HALL OF FAME GAME: DALLAS COWBOYS VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS

BY ADAM GREENE

Our long national nightmare is over. No, not that nightmare. Not that one either. Ok, we’re dealing with a lot of national nightmares so I’ll be more specific. Our national nightmare of no NFL football has come to an end as some version of the Dallas Cowboys will take on an equally unknown roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio that, I guess, we shouldn’t call annual anymore since it didn’t happen last year.

In fact, none of the preseason games were held in 2020 so, if you’re nostalgic to see a bunch of practice squad guys facing off against future XFL starters, this is the game for you.

DALLAS COWBOYS VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-2, O/U: 33)

Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio

Broadcast: FOX

Kickoff: Thursday, Aug. 5, 8 p.m.

DALLAS COWBOYS (0-0)

The Cowboys enter this game after a disastrous 2020 season that saw not only starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffer a season-ending injury, but the Cowboys themselves making a season-ending coaching hire by adding Mike McCarthy. Prescott is back, in theory, though probably not this game, since he suffered a shoulder injury last week. Prescott wouldn’t have played more than a series or two anyway, but that in itself could cost Dallas a touchdown in a meaningless, on paper but not on bettors, game.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (0-0)

The Steelers did the thing they always do when Ben Roethlisberger remains healthy in the regular season, the team makes the playoffs. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the postseason run was short-lived as they were quickly exited by their AFC North rivals, the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers chose to reload again this year, and not push the panic button on Roethlisberger, who could retire at season’s end. We’re calling that the Anti-Packers strategy now, where you keep your Hall of Fame franchise QB happy and try to win while you have him.

THE PICK

While most teams just have three preseason games this year and we might have to change our expectations because of it, Dallas and Pittsburgh get to enjoy a classic four thanks to the Hall of Fame game. As such, each team could play this one by the old strategy; playing starters a series then sitting them down and letting the back ups go the rest of the way. Personally, and especially with the injury issues the Cowboys had last season, I wouldn’t even dress the starters. Either way, the vast majority of this game will be played by back ups. So who has the better back ups?

That’s an easy one; the Steelers. Their QB room is loaded with guys that have started NFL games (Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins) and another guy who might be the smartest dude on the team (Josh Dobbs). Their No. 4 wideout, James Washington, would start on half the NFL’s squads and they always draft well, especially in later rounds. The only thing that works in the Cowboys’ favor is they have more to prove, with McCarthy under the Hard Knocks microscope. I don’t think it’ll matter. Steelers 17, Cowboys 10

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