Without doubt the game of the week that has big implications for both teams in terms of the playoffs. For Dallas it’s very much a question of extending their five game winning streak which has not only put them in contention for an NFC East title but also gives them a chance of grabbing the No1 seeding in the whole of the NFC.
Buffalo, well they are in playoff mode already after some sloppy defeats which led to them firing their offensive coordinator and since that point the Bills are averaging 29 points per game, have got themselves back to a 7-6 record and went on the road and beat the Chiefs last week 20-17. However, they really can’t afford any more mistakes if they are to make it into the playoffs, if they do then they will be a wildcard team that nobody wants to face.
The bottom line is this both teams rank among the NFL’s top six teams in both scoring offence and scoring defence. Dallas leads the NFL in both first downs per game (23.4) and third-down efficiency (49.2 percent). Buffalo ranks second in both categories (22.5 first downs per game, 48.8 percent third-down efficiency). Two aggressive passing offences face off in a game with enormous playoff implications for both sides and it’s no wonder that the total on the game is touching the 50-point mark at +49.5 (20-21) with starsports.bet.
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The Cowboys it’s true have been impressive at home going 7-0 but they are just 3-3 on the road and whilst Dallas are undoubtedly a good side they still haven’t proved that they can beat a great team when circumstances are not in their favour. If they win this game then opinions will need to change. Considering Orchard Park is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, this is a must-win game for the Cowboys if they want to be taken seriously as Super Bowl contenders. The Cowboys have a very difficult schedule remaining, as they face the Dolphins and Lions over the next two weeks before closing out the year against the Commanders. The Cowboys come into this game the marginal underdogs to the tune of +1.5 points, at 10-11 with starsports.bet.
This game could very well come down to which defence dealing with injuries can make more stops against offences with the potential to put up big points. The Cowboys offence leads the NFL in points per game (32.4), while the Bills are fifth (26.8). Dallas have scored more points than their implied team total in seven straight games, the longest streak in the league.
Since their bye week the Cowboys have been a different animal on offence letting QB Dak Prescott dictate the tempo of the game and allowing him to push the ball down the field and becoming far more aggressive in the pass game. The Cowboys have averaged a league-high 3.31 points per drive over their past eight games. The next closest team in the league over that span is averaging 2.63 points per drive. Dallas are the only team in the league that has scored on over half (53.0%) of their possessions. Prescott had rewarded that new found confidence and trust in him playing an MVP level and he’s now thrown multiple touchdown passes in seven straight games. If he does that again this weekend, he will set a new franchise record. Buffalo have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in five of their past eight games and it’s not hard to see Prescott picking apart the Bills injury riddled defence. Buffalo are also banged up even further coming into this weekend, looking to be without both Micah Hyde and A.J. Epenesa. Buffalo are allowing 6.3 yards per pass attempt over their past six games, eighth in the league. But they have allowed a 5.0% touchdown rate (26th) and a first down rate of 33.3% on attempts (22nd) over that span.
The game environment and the way that Prescott and Dallas play brings this Star Sports Special into play – Dak Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa (Miami) and Brock Purdy (San Francisco) to combine for 6+ Passing TD’s at 6-5. By the same token the 23-10 on another Star Sports Special of Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, & Sam Howell to Combine for 6+ Passing TDs also appeals. Stafford and Howell face each other indoors in a Rams/Commanders contest that could erupt into a passing competition.
The Bills defence showed its vulnerability in Week 12 against the Eagles, as their elite wide receivers made big plays to keep them in the game while Jalen Hurts made plays with his legs. Prescott isn’t as quick or evasive with his legs as Hurts but he does have receivers who can make plays. CeeDee Lamb has been the main target for Prescott all year he kept up his strong output last Sunday catching 6-of-10 targets for 71 yards and his eighth receiving touchdown of the season. Lamb has now found the end zone in five straight games. Since Week 6, Lamb is averaging 12.0 targets, 8.6 receptions, and 111.9 yards per game, all of which lead the NFL. Lamb is particularly effective when the Cowboys use him as a slot receiver, the Bills are allowing 7.5 yards per target to outside wide receivers (seventh), but they are allowing 9.3 yards per target (28th) and a 7.3% touchdown rate (29th) to slot receivers.
If Buffalo, as has been suggested did try and take away Lamb, which is easier said than done then Hyde’s absence deals a significant blow to the Bills ability to halt TE Jake Ferguson. Ferguson pulled in 5-of-8 targets for 72 yards last Sunday and he has 25% of the team targets in the red zone. That statistic makes the 2-1 with Star Sports look very interesting for Ferguson to score a TD at anytime against a short-handed Bills defence.
The Cowboys won’t neglect the ground game either as it sets up so much of what they want to do through the air. On the ground, the Cowboys got Rico Dowdle more involved last week and moved Tony Pollard into a role that more closely resembled his 2022 role than how he has been used this year. Pollard set a season high with eight targets to go along with his 16 carries, and Dowdle also set a season high with 12 carries, including seven in the first half. This looked like a move to get Pollard back to the version of him that they used last year getting him into space rather than using him in the power back role to run between the tackles. Buffalo’s run defence ranks 29th out of 32 teams in yards per carry allowed, and the threat of the Dallas passing game should open up lanes for both Cowboys backs.
The Bills got back over .500 with a huge win in Arrowhead over the Chiefs last week and now are one of six AFC teams with a 7-6 record entering Week 14. This game represents the end of a brutal three-game stretch for Buffalo where the Bills played the Eagles, Chiefs, and now, the Cowboys. The Bills have looked far more efficient offensively for most of their three games since firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, averaging 33 points against the Jets and Eagles before starting the Chiefs game with two early touchdowns. Buffalo have scored on 42.6% of their drives, fifth in the league.
The Bills have come out firing offensively over the past three weeks and it would be a surprise if anything were to change this week. The Cowboys offensive capability added to the Bills propensity to be aggressive on offence also sees this game as the joint favourite at 3-1 in the Star Sports Specials Market – “The Highest Scoring Game On Sunday! Along with the Rams/Commanders affair and given their game environments its hard to see past either.
Much of the spotlight with the Bills tends to fall quite rightly on their quarterback Josh Allen and since Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator Allen looks more like his old self both with his arm and his legs, Allen has racked up rushing lines of 9/81/2 and 10/32/1 over the Bills last two games. The other adjustment and tinker that Brady has made within the Bills offence has been to feature James Cook more, he’s now averaging 19 touches for 114.3 yards and 0.7 touchdowns with Brady calling plays. Dallas have not allowed a running back to rush for 70 yards in a game since Week 3 but that may change here.
Due to the fact that they may have to be chasing points at various parts of this game one of the main questions will be, can the Bills get WR Stefon Diggs going again? His production has been muted by Buffalo’s full-strength weapons and defences focus on taking him away. Fortunately for the Bills the rest of the offence has stepped up to the plate and they will have to again here although Diggs is due for some positive regression, although just two receivers have hit 100 yards against the Cowboys this season.
We have seen Buffalo move Diggs around before and getting him into the slot could be advantageous here. Tight ends have always played a big part in the Bills offence and despite Dalton Knox returning from injured reserve Dalton Kincaid logged a 77% snap rate and drew eight targets against the Chiefs. Kincaid has at least five receptions in each of his past seven games, but he has not reached 50 yards in any of his past three.
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There is a case to be made that these two teams are playing the best football in the league right now outside of San Francisco. This game has all the ingredients for a shootout, and, as we often talk about, both teams are likely to enter the game feeling pressure to be aggressive and get points on the board early. The Cowboys have outscored opponents by 133 points (258-to-125) in the first half this season, the largest margin in the league and they have also outscored opponents by 66 points in the fourth quarter (114-to-48), the largest margin in the league. The Bills have shown that they can move the ball on anyone but they are vulnerable defensively especially those with downfield and perimeter threats like the Cowboys. Barring any Buffalo weather this could be a classic and we’ll be hoping to sit back and watch the points flow and may the best team win.
BACK Over 5.5 Match Touchdowns 2pts at 5/6 (⭐
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BACK Josh Allen over +33.5 rushing yards 1pt at 10/11 (⭐
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BACK Jake Ferguson to score a TD anytime 1pt at 2/1 (⭐
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BACK Josh Allen to score a TD anytime 1pt at 5/4 (⭐
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BACK CeeDee Lamb over +83.5 receiving yards 1pt at 10/11 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (DEC 2023): LOSS -12.92 points