The Dallas Cowboys head to Indianapolis to take on the Indianapolis Colts in a playoff atmosphere key matchup headlining a few of the top games around the NFL on the Week 15 NFL Schedule. For these two teams Sunday’s matchup could have key implications on the playoff picture in both the AFC and NFC Conferences as both teams remain alive for one of the 12 total playoff teams.
For the Cowboys they enter this contest sitting at 8-5 on the year and currently hold the top spot in the NFC East Division and a two game lead over both the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. After struggling out of the game with three wins over their first eight contests, the Cowboys have been on a roll winning five straight contests with much of their success coming after adding wide receiver Amari Cooper prior to the trade deadline. A win on Sunday for the Cowboys could seal the East Division while sending back to the NFL Playoffs.
Meanwhile over in the AFC, the Colts are currently sitting just outside of the playoff picture despite holding the same 7-6 record as the Baltimore Ravens who have a hold on the final wild card spot. Overall four teams in the AFC have a 7-6 record including the Colts, Ravens as well as the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans. As the team continues to have success behind the return of Andrew Luck this season, a loss in Week 15 could derail their team of a possible spot in the playoffs in 2018.
Here are the keys to the game for both the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts matchup on Sunday December 16th, 2018 at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.
NFL Keys to the Game
Dallas Cowboys – All Starts with Ezekiel Elliott
The Cowboys success over their current five game winning streak has come from both sides of the ball but their overall success all starts with their running game and Elliott. Over their current five game winning streak, Elliott has rushed for 582 yards with three rushing touchdowns while adding 276 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions. In all five wins, Elliott managed to top the 100 yard mark. As teams start to focus on shutting down the Cowboys passing attack led by the resurgence of Cooper, Elliott has the ability to carry the Cowboys down the stretch. On the year four of the five Cowboys losses have come when Elliott has failed to top the 100 yard combined mark.
Indianapolis Colts – It’s all about the Luck
Much like the Cowboys success revolving around their running game with Elliott, the Colts success starts with the play of Luck behind center. Over the past five games, Luck has led the Colts to four wins while throwing for multiple touchdowns in each win. In the team’s only loss over that stretch, Luck connected on just 63% of his passes while failing to throw a touchdown pass. While Luck has put up big numbers during their slow start to the season (1-4), the team’s defense failed to slow down opposing teams. Now if Luck can continue to put up numbers and their defense can hold their opponents to under 30 (0-4 in games allowing more than 30 points), the Colts will add another win to their record on Sunday.
NFL Betting Trends
Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys enter this contest on a roll covering the spread for sports handicappers in seven of their last ten overall contests. While the numbers are strong the team has struggled on the road winning just two of their six road contests heading into to this matchup while posting a 3-3 record against the spread in those contests. Other interesting trends to monitor has been the team’s success against teams with a winning record (4-1 against the spread) as well as the record against teams with a home winning record (3-1-1 against the spread).
Indianapolis Colts – The Colts have been an interesting team for most of the season from a slow start to winning four of their last five contests. Those struggles at times have led the colts to just a 6-7 record against the spread as well as just a 2-4 mark at Lucas Oil Field. Despite those struggles the Colts have covered the spread in four straight games against teams with a winning record. The Colts have also covered the spread in 16 of their last 22 contests at Lucas Oil Field against teams with a winning road record.
Head 2 Head – While the two teams don’t face often, the home team has dominated against the spread over their last five meetings. Over that stretch the home team has covered the spread in four of those five meetings while being the favorite in all five meetings.
What’s next for these two teams?
Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys return to AT&T Field to take on the Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday December 3rd, 2018 at 1pm ET.
Indianapolis Colts – The Colts will stay in Indianapolis as they welcome the New York Giants to Lucas Oil Field Sunday December 23rd, 2018 at 1pm ET.