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Commanders vs Cowboys Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFL Week 18

Commanders vs Cowboys Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFL Week 18 article feature image
  • The Cowboys are 7.5-point favorites against the Commanders.
  • Dallas needs to win and get an Eagles loss to win the NFC East.
  • Cody Goggin makes his Commanders vs. Cowboys pick below.

Dallas has a lot to potentially play for in Week 18, as we looks through the Commanders vs. Cowboys odds.

Appearing to be out of the race just before Christmas, the Cowboys have surged back into the NFC East race in large part to Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts missing games due to injury.

The Cowboys are just a win and an Eagles loss away from the NFC East crown. Better yet, if they win the NFC East and San Francisco loses, Dallas would jump from its current spot as the fifth seed all the way to first. 

Playing at the same time as the Eagles, the Cowboys will have to plan on showing full effort if they want a shot at the division title.

The Commanders have been eliminated already, even if head coach Ron Rivera may not have known last week. After the questionable decision to start Carson Wentz in Week 17, Washington is switching gears at quarterback again, going with rookie Sam Howell for his first NFL start.

Commanders vs. Cowboys Odds

Sunday, Jan. 8
4:25 p.m. ET
Commanders Odds
-106o / -114u
Cowboys Odds
-106o / -114u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Commanders vs. Cowboys Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Commanders and Cowboys match up statistically:

Commanders vs. Cowboys DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA1413
Pass DVOA1317
Rush DVOA910
Overall DVOA282
Pass DVOA273
Rush DVOA295

Sam Howell was once considered to be in the running to be the first overall pick in 2022 NFL Draft, then he had a disappointing final season at North Carolina. Howell fell out of favor with seemingly the whole NFL and slipped down to the fifth round, where Washington took a shot on him. 

As Washington has waffled between Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, Howell has not yet had a chance to play. In the action he did get over the preseason, Howell looked solid, throwing for 547 yards on 69 attempts and completing 62.3% of his passes, with one touchdown and one interception. He also had 94 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns in three games.

Bet Dallas vs. Washington at FanDuel

Evaluating Howell in college, I was not a huge fan. In 2021, Mack Brown was more interest in using him as a battering ram (858 rushing yards) up the middle than as a downfield passer. However, after re-watching all of Howell’s preseason snaps, he looks the part of a capable NFL quarterback.

Howell’s ability to run is often on display. When he finds himself having problems in the pocket, he has good enough awareness to make a play and get out of danger. There were multiple times this preseason when Howell used his legs to extend plays, both in the running game and downfield.

Sam Howell making plays for the @Commanders 🌀

📱: Stream #CARvsWAS on NFL+

— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2022

Sam Howell showing off his elusiveness 👀 (via @SharpFootball)

— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) August 28, 2022

Dallas’ defense is one of the best at pressuring quarterbacks. The Cowboys rank first in pass rush win rate, while the Commanders are 28th in pass block win rate. Dallas is also second pass rushing grade (PFF), third in sacks and first in pressure rate at 25.6%. Washington will be at the third-largest disadvantage in the passing game this week, according to PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart.

With how good Dallas’ defensive front is and how bad Washington has been at pass blocking, I don’t have any doubts about the Cowboys spending a lot of time in the Commanders' backfield. 

Betting Picks

With this mismatch in the trenches, Howell will be battling for his life all game. The pressure will flush him from the pocket a good amount and leave him with ample opportunities to make plays with his legs.

The market doesn’t seem to be expecting the amount of rushing volume that I expect Howell will get. I could see him approaching 10 carries as there may be some designed runs for him mixed in with those scrambles. Young quarterbacks typically have a propensity to bail from the pocket early, especially when under duress, which only helps this bet.

While I’m not confident about whether Howell will be a good NFL quarterback long term, I feel like we will see him show off his legs in his debut.

If his rushing yardage total is posted before the game, there may be a play there, but I also like the +750 that Caesars Sportsbook is offering on Howell to score a touchdown.

Pick: Sam Howell Anytime TD +750 | Bet to +500

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