Everybody knows that the Broncos will beat the Cowboys on Sunday. At least that's what our selection of experts believe, as they go 60-0 in favor of the Broncos.
In fact, the mere suggestion that the Cowboys could at least cover the spread, and possibly come away with an upset win, draws derisive sneers not just form non-Cowboys fans.
But the accuracy of the experts in predicting the outcome of Cowboys games has been spotty at best so far this season. Over four games, the pick 'em panels we regularly monitor have a 116-85 record (.577) of accurately predicting Cowboys games, which is only marginally more accurate than a coin flip.
Upsets happen every week in the NFL, why not on Sunday in Dallas? And if not an upset, perhaps a close game? At least one irate bettor providing the picks for sportsgrid.com likes the Cowboys' chances of covering the spread:
I don’t care how good the Broncos are, or how good Peyton Manning is — it’s impossible to be this hyped up and NOT be overrated. The Broncos are excellent and probably the best team in the NFL. But the best team in the NFL is not 10.5 points better than a likely playoff team.
No good NFL team should be getting over a touchdown, at home, against another NFL team. This is BLASPHEMY.
Again, this doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing, but it does mean this line is ridiculously inflated and worth betting on.
The published opinions polled below have no doubt whatsoever about the outcome of the game.
Don Banks, SI.com
||20-34||Denver has outscored opponents 59-14 in the third quarter this season, and 107-45 in the second half. Against visiting Philadelphia last week, the Broncos didn't even require a third-down conversion on three 80-yard touchdown drives in the third quarter. Manning threw for three scores with just one incompletion in the quarter. The Cowboys are 2-0 in their house this season, but they have yet to face a foe averaging 44.8 points per game this year. So there's that. The Cowboys last week at San Diego had no second-half touchdown drives, and that makes twice this season that they've come up empty on the road in the final 30 minutes against an AFC West opponent.|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
||30-31||The Cowboys gave up over 400 yards to the Chargers last week through the air. Now they get Peyton Manning, who is as hot as he's ever been. So why do I think the Cowboys will keep this close? I think the defense will play better, but I also think the offense will get it going at home. This will be fun.|
|Peter Schrager, Foxsports||27-42||Through four weeks, the Broncos are on pace to shatter the 2007 Patriots all-time scoring record, Peyton Manning is on pace to throw 64 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, and Wes Welker is on pace to break Randy Moss’s all-time single season touchdown record. Can they keep it up? Why not?|
|Greg Cote, Miami Herald||31-34||Manning and Tony Romo might combine for 900 yards passing. Seriously. Manning had a one-for-the-ages September in which Denver’s 179 points were the best season-opening four-game total since Dallas put up 183 in 1966. And Romo has a 14-1 TD/pick ratio in his past five home games. But here’s the thing: Cowboys’ pass defense isn’t very good. Has already allowed 10 scoring throws. Ranks 27th. That adds up to Denver staying unbeaten, although I do like Dallas to end Stallions’ 15-game streak of regular season wins by at least seven points. Manning was intercepted four times when last he faced Cowboys, in 2010. We know he can win easily. Let’s see him work for one.|
|Sam Farmer, L.A. Times||24-35||Peyton Manning has league’s hottest hand, and he’s very familiar with Monte Kiffin’s defense, having practiced against Tony Dungy’s version for seven years in Indianapolis. Dallas won’t fool him.|
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
||Peyton Manning should be familiar with the defense that coordinator Monte Kiffin is running with the Cowboys. After all, Manning faced it every day in practice for years in Indianapolis, as Tony Dungy -- who employed Kiffin as his coordinator in Tampa Bay -- used the same defense when he coached the Colts. From a schematic standpoint, the weakness of said defense is in the middle of the field, where the middle or weakside linebacker must get depth to cover the tight end (and sometimes, the slot receivers). If you saw Sean Lee and Bruce Carter in "coverage" against the Chargers, umm, you'll be covering your eyes when the Cowboys are on defense this Sunday. That said, the Broncos might have serious trouble with the Cowboys' offense, which plays very well at home.|
|Pro Football Talk||
Smith: I’d pick the Broncos to beat anyone. (Although I’d probably have to think long and hard about it if they played at Seattle.) The Broncos are the best team in football and will improve to 5-0, while the Cowboys will fall to 2-3, which in the NFC East is still good enough for first place.
Florio (Who has not been arrested yet): Jerry Jones wants Tony Romo to be Peyton Manning. Tony Romo is no Peyton Manning. Jerry Jones will get to see it up close on Sunday. To his dismay.
|Vinny Iyer, Sporting News||34-42||Peyton Manning rides in as the baddest hombre in the AFC West, with his gun blazing like we've never seen before. Cue up the Outlaw Country soundtrack as the Broncos won't be tamed by the wildly inconsistent Cowboys. Tony Romo will rope in a few big pass plays of his own, but as well as he's played, Manning has a lot more in his six shooter. Yee-haw.|
Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
||33-38||It would be a very Cowboy thing to do to win a game like this after what happened last week in San Diego, but I just can't go there. Too much Peyton Manning. Too much Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Too many points.|
Jeff Legwold, ESPN Denver
||24-41||Four teams have tried to stick to the up-tempo pace and take their chances against the Broncos, and four teams have come away shaking their heads after double-digit losses. Nobody has held the ball yet and the Cowboys might want to try.|
Here's an additional summary of picks for the weekend, none of which provide a specific soundbite for their picks. The table is sorted by a column titled 'pick accuracy' which shows how accurate these panels have been in predicting the correct outcome of the first four Cowboys games.
|Rank (LW)||Site||Broncos||Cowboys||Pick Accuracy
|1 (1)||ESPN||13||0||.660 (37-19)|
|T2 (5)||Yahoosports||2||0||.625 (5-3)|
|T2 (3)||Pro Football Focus||8||0||.625 (20-12)|
|5 (5)||NFL Around The League||5||0||.550 (11-9)|
|6 (5)||USA Today||7
|7 (8)||CBSSports||9||0||.441 (15-19)|
|8 (7)||Inside the NFL||1||0||.428 (3-4)|
The pundits all agree that the Cowboys have no chance on Sunday. Do you? Or is it "any given Sunday" everywhere in the league except Dallas?