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Cowboys @ Saints Expert Picks: Can The Cowboys Pull Off The Upset?

A sampling of picks made for Sunday's Cowboys @ Saints game suggests the Cowboys have little chance to win on Sunday night.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that the Cowboys are underdogs heading into the Sunday night game against the Saints. The oddsmakers have the Cowboys as 6.5 -point underdogs in New Orleans.

In 2009, the Cowboys were 7.5-point underdogs when they defeated the 13-0 Saints in New Orleans. Do they have a chance to pull off another upset?

Here's what some prominent pigskin pundits foresee for the game:

Name (Cowboys accuracy)
Pick Score Comment
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk
No_medium 28-14 This could be an NFC playoff preview, as the Cowboys lead the East and the Saints lead the South. Unfortunately for Dallas, it’s also going to be a preview of the beatdown the Cowboys can expect to get in the playoffs.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports
No_medium 34-30 Rob Ryan was told that he was being relieved of his duties as Cowboys defensive coordinator over the telephone last winter. Not in person. Over the phone. I don’t care what line of work you’re in, that stings. But Jason Garrett said there’s no animosity between the two men this week, telling reporters, "I love Rob Ryan," Garrett said. "He is a fantastic person. He is a fantastic coach. And has been for a long time."
Don Banks,
No_medium 37-27 If you think Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was motivated to win last week's game, against his twin brother's Jets, imagine his burning desire to get some payback against Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, who canned him (or scape-goated him, perhaps) last January after two seasons as the team's DC. The Cowboys might want to take a page from the Jets' playbook and try running at the Saints defense. Anything to keep the Saints offense off the field as much as possible. With just nine rushes last week against the Vikings, Dallas joined the 2007 Patriots and '05 Colts as the only teams since the 1970 merger to win a game with 10 carries or fewer.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
No_medium 31-21 Rob Ryan gets his revenge against the team that made him a scapegoat in January. Especially since the Cowboys can’t/won run the ball and can’t/won try to take away what the opponent does best on offense.
Sam Farmer, L.A. Times (6-3) No_medium 31-28 The Cowboys have surrendered four 400-yard passing games this season, and just nine in their previous 52 years. That’s a bad omen against Drew Brees and a Saints offense with so many weapons.
Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas (6-3) No_medium 38-33 The last two times these teams have met, the scores have been high, with the Saints pulling out three-point wins both times. I see another high-scoring game, with the Cowboys' offense not holding back, knowing they must put up points against Drew Brees & Co. They will, but just not enough.
The Other ESPN Guy 6-3) No_medium 33-26 The Saints at home against a shaky pass defense? I like their chances to put up some points in this game. Dallas will score some points, too, but New Orleans' defense is better than the one the Cowboys have faced in recent years.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
No_medium 28-24 The Saints are coming off a tough loss against the Jets, but they are a different team at home. The Cowboys lost the last time out on the road, and this is a brutal place to play. But the Saints have trouble against the run, which is where the Cowboys will move the football. That keeps them in a tight one as they keep Drew Brees off the field some.
Elliot Harrison,
Dal_medium 34-30 Two factors make this game special: the fact that these two teams could see each other in the postseason, and the recent series history. In 2009, the Cowboys ended the 13-0 Saints' dreams of an undefeated season. In 2010, former Cowboys receiver Roy Williams ruined one of his few productive games with the franchise by fumbling away a chance to clinch what had been a thriller from stem to stern. If Dallas is to take this matchup, it'll be up to DeMarco Murray and the safeties. Murray has been hit or miss, while quality play from Cowboys safeties has been absent for, oh, just a mere 10 years. The Saints would like to put last week's loss to the Jets behind them, but we're calling for an upset here. The importance of DeMarcus Ware's return cannot be understated.
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News
No_medium 31-27 Brees is back in his element, and the Cowboys will have trouble picking their poison with all of his big targets after Jimmy Graham becomes center of attention. These teams went to overtime in Week 16 last season, when Brees and Romo threw for a combined 862 yards and 7 touchdowns. Here’s another shootout
Greg Cote, Miami Herald
No_medium 34-30 Four Week 10 games had the GOTW panel’s attention but this one offered prime time, Drew Brees vs. Tony Romo and the entertaining likelihood of a competitive shootout. Saints have dropped two of past three but should get back on the rails in N’Awlins, where they are 4-0. Saints also have won two straight and seven of past eight vs. the Boys. You may also be assured the Cajuns defense will be amped up for Rob Ryan, who hasn’t forgotten he got fired by Dallas. The bet on Saints outright assumes Jimmy Graham plays. Liking Cowboys with the points, though. Dez Bryant says he will be good to go, and DeMarco Murray should get that ground game untracked against an iffy NO run-D. Cowboys had 54 passes to nine runs last week — highest ratio ever for a winning team — and will need better balance here.

Hooray for Elliot Harrison!

The table below summarizes a couple of other pick 'em panels, but the predictions don't get any better.

Rank (LW) Site Cowboys Saints Cowboys Season
Pick Accuracy
1 (1) Yahoosports 0 2 .833 (15-3)
2 (3) Pro Football Focus 1 7 .764 (55-17)
3 (2) ESPN 0 14 .760 (95-30)
4 (4) USA Today 0 7 .746 (47-16)
5 (5) Dallas Morning News 0 9 .694 (50-22)
6 (6) CBSSports 0 9 .671 (53-26)
7 (7) Foxsports 0 4 .667 (24-12)
8 (8) NFL Around The League 0 5 .644 (29-16)
9 (9) Inside the NFL 1 1 .632 (12-7)
Total 2 57 .x (380-149)

So there you have it, folks. Hardly anybody likes the Cowboys for a win on Sunday.

Do you think the Cowboys can pull off the upset?


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