Cowboys/Redskins Have Much to Prove



by Mathew Hurley, Managing Editor

Any child born in February of 1996 turned 14 earlier this year without ever having seen the Dallas Cowboys play in a Super Bowl. Most teenagers would barely remember fleeting images of the game even if they were in the room when their dads were watching the game and yelling at the TV.

That means, even most college age kids who love Fantasy Football and legal sports betting have limited 'real life' experience thinking of the Dallas Cowboys as a Super Bowl team. IT'S BEEN THAT LONG!

For Washington Redskins, fans, it's been even longer. Washington last appeared in the Super Bowl in January of 1992. And, there's not currently much optimism that the Skins will get there by 2012, making it a 20-year drought.

So, why does the football world get so excited when the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins? Why is it the Sunday Night game on NBC? Peyton Manning and Tom Brady didn't get the week off. Why is THIS the showcase game of the first Sunday of the new NFL season?

A few reasons:

*Dallas hasn't quite lost its 'America's Team' label thanks to a flamboyant owner who knows how to get attention...a quarterback who has a knack for dating blonds...and a franchise that has stayed in the playoff picture even if they can't win in the playoffs.

*Washington also has an attention-loving owner, though he hasn't loved the attention he's been getting with the franchise because his constant bungling continues to rip apart the franchise.

*A lot of NFL fans are older...and they remember the storied rivalry involving these teams that dates back through the history of the league. Feuds between 'Cowboys' and 'Redskins' go back to the Old West!

*And, THIS YEAR, the teams are arguably facing watershed moments in their recent histories. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo wants to show the world he's an elite quarterback rather than just a B+ guy capable of making the playoffs most seasons. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan is trying to rebuild his Hall of Fame reputation after a disappointing fade-out in Denver. If he turns Washington around, he's a shoe-in for Canton. Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb got traded from Philadelphia...WITHIN THE DIVISION...because the Eagles weren't afraid of him beating them this season. Talk about having a chip on your shoulder.

Oh, Dallas owner Jerry Jones is hosting the Super Bowl this season in the Roman Coliseum he built as a tribute to his ego. He'd love to be the first owner to host his own team in the big game.

Jim Hurley's Network is primed with a strong move on tonight's game! Click here to get in on the money!


Even if we're not talking about the two best teams in the NFC, or even the NFC East, there are multiple storylines in place here. It truly is an important game. And, it's a game that could help handicappers string together several victories in the coming weeks if they make a proper read tonight.

Normally at this time we would run recent boxscores involving these teams, or maybe look at what happened in last year's meetings. There's not much point in doing that here. It's the season opener, and Preseason boxscores don't matter much. Last year's meetings are irrelevant because Washington had a different quarterback, a different coach, different defensive schematics, and a cloud hanging over the franchise that wasn't going anywhere.

Stat handicappers are flying blind!

In fact, most handicapper will be flying blind here. Dallas will be missing 40% of its offensive line to injuries. Washington's McNabb injured his ankle a few weeks ago. It's impossible to know for sure if he'll be at 50%, 75%, or something closer to 100% in the pocket.

Las Vegas made Dallas a 3-point favorite earlier in the week, once it was clear that McNabb would be starting for the Skins instead of backup Rex Grossman. Early money lifted Dallas up to -3.5, which is a lot of respect for a road team in a divisional rivalry game. As news broke over the weekend that Dallas would DEFINITELY be missing two offensive lineman, some places brought the line back down to Dallas by 3.

The total opened at 43.5, but is now down to 39.5 because of all the banged offensive players who are either out or playing hurt.

If you're trying to pick this game on your own, it's basically a coin flip because your lacking so much information. For JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK, it's an opportunity rather than a coin flip!

*Our SCOUTS and SOURCES with both teams have provided insights about preparation. They know if Washington is ready to make a statement this week at home in front of a national audience...or if there are still some transition issues with players not buying into the Shanahan approach. They know if Dallas is lacking confidence with their makeshift blocking schematics...or if the Cowboys still have their swagger. Some in the handicapping field believe it's all about numbers and systems. We've shown you over the years IN ALL SPORTS that mindset is often the single biggest factor determine a game's result.

*Our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS have plugged in the new Dallas starters, and are running their simulations with the new lineups. NOBODY ELSE CAN DO THIS! We know how much, or how little impact those changes are going to have. We can also run simulations with McNabb at various levels of effectiveness. You can guess. Our sources have told us what we need to know to program in the right number.

*Our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS in Las Vegas and offshore have clued us in to what the smart money is doing in this game...and what the dumb public money is doing. That may not influence the line at -3 if the action balances out. You know it's much better to be on the same side as the Wise Guys and opposite the public though. If our own analysis is in line with the Wise Guys, this could be a really big selection for us.

You can purchase the Sunday slate right now here at the website. Try to act before kickoff of the early games so you get full value. Selections are available at 1-800-323-4453 as well. If you're calling later in the day, ask about purchasing the Cowboys/Redskins TV thriller by itself. Or, sign up for BLUE RIBBON or CLOSED CIRCUIT service and make this your first winning day of the program.

Back tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK to preview ESPN's very interesting season opening doubleheader. Baltimore visits the NY Jets in Game One. Those two lost to eventual AFC champion Indianapolis in the playoffs last year, and are looking to unseat the Colts this time around. That's followed by San Diego at Kansas City. There's enough of a soap opera going on with the Chargers to have some pundits picking the Chiefs to make a run at them in the AFC West. A home game for KC provides an early opportunity for BOTH teams to make a statement.

You've been waiting MONTHS for the NFL regular season to get here. It's arrived. You've got your spot on the couch or easy chair staked out. The sandwiches and chips are ready. A few of your favorite beverages are cooling in the fridge. IT'S TIME TO WATCH GAMES AND WIN BIG MONEY WITH JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by and For more information on JIM HURLEY'S handicapping packages, call 1-800-323-4453.


Today’s Hot Plays