12 yards per completion over the last three games and have allowed 29 passing plays of 20 yards or more, including seven plays of 40-plus.

Cooper has been working through some hamstring tightness but that hasn’t slowed him down. He finished with eight grabs on 13 targets for 122 yards against the Vikings (with Rush making those throws) and will thrive back home on the fast track inside Jerry's World.

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