SUNDAY NIGHT 7: VIKINGS AT COWBOYS

John Daigle
Rotoworld

Sunday Night 7 is back for Week 10 after one lucky fan scored 65 points to take home the entire $50,000 first place prize! As always, the $100,000 weekly prize pool is entirely guaranteed, so another contest means another chance for you to walk away as the sole grand winner, too. Now on to this week’s NFC showdown between the Vikings and Cowboys…

1. Kirk Cousins vs. Dak Prescott: More Passing Yards? More Total TDs?
(Yds: Cousins, Prescott; TDs: Cousins, Prescott, TIE)

Whereas Dallas’ defense thrusts pressure onto opposing quarterbacks at a league-high rate (37.6%), their offensive line has kept Dak Prescott squeaky clean when lining up at full health, most recently seeing the contract-year 26-year-old stay upright on all 35 of his dropbacks against the Giants Monday night. Even if the Vikings are able to cave the pocket, Prescott’s rushing upside on 3.4 carries per game (and three rushing scores) give him the nod over Kirk Cousins in total touchdowns since the former can hit pay dirt in a variety of ways.

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2. Dalvin Cook vs Ezekiel Elliott: More Rushing Yards? More Total TDs
(Yds: Cook, Elliott; TDs: Cook, Elliott, TIE)

Dalvin Cook was bottled up for 21/71 rushing and 3.38 yards per carry against the Chiefs in Minnesota’s Week 9 loss and that should only continue against Dallas’ stout front-seven that’s permitted just 77.1 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. There’s also the chance rookie Alexander Mattison eats into Cook’s carries, as he’s done on an average 7.9 totes per game this year. Unlike the Vikings’ backfield, however, we can fully expect Ezekiel Elliott to handle the lion’s share of work as he’s quietly out-touched Tony Pollard 84 to 15 in the Cowboys’ last three games. That makes Elliott a confident pick for both categories.

 

3. Most Receiving Yards?
(Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Kyle Rudolph, Michael Gallup, Other Vikings Player, Other Cowboys Player)

Amari Cooper ranks No. 8 in receiving yards (701) on a team-high 57 targets but comes into this one banged up after stumping his knee into the turf of MetLife Stadium Monday night. With Adam Thielen (hamstring) officially ruled out and Cooper hobbled, it’s Stefon Diggs who arguably projects as this contest’s leading receiver if able to capitalize on Thielen’s vacated 5.1 targets and 61.3 air yards per game. Prior to last week’s one-catch stinker, it’s worth noting Diggs averaged 7/151/1 in his three prior performances.

 

4. Longest TD of the Game?
(<15, 15-29, 30-44, 45-59, 60+)

The Cowboys have only allowed 23 passing plays of 20-plus yards throughout the year but look closer and you’ll notice that 9-of-23 have occurred in the last month. Even if we expect Cousins to struggle behind flimsy pass-pro, it’s likely Diggs gets open behind Dallas’ secondary for at least one 15-plus yard catch, which he’s done on a whopping 34 percent of his receptions. Dak Prescott’s also notched four 40-plus yard gains through the air this season, making the 45-59 range an intriguing lean.

 

5. Last TD of the Game? 
(Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Kyle Rudolph, Jason Witten, Other Vikings Player, Other Cowboys Player)

Likely in position to come from behind on the road, odds are a Vikings skill player notches the last touchdown in regulation. A late plunge from Dalvin Cook is in the cards.

 

6. Total Points?
​​​​​​​(<35, 35-43, 44-49, 50-56, 57+)

Although projected to total 44-49 points, Dallas and Minnesota have averaged 6.7 and 6.2 yards per play respectively, both which among the league’s top-three offenses. A healthy dose of points should be expected, arguably finishing with a total of 50-56 between the two.

 

7. Winner and Winning Margin
​​​​​​​(MIN/DAL; 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-13, 14+)

Cousins is notably 6-13 in his career under the lights of primetime. While Minnesota’s explosive play-action passing attack could be hindered against Dallas’ threatening front-seven, any potential shootout favors the home team as the Cowboys as Dak Prescott has averaged an increased 10 yards per attempt (as opposed to 7.4 on the road) at AT&T Stadium this year. Dallas wins a high-scoring affair by 4-6 points at home.

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