The NFL media and experts are shying away from not trusting a Cooper Rush-led Cowboys team. That makes sense since the Bengals will be fielding a Joe Burrow who has to be upset with himself after last week.
The Bengals get a break in facing Cooper Rush rather than Dak Prescott. It took Joe Burrow a while to get going against Pittsburgh after sitting out much of training camp, but he got the rust off in the second half. I think that carries over. The Cowboys are too limited on offense. The Bengals win it.
Pick: Bengals 27, Cowboys 20
The Bengals get a massive needed break at 0-1 with the Cowboys having lost Dak Prescott. They will now “duel” Joe Burrow with Cooper Rush instead. Although Rush won his lone start for Prescott last season, this is a stiff challenge against an AFC North power. Dallas will try to keep Burrow in a turnover funk, but he will be helped by plenty more of Joe Mixon. Rush’s name is appropriate as he will feel plenty of heat on the edge from Trey Hendrickson.
Pick: Bengals win 33-17 and cover the spread.
There is a case to be made for a Cowboys upset; I’m just not going to make it. Even if the Dallas defense maintains the level of play we saw in 2021 and in Week 1 of this season, the endemic problems of the offense go beyond the thumb injury that will keep Dak Prescott out in the immediate future. Those issues began near midseason last year, and that was back when they had Tyron Smith (out until December), La’el Collins (released) and Amari Cooper (traded away). The Bengals have a grown-up defense that makes you earn everything, and there’s little reason to think Mike McCarthy, Kellen Moore or backup QB Cooper Rush have answers.
Pick: Bengals win 23-13
And according to NFL Pick Watch, 96% of predictions logged thus far have been in favor of the Bengals.
Normally, the NFL is very much a “prove it” league, and Cincinnati seriously stumbled out of the gates. If Dak Prescott was available, we may see more of an even split, but this seems like the perfect time to play a team like Dallas that is also looking for answers.