Raiders @ Cowboys Expert Picks: Easy Win Expected, Nailbiter To Follow?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

A sampling of picks made for today's Raiders @ Cowboys games shows the Cowboys are the overwhelming favorites this afternoon.

Our experts today deserve another round of clownface cake. After unanimously picking the Eagles to win in Week 7, the panel was 10-1 in predicting a Giants win last week. The sole dissenting projection came from Dan Graziano, the ESPN writer covering the Giants.

The Cowboys are heavy 9.5-point favorites heading into game against the Raiders, the biggest line of any game in Week 13. The Cowboys are 8-3 ATS this year, making them the single-best pointspread team in the NFL. Does that mean we're in for a decisive win, or will this be another one of those games that comes down to the final minutes?

The eleven experts we poll below all have the Cowboys winning by at least a touchdown today. But while the average predicted score is 30-16, three of the 11 experts don't think the Cowboys will cover the spread. Here's what our panel has to say:

Name (Cowboys accuracy)
Pick Score Comment
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk
(8-3)
Dal_medium 27-13 Dallas is neck-and-neck in an NFC East race that seems destined to be determined in Week 17. The Cowboys know they can’t afford any slip-ups, and they’ll avoid one against an overmatched Raiders team.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports
(8-3)
Dal_medium 28-20 How big was Dallas' win over the Giants in New York? The Cowboys play three of their final five games at home, where they're 4-1, with the only loss coming in that 51-48 shootout with Denver. The Eagles are hot, but Dallas could have the schedule in its favor.
Don Banks, SI.com
(8-3)
Dal_medium 24-16 Don't get too giddy now, Cowboys, just because you can climb to two games above .500 for the first time this season. The big road win over the Giants was a solid step toward the playoffs, but it would be so Dallas to then cough one up at home to the 4-7 Raiders. The makings of a Cowboys win are all there in this one. Dallas is 4-1 at home this season and scoring an NFC-best 34.6 points per game at Jerry World. The Raiders are just 1-4 on the road, but they have already won in Texas this year, beating the reeling Texans in Houston in Week 11.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
(8-3)
Dal_medium 34-21 A letdown is entirely possible for the home team, with the erratic and underachieving Raiders coming to town only four days after the Cowboys scored an emotional and physical win over the Giants. And I’m tempted to pick the upset, because losing in this spot would be the ultimate Cowboys maneuver. But this could be the year that chances [sic] perceptions in Dallas — at least until the Panthers or Cardinals roll into town for the wild-card round of the playoffs.
The Other ESPN Guy (8-3) Dal_medium 27-16 Sure, getting left tackle Jared Veldheer back should help a battered offensive line, especially on a short week. But the Raiders are also beat up in the secondary. And who, exactly, is going to cover Dez Bryant? The Raiders have to unveil a power running game to set up Matt McGloin's play-action passes and keep Tony Romo and Co. off the field, otherwise this Thanksgiving Day game will turn into a real turkey ... fast.
Sam Farmer, L.A. Times (7-4) Dal_medium 24-17 The Cowboys are coming off a big NFC East victory over the New York Giants, and the Raiders lost another close one. Oakland should keep things close against a bad defense, but Dallas has the edge in this traditional home game.
Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas (7-4) Dal_medium 31-17 Considering the way in which they beat the Giants last week, it's hard to envision the Cowboys having a letdown. The defense has struggled, but the Raiders just don't have enough weapons to stretch the game out. With a win the Cowboys take over sole possession of first place in the NFC East and have an 11-day break to heal up before playing the Bears.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
(7-4)
Dal_medium 31-17 The Cowboys are coming off a tough road victory against the Giants. They are tied for the NFC East lead and the defense looked improved against the Giants. Tony Romo will have chances here against the Oakland secondary. I look for big plays from Dez Bryant.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
(7-4)
Dal_medium 37-20 Dallas doesn't win by 30. I blame Tony Romo. He'll throw for just 300 yards and two touchdowns and win the game, another drab performance for the world's worst quarterback. Speaking of quarterbacks, has anyone taken notice of Matt McGloin? We keep bringing him up in the Power Rankings, but there is no getting around the quality of his play considering he was undrafted and thrust into the lineup. Hey, maybe he's not the future of the franchise, but if you're not going to make the playoffs, why not evaluate? The Cowboys' safeties can be had, be it Jeff Heath or Barry Church; thus, look for McGloin to link up with Rod Streeter for a vertical shot in this ballgame. Somewhere, Al Davis and Tex Schramm are smiling
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News
(7-4)
Dal_medium 42-14 Tony Romo has one more chance to play Mr. November, and the Raiders’ secondary sets him up for another buffet on the holiday. Dez Bryant will be impossible to cover for Oakland, and that’s before getting to Romo’s growing quiver of targets. The Silver and Black is about to fade to black in a tryptophan stupor.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald
(6-5)
Dal_medium 27-19 Dallas hosts its 46th Thanksgiving Day game, a meeting of once-proud franchises trying to recover old glories. Tony Romo is 5-1 on Bird Day, Dez Bryant had 145 catch yards a year ago on this holiday, and both should put up big numbers again on a shaky Oaks pass defense. Raiders are a bad road team, and Cows have averaged 34.6 points this year in going 4-1 at home. Despite that, I'd hunch Oakland getting almost double digits to keep it reasonably close.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/28/3784021/greg-cotes-thursday-nfl-picks.html#storylink=cpy

The Cowboys are also the overwhelming favorites in a selection of Pick'em panels we've surveyed below.

Rank (LW) Site Cowboys Raiders Cowboys Season
Pick Accuracy
1 (1) Yahoosports 2 0 .818 (18-4)
2 (3) USA Today 7 0 .766 (59-18)
3 (2) Pro Football Focus 8 0 .739 (65-23)
4 (4) ESPN 14 0 .725 (111-42)
5 (5) Dallas Morning News n.a. n.a. .708 (63-26)
6 (7) Foxsports 3 0 .682 (30-14)
7 (8) NFL Around The League 4 1 .673 (37-18)
8 (6) CBSSports 9 0 .656 (63-33)
9 (9) Inside the NFL 2 0 .542 (13-11)
- - SB Nation 6 0 - -
Total 53 1 .708 (459-189)

So there you have it, folks. Almost nobody is picking the Raiders. The Cowboys are expected to win easily and by a large margin.

The last time the Cowboys were favored this much was against the Vikings, where the Cowboys were 10.5-point home favorites. In that game, the Cowboys fell behind with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, before eventually scoring the game-winning touchdown for a final score of 27-23.

What's your expectation: will the Cowboys be able to pull away early for an easy win, or will it be another nailbiter that will be decided in the last few minutes of the game?

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