Unbeaten Steelers huge favorites in visit to rival Cowboys

PITTSBURGH (7-0) at DALLAS (2-6)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT, CBS

OPENING LINE — Steelers by 13 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Steelers 6-1; Cowboys 0-8

SERIES RECORD — Cowboys lead 17-15

LAST MEETING — Cowboys beat Steelers 35-30, on Nov. 13, 2016, at Pittsburgh

LAST WEEK — Steelers beat Ravens 28-24; Cowboys lost to Eagles 23-9

AP PRO32 RANKING — Steelers No. 1; Cowboys No. 30

STEELERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (25), RUSH (16), PASS (24).

STEELERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (5), RUSH (5), PASS (7).

COWBOYS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (21), PASS (1).

COWBOYS DEFENSE — OVERALL (24), RUSH (32), PASS (8).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — The Cowboys have won seven of the past 10 meetings of these longtime rivals since a five-game winning streak for the Steelers that included both of their Super Bowl victories over Dallas in the 1970s. … At 13 1/2 points, Dallas is the biggest underdog it has been at home since San Francisco was a 14 1/2-point favorite in 1989. The Cowboys lost by 17 (31-14) on their way to a 1-15 record in Jerry Jones’ first season as owner. … At 0-8 against the spread, the Cowboys are the first since the Raiders in 2003 to go this far into a season without covering. … The Steelers are tied for fifth in turnover margin at plus-5 (13 takeaways, eight giveaways) while the Cowboys are last at minus-11 (seven takeaways, 18 giveaways) despite a plus-2 in the loss to the Eagles. Dallas had four takeaways after having just three for the season going into the game. … The Steelers can set a franchise record with their eighth consecutive victory to start the season. Last week’s win matched the 7-0 start of 1978, when Pittsburgh won the third of its six Super Bowls. … Pittsburgh is the 39th team to start 7-0. Each of the previous 38 reached the playoffs and 10 won the Super Bowl. … Coach Mike Tomlin can tie Marty Schottenheimer’s NFL record of 14 straight seasons (1984-97) with at least a .500 record to start a career. … The Steelers have 30 sacks and 10 interceptions, the fourth team since 1990 with at least that many in the first seven games. … Pittsburgh gave up 265 yards rushing to Ravens last week, the most in more than 20 years. The Steelers will be without DT Tyson Alualu (knee). Defensive lineman Cam Heyward is likely to play despite quadriceps injury sustained in the fourth quarter in Baltimore. … The Steelers added depth at linebacker by acquiring Avery Williamson from the Jets on Monday. Williamson will not play due to COVID-19 protocols regarding trades. … QB Ben Roethlisberger has eight TD passes and one interception in four career games against Dallas. The 38-year-old in his 17th season is 2-2 in those games. … Rookie Chase Claypool is tied for the NFL lead among receivers with seven TDs, five receiving and two rushing. … LB T.J. Watt is tied for the NFL lead with 12 tackles for loss. … LB Rob Spillane had an interception return for a touchdown against Lamar Jackson on the game’s first series last week, and LB Alex Highsmith opened the second half with an interception that set up a touchdown to help the Steelers rally from a 10-point halftime deficit. … The Cowboys will start their fourth quarterback of the season in either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush. Whoever gets the nod will make his first career start a week after rookie Ben DiNucci did the same. Dallas is in this position because Andy Dalton is on the COVID-19 list and won’t be available until after next week’s bye. Dalton took over when star Dak Prescott broke his right ankle, ending his season. … RB Ezekiel Elliott is still without a 100-yard game halfway through the season. The two-time rushing champion had never gone more than two weeks into a season without hitting the century mark in his first four years. Elliott had a career-long 83-yard catch for a touchdown against the Steelers as a rookie in 2016. … WR CeeDee Lamb leads all rookies with 40 catches and is second with 524 yards receiving. But he has just four catches for 27 yards the past two weeks. … DE DeMarcus Lawrence has a sack in three of the past four games after going 12 consecutive games without a full sack. … DE Aldon Smith has 3 1/2 sacks in two career games against the Steelers. Last week Smith ended a four-game sackless streak that followed a three-sack game. … LB Leighton Vander Esch had a sack and a forced fumble against Philadelphia. … Rookie CB Trevon Diggs had his first two interceptions and a career-high four pass breakups against the Eagles. … Fantasy tip: The Pittsburgh defense leads the NFL with 30 sacks and is third with 10 interceptions while ranking in the top seven in all three defensive yardage categories. The Cowboys have scored one touchdown in three full games without Prescott (all losses), don’t have a TD the past two weeks, and will have a QB making his first career start for the second consecutive week.

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