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NYT Checkdowns: Panthers/Cowboys Preview

On paper, a matchup between a 10-0 team and a 3-7 team might seem like a good reason to spend more time with your family. Think again. The 10-0 Carolina Panthers travel to Dallas to take on a 3-7 Cowboys team that is anything but typical.

For starters, the 3-7 Cowboys are actually favored by 1.5 points to beat the Panthers on Thanksgiving. This marks the first time since 1978 that a a team with 7 more wins than its opponent was an underdog, excluding end-of-season games where playoff bound teams have rested starters. The reason that Dallas is favored, of course, is because Tony Romo is now back. Romo led the N.F.L. in a variety of metrics last season, including completion percentage, touchdown rate, and passer rating, but the star quarterback’s value has never been so clear than it has over the last three months. The Cowboys went 0-7 with Romo injured and out of the lineup; meanwhile, Dallas has gone 7-0 in its last seven regular season games started Romo.

You can read the full article here.