The most surprising team of the 2016 NFL season looks to continue to prove the doubters wrong in Week 10. The Dallas Cowboys visit the Pittsburgh Steelers as underdogs on Sunday, despite being tied for the league’s best record.
After winning seven of their first eight games, including a 25-point victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 9, Dallas is a 2.5-point underdog for their visit to Pittsburgh. The Steelers have lost three games in a row, including a 21-14 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens last week.
Pittsburgh’s losing streak has coincided with the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. The quarterback battled through a torn meniscus against the Miami Dolphins in a Week 6 defeat. The Steelers lost their next game with Landry Jones under center, and Pittsburgh lost at Baltimore when the quarterback returned well ahead of schedule.
Roethlisberger has played poorly through the injury, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating well below 70.0. The question remains whether or not he can have a bounce-back performance against Dallas.
Between the injury and the Cowboys’ defense, it might be difficult for Roethlisberger to put up big numbers. No quarterback has been particularly successful against Dallas this season, and as a result, the Cowboys have held every opponent to 23 points or fewer.
Offensively, Dallas is led by two rookies that continue to impress each and every week. Dak Prescott is coming off his best game of the season, and while his 141.8 passer rating came against the winless Browns, the first-year quarterback has posted a passer rating of at least 103.7 in six of the team’s eight games. In their two contests against top-10 rated passers, the Steelers have surrendered 588 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Ezekiel Elliott makes it difficult for opposing teams to mount any kind of comeback when the Cowboys take the lead. The rookie has run for at least 90 yards in each of his last six contests. Pittsburgh allowed 204 rushing yards to Jay Ajayi and 127 rushing yards to LeGarrette Blount in their Week 6 and Week 7 losses, respectively.
With wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh has some of the NFL’s best offensive weapons. They’ll look to take advantage of injuries to Dallas' secondary, which will be without safety Barry Church and cornerback Morris Claiborne, and the final score could approach the over/under of 50.
But the Cowboys have successfully faced every challenge that’s come their way, and they have a good chance to do so against a Steelers team that is struggling to move the ball.
Prediction: Dallas over Pittsburgh, 24-21