Cowboys vs. Vikings NFL Week 8 Sunday Night Football Picks

Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings. Mike Comer/Getty Images/AFP
Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings. Mike Comer/Getty Images/AFP

The Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings collide in Sunday Night Football, as both sides come out of a bye week following a good stretch of form. The Cowboys reeled of five-straight wins while the Vikings put together back-to-back wins before taking a week off.

Books opened this game on a tight NFL betting line. The Cowboys opened as the 2.5-point road favorites, but the NFL line has trimmed down to 1.5 at several shops already. The game total is up to 55 points after opening on 53 points.

As per the NFL odds and lines, the Cowboys versus Vikings tilt is being cast as a close contest and a high-scoring affair that could go either way. As such, this is a potential tossup for NFL picks.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

Sunday, October 31, 2021 – 08:20 PM EDT at  U.S. Bank Stadium

Are the Cowboys Legit?  

America’s favorite team is in fine form, and their record underscores that undeniable fact. They’re 5-1 on the season and sitting pretty at the top of the NFC East. Their only loss to date is the 31-29 loss to the defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, but they margin of defeat was so slim they could have just as easily won the game too. It was that close.

Since the top-tier matchup against the Buccaneers, the Cowboys have had an easier ride of it.  All five wins have come against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season, and only one of those five teams (the Los Angeles Chargers) is actually having a solid season thus far.

The Cowboys offense has been off the charts, with Dak Prescott firing at all cylinders while showcasing all his enviable offensive targets. Dan Quinn has made improvements to the defense that ranked bottom of the league in most categories last season. Everything is going perfectly for second-year head coach Mike McCarthy and Jerry Jones couldn’t be a prouder papa.

And yet, there’s still good reason to stay on the fence because the Cowboys’ start to the season and impressive form and play could be misleading. The product of their NFL schedule, which is one of the weakest in the league according to strength of schedule rankings.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys had a tough time against the New England Patriots in their last game before the Week 7 bye. Indeed, the rookie quarterback Mac Jones very nearly pulled off the upset, which would have sent seismic shockwaves through NFL betting markets. The Cowboys won in the end in overtime, clinching their first win over New England in 25 years and first victory over Bill Belichick.

Vikings Blowing Hot and Cold

It must have felt like déjà vu all over again for Mike Zimmer and Company when they started the season on back-to-back defeats. Consistency issues have plagued the Minnesota Vikings over the last two seasons. In 2020, the Vikings burst out of the gates with as much verve and swagger as a pinto, and it wasn’t until later in the season that they righted the ship to finish with a semi-decent 7-9 record. Things have steadied a lot quicker this time around, but only just.

The Vikings have won three of their last four contests to improve to a 3-3-0 record before taking their Week 7 bye. However, not unlike the Cowboys, the schedule was kind. The Vikings capitalised on a Seattle Seahawks side that’s mired in an existential crisis, and then clinched wins over the embattled Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers.

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense have played well, but they’ve been guilty of a few slow starts that have cost them. The Vikings defense is one of the stoutest in the league and can give opposing offenses headaches. Indeed, the Vikings defense could be key to this matchup and slowing down the high-octane Dallas offense.

NFL Predictions and Picks

There is some concern regarding Prescott’s fitness – he was seen leaving in a boot at the end of Week 6’s win over the Patriots. However, he was seen practicing this week and is listed as probable for Sunday Night Football. Paying close attention to news from Dallas’ camp, though, will be key before placing a wager.

Nevertheless, considering the Vikings are better than their record would suggest and the Cowboys might not be as great as their record suggests, the NFL betting lines and odds for this game are appropriate.

Both games the Cowboys played against decent or elite opponents were decided by a handful off points. Thus, there’s a good chance this game will be similarly close because the Vikings have the quality and talent to make a fist of it..

Assuming all things are equal, this is a tossup between the pair. If you can still find the Vikings trading at +2 or +2.5, that might be the value play because this game could very well come down to the wire. Otherwise, the total is a good place to start, and if this game lives up to its billing, it should be a scoring-fest that easily cracks the total.

NFL Picks: Minnesota Vikings +2.5 (-115) with DraftKings and Over 55 (-110) with DraftKings

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