- The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers begin the NFL preseason by meeting in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night in Canton
- The Steelers are 1.5-point favorites as the home team against the visiting Cowboys
- A look at the Cowboys-Steelers matchup can be found below along with a prediction
The NFL preseason schedule begins when the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers meet at 8:00 PM EST Thursday, August 5th, 2021 in the Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
The Cowboys are coming off a 6-10 season in 2020 during Mike McCarthy’s first year as coach. The Steelers finished 12-5 after beginning the season 11-0 and lost to the Cleveland Browns in an AFC Wild Card playoff game.
The game will be televised by FOX and Pittsburgh are slight favorites in the Cowboys vs Steelers odds.
Dallas Cowboys vs Pittsburgh Steelers Odds
|Dallas Cowboys||+110||+1.5 (-105)||Over 32.5 (-110)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||-130||-1.5 (-115)||Under 32.5 (-110)|
Odds as of August 4th at FanDuel
Sign up for our email to receive updates throughout the entire 2022 NFL Season
Steelers Slim Favorites
The Steelers opened as one-point choices, and the line has gone up slightly since then.
Neither coach has said who exactly will or won’t play. However, the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin indicated among the players he will hold out include quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, defensive end Cam Heyward, and cornerback Joe Haden. Linebacker Devin Bush also will sit as he recovers from knee surgery.
Thus, we won’t see any of this.
— Blitzburgh ✨ (@BlitzVideos) July 30, 2021
Quarterback Dak Prescott will not play for the Cowboys. He has been sidelined since last week by a strained lat muscle behind his right shoulder and also sustained a season-ending ankle injury last season in Week 5.
Dallas coach Mike McCarthy also won’t play wide Amari Cooper (ankle) and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (back). Neither has practiced while working their way back from injuries.
Backup QBs Only
Seeing action at quarterback for the Cowboys will be Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, and Cooper Rush.
Gilbert made the lone regular-season start of his seven-year career against the Steelers last season when Prescott and Andy Dalton were both injured. Gilbert threw for 243 yards and one touchdown while being intercepted once.
CeeDee Lamb on the deep ball from Garrett Gilbert pic.twitter.com/uXs4USUdev
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 3, 2021
DiNucci also started once last season as a rookie and had a dismal showing in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night football. Rush has attempted three passes in his four-year career.
With Roethlisberger watching from the sideline, the Steelers will give each of their three backup quarterbacks work.
Mason Rudolph will start and will work until some point in the second quarter. Dwayne Haskins is then expected to take over at QB and play through the third quarter before giving way to Josh Dobbs.
Rudolph started eight games in 2019 after Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury. Rudolph also started last year’s meaningless regular-season finale against the Browns.
Coach Tomlin has named Mason Rudolph the starting quarterback for the Hall of Fame Game against Dallas. pic.twitter.com/1T7gU37aOU
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 3, 2021
Haskins made 13 starts combined for the Washington Football Team in 2019 and 2020 after being its first-round draft pick in ’19. However, he was released late last season and then signed with the Steelers.
Dobbs has never started a regular-season game and thrown just 17 passes in his four-year career.
Unheralded Players to Watch
As with most initial preseason games, look for reserves to dominate the playing time.
Among some lesser-known Steelers’ players who have open eyes in training camp are first-year wide receiver Anthony Johnson, first-year tight end Kevin Rader, rookie safety Donovan Stiner and rookie cornerback Mark Gilbert.
One player who has made a good impression in the Cowboys’ camp is defensive tackle Quinton Bohanna, this year’s sixth-round draft pick from Kentucky.
Defensive Anchor, Rookie Quinton Bohanna gobbles up Ezekiel Elliott at the line of scrimmage.
— The Star Vision (@TheStarVision) July 25, 2021
Another DT, second-year man, Neville Gallimore looks ready to take on a bigger role in 2021. Journeyman cornerback Maurice Canady has been one of the stars during practice.
Some Preseason History
This will be McCarthy’s first preseason game as the Cowboys’ coach as last year’s exhibition schedule was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had a 28-23 record in exhibition games during his 13 seasons as coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Tomlin’s career preseason mark is 31-23 in 14 years. The Steelers have gone 3-1 in each of the last three preseasons from 2017-19.
The past five Hall of Fame games have been low-scoring affairs with an average of 28.4 points a game as teams look to iron out opening-game problems. Two years ago, the Denver Broncos edged the Atlanta Falcons 14-10 in Canton.
Nevertheless, it will be exciting to have football back for many.
📺: Thursday, August 5 on FOX pic.twitter.com/mVf5fmYizW
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) July 29, 2021
Preseason games are always difficult to predict. However, we’ll give the edge to the Steelers this one based on their quarterback depth and having just a two-hour bus ride from Canton to Pittsburgh.
Pick: Steelers -1.5 (-115)