Cowboys @ Lions Expert Picks: Dallas Over Detroit In A Close Game?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Our panel of experts is split down the middle over who will win Sunday's game, and many predict a close game.

Every Friday so far this season, we've turned our attention to what some of the national experts are predicting for the next Cowboys game. Over time, we've winnowed our list down to 11 experts who provide some commentary along with their picks. Last week, these 11 experts all picked the Eagles to win against the Cowboys, and are still wiping the clown-face cake off their faces today.

Seven games into the season, it's high time to figure out which of these experts are better at predicting Cowboys games than others, so under the name of each pundit in the table below, we've noted his season record in accurately predicting Cowboys games. Leading our panel of pigskin pundits is Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, who accurately predicted the winner of the first six Cowboys games, and only missed on last week's game against the Eagles for a season record of 6-1.

Can he extend his lead over some of the other experts this week?

Name (Cowboys accuracy)
Pick Score Comment
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk
(6-1)

Dal_medium

28-27 This is a tough one. The Lions are favored and I rarely pick against a team with a winning record at home. But the Lions’ secondary was leaving receivers wide open all day against the Bengals, and Tony Romo and Dez Bryant should be able to put up big numbers in Detroit. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ defense looked outstanding last week against Philadelphia. I see the Cowboys winning a close game.
Sam Farmer, L.A. Times (5-2)

Dal_medium

31-24 The Cowboys’ pass defense is a liability, so facing Matt Stafford has to get some hearts beating in that secondary. Still, the defense held high-scoring Philadelphia to three points, a big step forward.
Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas (5-2)

Dal_medium

36-31 I'm going against my better judgment here because the Cowboys have been a different offense on the road than at home. I think they'll be able to score points, and look more like they looked against Denver a couple of weeks ago. They better score points because I'm not sure the defense can contain the passing game. I think it'll do just enough so the Cowboys can get to 5-3 at the midway point.
The Other ESPN guy Detroit (5-2)

Dal_medium

35-31 The potential injuries on the offensive line are a big concern here, and in what could be another coin flip game, that makes the difference as Dallas pressures Matthew Stafford late. Tough game to call, but the Cowboys thwart Detroit in the fourth quarter.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports
(5-2)
Det_medium 31-24 How about Monte Kiffin’s defense? Two games without DeMarcus Ware and two big efforts, silencing the Redskins and Eagles in wins. Neither the Redskins or Eagles have Calvin Johnson.
Don Banks, SI.com
(5-2)
Det_medium 31-27 This should be one of those back-and-forth scoring fests, with Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford throwing the rock all day long. But the Lions need a win to stay relevant in the NFC North race and enter their Week 9 bye with a sense of momentum. For the Cowboys, 4-4 at midseason is going to feel like a disappointment, but 5-3 would be the blueprint for halfway to a playoff berth.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
(5-2)
Det_medium 38-35 A shootout could be coming at Ford Field, and the Lions know their margin for error is shrinking. The Cowboys, at 4-3 and in the NFC East, won’t have a margin for error until late December.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald
(4-3)

Dal_medium

31-27 Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford make an entertaining shootout likely, and we have a neat little subplot in Dez Bryant saying this week, of Calvin Johnson, "I can do whatever he can do." I’ll like Dez’s chances better if Calvin is out injured, which I sort of prefer, given my pick here. Upset! Cowboys a nifty 6-1 against the spread this year, and Romo has 300-plus yards in three straight wins over Motown. Make it four, please.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
(4-3)
Det_medium 34-30 This is a tough spot for the Cowboys. They are also playing a second consecutive road game, and last week's was inside the division. The Lions lost at home last week, so they can't afford another home loss. The Lions will have a lot of chances down the field against a Dallas secondary that has struggled this season. Look for Matt Stafford to outduel Tony Romo.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
(4-3)
Det_medium 29-24
Can that Dallas line hold down the Lions the way it did the Eagles' offense? The key is whether or not that group can get any pressure on Matthew Stafford -- and how well Brandon Carr can play against Megatron. Detroit, meanwhile, should run Reggie Bush and force Cowboys linebackers to cover him in space.
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News
(4-3)
Det_medium 27-24 The Lions once again get matched up at home with a team that's a lot like them with the same record (4-3). There are a couple of gunslingers in Tony Romo and Matt Stafford, and playing the role A.J. Green to Megatron this week will be Dez Bryant, who talked a whole lot more than Green about being just as good as Calvin Johnson. Johnson, looking fully healthy again, dropped his first megabomb on the Bengals' secondary, and can do the same to the Cowboys, even through triple teams. Bryant will get his attention and his big plays, too, but the different maker is a second dynamic playmaker. That's Detroit's Reggie Bush.

While the picks are about evenly split, the table below summarizes a couple of other pick 'em panels where the predictions clearly favor the Lions.

Rank (LW) Site Cowboys Lions Cowboys Season
Pick Accuracy
1 (T2) Yahoosports 0 2 .786 (11-3)
2 (T2) Pro Football Focus 3 5 .750 (42-14)
3 (1) ESPN 5 9 .742 (72-25)
4 (T6) USA Today 0 7 .673 (33-16)
5 (4) Dallas Morning News 3 5 .661 (37-19)
6 (5) Foxsports 2 2 .643 (18-10)
7 (T6) NFL Around The League 3 2 .629 (22-13)
8 (8) CBSSports 2 7 .607 (37-24)
9 (9) Inside the NFL 1 2 .538 (7-6)
Total 19 41 .681 (278-130)

The Over/Under for the Cowboys game is set at 51; 10 of the 11 experts polled above are taking the over. Who do you like for the win on Sunday?

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