The 10-0 Carolina Panthers travel to Dallas to take on the 3-7 Cowboys in the middle of 3 Thanksgiving games on Thursday. Both of these teams are coming off impressive wins as the Cowboys beat the Dolphins 24-14 while the Panthers easily disposed of the Washington Redskins 44-16. For Dallas, Tony Romo made his long awaited return and immediately made an impact as he helped stop their 7 game losing streak. For Carolina, it was business as Usual as Cam Newton had a career day and their defense completely dominated.
Tony Romo completed 18 of 28 passes for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns while also throwing 2 interceptions. His favorite targets were Terrence Williams and Dez Bryant who each caught 4 passes and each had a touchdown. Darren McFadden led a balanced running game with 129 yards on 29 carries. Since week 2 of the 2014 season, the Cowboys are 16-3 when Romo starts and 0-8 when he doesn’t. They dominated time of possession as they had the ball for 39 minutes and the dolphins only 21 minutes. Defensively they returned an interception for a touchdown and had 3 sacks for a loss of 48 yards. The limited Ryan Tannehill to only 13 completions for 188 yards as he finished with a quarterback rating of 18.6. The Dolphins did not have a drive all game that went for more than 5 plays and were 1 for 10 on 3rd down conversions.
The Panthers defense was great again last week and has been all season. They lead the league in takeaways with 25 and are ranked in the top 5 in both Yards allowed and points scored per game. Last week they forced 5 turnovers and had 5 sacks for a loss of 35 yards while allowing only 2 points after the first quarter. They absolutely shut down the running game for the Redskins as they were only able to gain 14 yards on 12 carries. As impressive as their defense was, Cam Newton and the offense was even better. Newton completed 21 of 30 passes for 246 yards and 5 touchdowns to 5 different receivers. Devin Funchess led the receivers with 4 receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. Jonathan Stewart had a big day running the ball as he had 102 yards on 21 carries. He also had a 12 yard touchdown reception on the Panthers first drive.
Even though Carolina is undefeated and has 7 more wins than the Cowboys, Dallas is actually slight favorites in this game. The Cowboys will have home field advantage, but Carolina is 4-0 on the road this year including 4-0 against the spread. Dallas is 3-7 against the spread this year including only 1-4 at home. Carolina has won their last 3 games by a combined score of 108-55 nearly doubling their opponents scoring. Dallas is still only 2 games behind the Giants in the NFC East despite their 3-7 record and still have plenty of motivation.
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