In the early Week 10 Vegas lines (published last week before the Week 9 games had taken place), the Cowboys were 10.5-point favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars. I assume that the lines at the time reflected an expectation that Tony Romo might be ready to play in London, but also that Brandon Weeden would prove to be a halfway decent fill-in for Romo.
When the line fell to 5.5 points in favor of the Cowboys on Monday this week, it's safe to assume that one or both expectations were not reflected in the numbers anymore.
The line has since crept up to 7.5 points in favor of the Cowboys, perhaps on the hope that Romo will indeed play, perhaps on the hope that Brandon Weeden will play better against the Jaguars than he did against the Cardinals.
Seven of the nine pundits whose opinions about the game we regularly review on Friday believe that the Cowboys will win by 10 points or more, which would be much closer to the early line than the current line.
Here's what those pundits think about the Cowboys' chances this week.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (6-3)
||34-16||Game stayed off betting boards into late in week for season’s third of three London games at Wembley Stadium because of QB Tony Romo’s injury status for Dallas, although as the weekend drew near it seemed he’d be ready to go. (Coach Jason Garrett seemed less certain than Dr. Jerry Jones). If Romo does play he’d better be mobile, because rushing the passer is one of few things Jags do well. Can see DeMarco Murray nearing 200 ground yards vs. Jax’s sorry run stoppers.|
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (6-3)
||31-19||The Cowboys led 10-0 early on and were in control of last Sunday's game vs. Arizona until turnovers and abandoning the running game did them in. Jacksonville's a better squad than its record reflects, but Dallas could just be too big up front for the Jags to compete with at the line of scrimmage. DeMarco Murray was held to under 80 yards on Sunday and the offense strayed from him late.|
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News (6-3)
||34-24||Will the Cowboys rest Tony Romo with a bye coming up and a game they should win without him on a neutral field? They maybe should, but Romo has been a tough customer with whatever ails his back this season, and there’s a good chance he’ll return to lead America’s team to a jolly good offensive show in London. DeMarco Murray will get right back up on that 100-yard horse against the Jaguars shaky run defense to help whoever’s quarterback. Let’s hope Dez Bryant helps out whoever’s passing to him, too|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (5-4)
||27-14||The issue here is whether Tony Romo plays for the Cowboys after missing last week with a back injury. Even without him, I think the Cowboys are good enough here to pound DeMarco Murray and leave London with a victory.|
Sam Farmer, LA Times (5-4)
||24-17||Regardless of who's playing quarterback for them, the Cowboys will handle the Jaguars in London. DeMarco Murray will break a couple of big runs after a sub-100-yard game last Sunday.|
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (5-4)
||24-10||Romo or no Romo, the Cowboys are good enough to beat the Jaguars. And if the Cowboys aren’t, maybe yet another 8-8 finish is looming.|
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (3-6)
||30-20||Will Tony Romo look like Stallone in "First Blood," dodging and darting his way through the trees, setting up intricate booby traps for pursuing linemen like they're Sheriff Teasle in his reversible jacket (which kind of resembled the Jags' helmets)? Or will he look like Stallone in "Copland," plodding around clumsily with a body trending downward? Trending has become the new buzzword in sports, and it appears Blake Bortles is finally trending upward. Not throwing the football to the other guys in ways that set them up to then sprint toward your own goal line sure helps. Jacksonville is the worst in the NFL at protecting its quarterback (35 sacks allowed) and is scoring 15.7 points per game. That is not a typo|
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (3-6)
||27-13||The Cowboys need to turn things around after dropping two straight, and the Jaguars are just the opponents to help them do it. This game won’t be close.|
John Breech, CBS Sports (3-6)
||20-13||27-13 if Romo plays.|
Our selection of pick 'em panels is just a decisive, coming down strongly in favor of the Cowboys:
|USA Today||7||0||.578 (37-27)|
|NFL Around The League||5||0||.533 (24-21)|
|Dallas Morning News||9||0||.481 (39-42)|
|SB Nation||6||1||.460 (29-34)|
|Pro Football Focus||7||1||.453 (34-41)|
Expectations clearly are for a Cowboys win, and judging by the projected scores, that win must be a decisive win. 99% of the participants in our Pick 256 challenge picked the Cowboys to win on Sunday, but they didn't get a chance to say by how much. So here's your chance to make up for that:
With the Cowboys currently being one-touchdown favorites, would you take the over or the under on that action?