The Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites at home against St. Louis, with the over/under set at 47.5. We already know who the BTB writers think will win the game, what's left is to check what the experts - and I'm using this word loosely - predict for Sunday's game against the Rams.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
||The St. Louis Rams' pass rush will be a tough matchup for a bad Dallas Cowboys offensive line, and that advantage could stake STL to an early lead. The problem for the Rams is that neither their running game nor their passing game poses a huge threat to Dallas coordinator Monte Kiffin's defense. Other than Jared Cook vs. the Cowboys' safeties, most of the matchups should go Dallas' way. In their Week 2 loss to the Chiefs, the Cowboys were really hurt by Alex Smith's runs out of the pistol -- but that's not Sam Bradford's game. Still, I think Bradford will play smart in Dallas, like he did in the second half in Atlanta last Sunday, when he was able to spread the ball around. The Cowboys will have to max protect Tony Romo more in this game than they would like ... or else.|
Don Banks, SI.com
||The Cowboys just lost a close one to a Missouri-based club (Kansas City), now here comes another scrappy bunch from the Show Me State. Dallas should be able to move the ball through the air against the Rams, and if I'm Tony Romo, Dez Bryant would be my first, second and third read all day long. If Bryant could play a whole game the way he did in the first half against the Chiefs, he'd be in Calvin Johnson's class before long.|
|Nick Wagoner, ESPN||24-27||The teams look to be pretty evenly matched, which should make for a close game. Although it's a small sample size, the Rams have showed some moxie to mount late comebacks and finish games strong. They can't afford another slow start on the road, but they'll find a way to finish strong enough to steal a win here.|
|Todd Archer, ESPNDallas||26-20||If the Cowboys want to show they are a different team from the one of recent years, they must win this game. It won't be easy, but the defense, held without a takeaway last week at Kansas City, gets a key turnover in the fourth quarter to salt away the win.|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
||24-16||The Rams are playing consecutive road games outside the division, which is always tough. The defense had some tough times against Atlanta, and I look for the Cowboys to get their share of shots down the field this week. The Dallas defense looks improved, and it shows here. Dez Bryant comes up huge.|
|Peter Schrager, Foxsports||23-27||The Rams didn’t beat the Falcons, but they sure beat them up. This is a punishing defense. Going into Dallas and coming out with a win won’t be easy, but this could be the league’s most ruthless defense’s first big coming-out party. On paper, this one screams Cowboys. Give me the Rams.
|Greg Cote, Miami Herald||27-20||Dallas figures to be in rebound mode after a 1-point loss in KC, and I like the Boys at home even though WR Dez Bryant’s iffy back is tormenting his fantasy owners. STL is improved but doesn’t generally travel well. DeMarco Murray ran for 253 yards when last he faced the Rams. Homies would take about half of that here. Can’t be greedy.|
|Vinny Iyer, Sporting News||28-20||The Rams are back to their old habits of making things interesting every week under Jeff Fisher, only this year they have more offensive pop with Jared Cook and Tavon Austin. The Cowboys are supposed to have a lot more with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, and this is a chance to get loose a bit. Their defense will take care of the rest in turning over Sam Bradford.|
Here's an additional summary of picks for the weekend, none of which provide a specific soundbite for their picks. The table contains a column titled 'pick accuracy' which shows how accurate these panels have been in predicting the correct outcome of Cowboys games
|USA Today||4||3||.714 (10-4)|
|Dallas Morning News||7||1||.625 (10-6)|
|NFL Around The League||4||1||.600 (6-4)|
|Pro Football Focus||8||0||.563 (9-7)|
|Inside the NFL||2||0||.333 (1-2)|
Summing up the predictions we've polled above, the Cowboys look like much bigger favorites than the Vegas odds would suggest. The pundits seem to be pretty confident in a Cowboys win. Are you?