Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cowboys Are Narrow Favorites at Green Bay

By Matt Cordon

The Cowboys are not overwhelming favorites as they travel to Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon. Half of the ESPN commentators picked Green Bay to win, while everyone at the Dallas Morning News other than Rick Gooselin picked Dallas. The simulations have favored the Cowboys, though the game will be close if these predictions come true.

Dallas 27, Green Bay 25

The Cowboys have won 56% of Accuscore’s simulations by an average score of 27-25. The Dallas pass rush may be the difference in whether the Cowboys can win their fifth straight.

Aaron Rodgers will need to withstand the Cowboys pass rush for Green Bay to win. He is getting sacked more than 4 times per simulation and if the Cowboys sack him 5+ times the Packers only have a 40 percent chance of winning. If Rodgers is sacked no more than 3 times the Packers are 70 percent favorites. The Packers also need to contain the Cowboys running game. If Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice average 5+ yards per carry the Cowboys are 69 percent favorites. The Packers secondary will need to get Tony Romo to throw at least 1 INT. If Romo does not throw an INT Dallas is the 62 percent favorite, but if Romo throws 1+ INT the Packers are the 63 percent favorite.

WhatIfSports: Dallas 28, Green Bay 22

The Cowboys won a higher percentage of the simulations on WhatIfSports, taking nearly 70% of the matchups. Tony Romo averaged only 212.9 yards in the simulations, but the running game was generally strong.

Madden Simulation: Dallas 26, Green Bay 14

The Cowboys were more dominant in ESPN’s simulation of the game, as Dallas won 26-14.

Talk about two teams that appear to be headed in completely opposite directions. And just think, it seemed like only a few weeks ago people were talking about the demise of Dallas and the playoff prospects of the Packers. Now the field has flipped and it’s Dallas who looks headed to bigger and better things this season as they take out Green Bay 26-14.

Tony Romo continues to impress, throwing for 320 yards and three touchdowns, including another touchdown to his new favorite wide out, Miles Austin. Jason Witten also came up big for Dallas, catching nine passes for 103 yards and a score.

Things aren’t looking good for Green Bay, as Aaron Rodgers faced relentless pressure from the Dallas D, throwing an interception and fumbling twice in the loss.

My Guess (6-2 based on win-loss)

For two straight weeks my guess was pretty close.

Last week’s prediction:

I am not drinking the Cowboys kool-aid just yet, but I think the Cowboys will overcome a shaky first half and storm back in the second half. Dallas will use all three running backs on offense, and the Dallas defense will make some adjustments to hold Philadelphia in check.

Final score:

* * *

Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17

The first half wasn’t really very shaky, but the first drive of the second half for the Dallas defense was shaky. In the end, the Cowboys managed a four-point win, 20-16. My tally this year:

Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)

Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)

Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)

Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14 (actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)

Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City 14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)

Week 7: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17 (actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)

Week 8: Dallas 31, Seattle 17 (actual Dallas 38, Seattle 17)

Week 9: Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17 (actual: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16)

As for Sunday’s game, I think Dallas will do well. The Packers can be a dangerous team, but their confidence seemed shaken after the loss to the Vikings two weeks ago. They were hardly impressive in the loss to Tampa Bay last week. Dallas should bring a balanced attack, taking advantage of Aaron Kampman’s absence from the game.

Final score: Dallas 31, Green Bay 20