Washington vs Cowboys Sunday Night Football Picks and Predictions: Back Dallas to Clinch NFC East Title

The Washington Football Team enters Jerry's World on a short week and will be without some key players, leaving the door open for Dak & Co. to get the offense back on track. Read more in our Sunday Night Football betting picks and predictions for Week 16.

Last Updated: Dec 26, 2021 5:15 PM ET Read Time: 5 min

The holidays are hectic enough for most folks and with COVID pushing around the NFL betting schedule, the Washington Football Team finds itself on the road for the second time this week when it visits the Dallas Cowboys for Sunday Night Football.

Washington was forced to play at Philadelphia on Tuesday due to an outbreak bumping their original Sunday slot, and the quick turnaround doesn’t help a roster plagued with injuries on both sides of the ball – a big reason why Dallas is a 10-point home favorite.

Here are our free NFL picks and predictions for Washington at Dallas on December 26.

Washington vs Cowboys odds

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

This spread opened as low as Dallas -9 following Washington’s loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday and was bet up as big as -10.5 before most shops settled at Cowboys -10. However, as of Sunday morning, Dallas -10 is juiced as high as -115 and could jump off the key number to -10.5 as late money has sided with the Cowboys the last three weeks. This total is at 46.5 points.

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.

Washington vs Cowboys predictions

Predictions made on 12/26/2021 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Washington vs Cowboys game info

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Date: Sunday, December 26, 2021
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET

Washington at Cowboys betting preview


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Key injuries

Washington: Curtis Samuel WR (Out), Brian Johnson K (Out), Jamin Davis LB (Out), Landon Collins S (Out), William Jackson III CB (Out)
Cowboys: Tyron Smith T (Out), Israel Mukuamu S (Out), Jourdan Lewis CB (Out)
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cowboys are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 vs. NFC East. Find more NFL betting trends for Washington vs. Cowboys.

Washington vs Cowboys picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Given the WFT’s quick turnaround as well as lengthy injury report and an exhausting week of COVID protocols, getting Dallas at -10 feels like a steal. 

Yes, Washington did put a fright into Cowboys backers two weeks ago when they nearly backdoored as 6.5-point home dogs, battling back from a 24-0 hole to lose 27-20. And Dallas does have a potential lookahead spot in play, with a trip to Arizona on tap next week. But motivations are opposite in this game, as is the health of both squads.

The Cowboys have the firepower on both sides of the ball to cover this bulky spread. The talent-rich passing game continues to drag its toes, with a success rate per play of just 39.6% the past three games (27th), but this could be a get-right game for Dak Prescott.

Washington ranks 27th in Pass Defense DVOA at Football Outsiders and that’s before you factor in a depleted secondary missing key pieces and playing their second game in six days. The WFT defense was on the field for more than 35 minutes against a very aggressive Eagles RPO attack Tuesday and played 34 and a half minutes against Dallas the week before. 

The Cowboys are a dynamic offense that can move the chains through the air and on the ground – and get RB Tony Pollard back for Week 16 – with the second-fastest offensive tempo in the league, calling a play every 26.34 seconds. Dallas will go for the throat early, looking to get up big and buckle Washington’s stop unit. And those fearing a potential backdoor with a spread this big need to ensure you’re getting Cowboys -10 and avoid that half-point hook that came into play the last time these two rivals measured up.

Prediction: Cowboys -10 (-110)

Washington hasn’t been able to crack the 20-point plateau in its last four outings and could take the field Sunday night without two of its top weapons in RB Antonio Gibson and WR Curtis Samuel. That’s bad news against a Dallas defense that has been the star of the show for America’s Team the last month.

Dallas ranks No. 1 EPA allowed per play since Week 13 (-0.339) – a bit of a soft stat due to the level of offensive opposition during that span. However, we can’t deny the revitalized pass rush with defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence both back in action and the chaos-causing secondary that continues to turn teams over. 

If the Cowboys get up early, that will force Washington to abandon its shorter playbook and press with the pass. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who missed Week 15 due to COVID, has been sacked 19 times over his past six starts, including four sacks in the loss to Dallas in Week 14. He’s also thrown an interception in each of his last three appearances. 

Dallas could turn to the ground game if it holds a solid second-half lead, drawing out drives and chewing up possession. The Cowboys rushing attack has started to show up again after going MIA in the middle of the schedule with Ezekiel Elliott and Pollard acting as the bullpen in the final two frames.

Prediction: Under 46.5 (-110)

This is Dallas’ first home game in a month coming off a stretch of three straight roadies since the annual Thanksgiving Day homestand. 

The Cowboys see a major uptick in offensive efficiency inside Jerry’s World, leading the NFL in points per play as a host (+0.535) – a stark contrast to the team’s output on the road (+0.333 – 22nd). Prescott has passed for 25 total touchdowns in 2021 and 16 of them have come inside AT&T Stadium, where he owns a sterling passer rating of 115.3 (versus 86.6 away from home).

There’s a lot of pressure on this offense to figure out what’s wrong with their passing attack before the postseason, and it’s no secret the receivers' room wants to get right in Week 16. Star WR Amari Cooper voiced his frustrations this week, which should light a fire under Prescott and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

We like Dak to pass for more than 2.5 touchdowns and if you buy into the phrase, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” you may also want action down on Cooper’s TD prop (+162) for Sunday Night Football.

Pick: Dak Prescott Over 2.5 TD passes (+185)

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