Thanksgiving Day NFL Picks: Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys Odds and Predictions – Free NFL Picks 11/24/11

Thanksgiving Day Free NFL Picks: Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 12 Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on FOX 11/24/11: Momentum will be in heavy supply when the Miami Dolphins (3-7) visit the Dallas Cowboys (6-4) Thursday afternoon. Both teams have won three straight games entering Thursday’s matchup, and while the Dolphins have been forced to play spoiler after dropping seven straight games to start the season, the Cowboys are tied for first in the NFC East. The meeting brings back memories of Leon Lett’s blocked field goal debacle that cost Dallas a win against the Dolphins on Thanksgiving in 1993. That being said, Thanksgiving Day games have been kind to the Cowboys over the years , and Dallas is a seven-point favorite this one.

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While the Cowboys were expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, Miami was supposed to be in the mix for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. For the first seven games of the season, the Dolphins appeared to be the frontrunners for the top pick in the draft. However, the last three games have been a different story. Quarterback Matt Moore has stepped in and been brilliant as a starter, and the defense has given up less than 10 points in every game during the winning streak.

The Dolphins defense will need to continue to play at a high level in order to slow down a Cowboys’ offense that has suddenly become well balanced. An injury to starting running back Felix Jones opened the door for rookie DeMarco Murray, and he stepped in and stole the job. He has rushed for more than 700 yards and is averaging 6.0 yards per carry. The rejuvenated ground game has taken pressure of quarterback Tony Romo, and he has responded by cutting down on the turnovers that killed Dallas early in the years.

Stopping the Cowboys’ offense is going to be easier said than done for the Dolphins, and the Miami offense can help the cause by continuing to put points on the board. While the play of Moore has been a pleasant a surprise, the bigger story has been the resurgence of Reggie Bush. It appeared as if his bust label was going to hang around another year after he struggled to make an impact early on, but he has come alive lately. It is no coincidence that the Dolphins have started winning just as Bush began to run the ball effectively. He is never going to have the impact he did in college, but he is helping Miami win games by forcing defenses to account for him.

The X-factor in the game could be the Dallas’ pass rush. Linebacker DeMarcus Ware could end up setting the single-season record for sacks in a year, and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has the Cowboys’ defense playing much better than it has in several seasons. The banged up secondary has given up some big plays, but when Ware and company are getting to the quarterback, the problems in the secondary are masked.

In the end, Thursday’s game will tell a lot about both teams. The Dolphins are trying to figure out if their current offensive pieces are the future of the franchise, and a victory in Dallas on Thanksgiving would certainly bode well for Moore, Bush and the rest of the team. Meanwhile, Dallas needs to take care of its business at home to continue its march to the playoffs. The Cowboys have more star talent on their roster, but the Dolphins have been crushing teams in recent weeks. Dallas probably won’t lose on such a big stage, but Miami can make things interesting.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins (+7) Win the Game

Free NFL Football Picks and Predictions: Miami +7

Week 12 NFL Football: Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
Date: 11/24/011
Time: 4:15 PM EST on CBS
Vegas Odds Favorite: Dallas -7 | Total: Over/Under 45

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