Pittsburgh Steelers vs Dallas Cowboys Prediction, Preview & Odds -- August 5, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 8 p.m. ET
Venue: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH
Where to watch: FOX

Last season
Cowboys: 6-10 (2nd place, NFC East -- missed playoffs)
Steelers: 12-4 (1st place, AFC North -- lost wild card to Browns)

Statistical leaders in 2020

Cowboys:

Passing: Andy Dalton -- 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Rushing: Ezekiel Elliott -- 979 yards, 6 touchdowns
Receiving: Amari Cooper -- 1,114 yards, 5 touchdowns
Sacks: DeMarcus Lawrence (6)
Tackles: Jaylon Smith (154)
Interceptions: Trevon Diggs (3)

Steelers
Passing: Ben Roethlisberger -- 3,803 yards, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Rushing: James Conner -- 721 yards, 6 touchdowns
Receiving yards: Diontae Johnson -- 923 yards
Receiving touchdowns: Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster (9)
Sacks: T.J. Watt (15)
Interceptions: Minkah Fitzpatrick (4)

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Steelers -1
BetMGM: Steelers -1.5
FanDuel: Steelers -1.5

Ben Burns is 3-0 in predicting the Hall of Fame Game over the last seven years. Check out more of our NFL Best Bets at our Shop Picks page, where you can find all of this season’s National Football League premium pick predictions.

Cowboys - Steelers Preview


The first sign that normal times may be ahead. NFL Preseason football is back. One wouldn’t normally rejoice at such a concept, but it’s 2021 and these are the times we live in.

The return of the NFL’s exhibition slate begins Thursday with the Hall of Fame game that we didn’t get last season. The Dallas Cowboys, with the hopes of bouncing back after a dreadful 6-10 campaign a year ago, will face the Pittsburgh Steelers after a disappointing playoff exit in January.
Canton, Ohio will open its doors for a mega-induction ceremony this year. Twenty-eight members, combined from the classes of last year and this year, will be honored this weekend. Legendary Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson and Steelers coach Bill Cowher will be inducted, as will greats Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and others.

That might be the most exciting thing to happen because the Hall of Fame Game doesn’t normally produce on-the-field excitement. Starters don’t normally shine in this game.

One player you won’t see is Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Dallas’ franchise signal caller has been limited in camp due to a shoulder strain. Prescott has been preparing for his comeback after suffering that compound ankle fracture last season that saw him carted off on the AT&T Stadium turf.

Prescott is expected to play at some point this preseason, but head coach Mike McCarthy said the club is taking a conservative approach before Prescott goes full participant in camp.

"I know we're early. It's early in training camp. I'm obviously trying to get to the season and get to the season healthy,” Prescott said. “That was the main reason … I doubt in a game that (an absence) happens."

Garrett Gilbert has taken first-team reps during practice and is expected to start for Dallas. Cooper Rush will likely see some reps in the second and third quarter; the Cowboys are hoping to get some production out of their backup quarterback to see if he’s a capable option behind Prescott.

The Dallas defense will get an early look under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. First-round pick linebacker Micah Parsons has been a standout during camp and is expected to challenge for three-down reps at linebacker from Day 1.

While the Cowboys are trying to get back to the playoffs with their franchise quarterback in tow, the Steelers are hoping to get back to competing for Super Bowls again.

If the Lombardi Trophy was awarded to teams that could win the first 11 games of the regular season and nothing more, there would be another silver trophy in Pittsburgh. But the Steelers fell hard after starting 11-0, finishing the year 12-4, and getting run over by the Cleveland Browns in the wild card game.

It’s been 10 years since the Steelers last made the Super Bowl. Half of their playoff appearances since have resulted in wild card exits. August is normally the prime time for Steelers fans to have hope, only to be let down once again.

Ben Roethlisberger isn’t expected to play for the Steelers, but this could be a major audition for Dwayne Haskins. The former first-round quarterback from the Washington Football Team is expected to play plenty for Pittsburgh.

“I definitely feel comfortable,” Haskins said. “Probably when I first started training camp, I was just trying to get into a rhythm. Now being two weeks in, I’m pretty comfortable. It’s just playing the play and understanding certain adjustments.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin might not be on the hot seat unless the Steelers miss the playoffs entirely, but the pressure is on to get back to playing for the Super Bowl.

Trends


The Cowboys are 4-1 against the spread as underdogs, but take that with a grain of salt. It being the first preseason game of the year, the total nor spread are going to be enticing to take.

The total being 34 also screams an under is calling. Only once since 2013 has the total even inched close to 40. Only twice since 2005 have both teams scored more than 20 points in the game. The Hall of Fame Game is never known for its offense. Two franchises known for it, it’s not likely here.

Prediction


It really is a toss-up. The first half will be key here, seeing which quarterback between Haskins or Gilbert/Rush/Ben DiNucci. Whoever gets the call in the third quarter will be relied upon to not mess up a great deal. It will be interesting to see Haskins in a brand new start with a more revamped offense. Steelers 17-14, under cashes.

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks this season. And if you enjoyed this Dallas Cowboys - Pittsburgh Steelers prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our NFL projections and previews.


Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.