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Do Odds Favoring Cowboys Mean Disrespect of Washington?

Dallas plays at Washington in NFL Week 14 on Sunday and while the WFT is the hotter team, the oddsmakers see Dallas as the better team - and as a 4.5-point road favorite.

"Hotter'' or "better''?

Is the Washington Football Team the former ... and the Dallas Cowboys the latter?

For all of the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing ... for all of the ups and downs and highs and lows ... the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys are both still in control of their NFC East destiny.

But the oddsmakers apparently think Dallas is "better.''

Dallas plays at Washington in NFL Week 14 on Sunday and while the WFT is the hotter team, the oddsmakers see Dallas as the better team - and as a 4.5-point road favorite.

The WFT started the season on a mission, or at least that was the idea from coach Ron Rivera: To recognize that the 7-9 NFC East title from a year ago was simply the start of something - that not nearly enough has been won.

Dallas started the season on a mission, too: To prove that last season's 6-10 mark was a fluke, that 2020's historically bad defense was gone, and that quarterback Dak Prescott was healed.

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It took seven games and a 6-1 start, but the football world believed in Dallas, with the Cowboys showing up in the top five of most NFL power rankings.

Meanwhile, near the bottom of the standings was Washington, plagued by 2-6 start, questions at quarterback, and a defense with a shut-down reputation that had yet to show up.

Now fast forward to Week 14. Since the 6-1 start, Dallas is just 2-3, lost Prescott for a game with a calf injury, lost coach Mike McCarthy for one game to COVID protocol, lost receiver Amari Cooper for two games to COVID protocol, and lost receiver CeeDee Lamb for one game to a concussion. Ezekiel Elliott isn't healthy, and neither is the running game.

At the same time, Washington has won four in a row and has quietly entered the playoff race as the sixth seed in the NFC. Maybe the most surprising aspect of the Washington winning streak is the performance of the defense after losing star Chase Young for the season and Montez Sweat for the last month.

Mix in the fact that Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke seems to have figured some things out offensively, and that could spell trouble for the NFC East and the Cowboys.

Dallas and Washington play each other two of the next three weeks, in a stretch that could determine the East winner. That, combined with each team's remaining schedules, tell a story.

Besides the two games against Washington, Dallas has games remaining against the Giants, Arizona, and Philadelphia. Washington still must play the Giants and the Eagles twice. The schedule seems to favor Washington. ... but again, Dallas has the lead in the division and is the predicted winner when it all starts on Sunday as Washington hosts Dallas at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland at 12:00 p.m. CT. And yes, CowboysSI.com will be there.