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Lions @ Cowboys Expert Picks: Can Cowboys Live Up To Expectations?

A sampling of picks made for Sunday's wildcard game between the Lions and Cowboys suggests the Cowboys are strong favorites to win the game, but will it be the high-scoring game many expect?

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys are 7-point favorites over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Can the Cowboys live up to expectations and pull off their first playoff win since 2009?

All nine of the pundits whose opinion we look at below believe that the Cowboys will do just that. Here's what those pundits think about the Cowboys' chances on Sunday.

(Cowboys accuracy)
Pick Score Comment
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (10-5)
Dal_medium 31-16 The Cowboys were a lot better off when Ndamukong Suh was sidelined for this one. Now, Dallas has to face the game's best defensive tackle in what could be his last game as a Detroit Lion on national television — where he is at his best and, at times, meanest. Another offensive line, I'd be concerned. But this unit has played too well and been too stout all season long to allow Suh, Ziggy Ansah and the rest of the Detroit front seven to have its way. Everyone's waiting for the other shoe to drop on this Dallas team. I don't see it happening just yet.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (11-5)
Dal_medium 28-14 The Detroit offense hasn't been as potent as in years past. The Lions finished 22nd in scoring. Quarterback Matt Stafford also wasn't nearly as good on the road as he was at home. Even though the Dallas defense isn't great, ranking 19th, I think they are feisty and good enough to slow the Detroit offense down. I don't think there's any slowing down the Dallas offense. Tony Romo and the Cowboys will move on.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (11-5)
Dal_medium 34-23 Lions have lost seven consecutive playoff games and 10 of 11 in the Super Bowl era. And Cowboys are on a 1-7 postseason skid. (That’s why Jerry Jones usually looks like he has indigestion.) Somebody’s January curse will continue, and I think it’ll be Motown’s. Detroit has won past two vs. Dallas but ’Boys are home and coming in hotter, on the wing of four wins in a row. And give me Tony Romo over Matthew Stafford, especially this season.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (11-5)
Dal_medium 31-27 The Lions and the Cowboys have each changed the narratives about their underachieving teams this year. The Dallas storyline will revert quickly, if they blow a chance to return to Lambeau in the postseason for the first time since 1967. Tony Romo and company will keep that from happening. If they don’t, everyone will say that Tony Romo and company are no different than they were in past years.
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News (9-7)
Dal_medium 27-23 The Cowboys have been able to run on anyone, and Romo has been picking apart everyone of late. They should expect tougher sledding for DeMarco Murray early, but his lanes will open up as the passing game has success exploiting the Lions’ weakness at corner. Then it will come down to Dallas’ defense, which has needed to do less bending of late, not breaking. Matthew Stafford hasn’t played nearly as well as Romo, and the Lions' rushing attack is inconsistent.
Elliot Harrison, (7-9)
Dal_medium 30-20 Dallas right guard Zack Martin isn't going to the Pro Bowl on reputation. After all, he's a rookie -- he has no reputation. Plain and simple: Dude can play. He's ready for Suh. Center Travis Frederick will lend a helping hand -- he might be almost as nasty as Suh on the inside. And with Nick Fairley looking unlikely to play, the Cowboys will be able to control Detroit's ferocious front. DeMarco Murray will not be shut down all game. Even if it's tough sledding for a while, the Cowboys have proven time and again they will not go away from the run. They are committed. And on that note, will Matthew Stafford commit costly turnovers, or miss some of the throws he missed last Sunday? The best quarterback on the Jerryworld turf this Sunday wears blue and white, and it's not Honolulu blue.
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (7-9)
Dal_medium 28-20 I’m just not convinced the Lions can put enough points on the board, even if Melton’s absence means Matthew Stafford will have more time to pass. Stafford completed only 20 of 41 passes last week against the Packers, and the Cowboys will have a big advantage at quarterback with Tony Romo running the offense. That will be the difference.
Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas (- -)
Dal_medium 27-20 The Cowboys are the fifth-best scoring offense, averaging 29.2 points per game. They scored 165 points in December and had scores on 26 of 44 drives when you take out two kneeldown series. They have scored at least 38 points in each of their last four games. They won’t get that many Sunday, but they’ll get enough to advance to the divisional round.
Chris Schulz, TSN (- -)
Dal_medium - - Sometimes football is a very simple game. If Detroit overloads the line of scrimmage to contain and limit DeMarco Murray, they are taking a risk and the risk is Dez Bryant. There are few players, if any, that can contain or limit his inevitable success in 1-on-1. Can Dallas be beaten right in AT&T stadium? Yes, they can. Every now and then, they give up the big play at the wrong time. But of the eight teams in this year's wild card playoff round, the Cowboys are playing their best football right now.

Our selection of pick 'em panels is just a decisive, coming down strongly in favor of the Cowboys:

Site Cowboys Lions Cowboys Season
Pick Accuracy
USA Today 7 0 .661 (76-39)
NFL Around The League 3 2 .600 (48-32)
Foxsports 7 0 .593 (35-24)
Dallas Morning News 9 0 .588 (80-56)
ESPN 13 0 .576 (118-87)
Yahoosports 1 1 .563 (18-14)
CBSSports 7 1 .562 (73-57)
SB Nation 6 1 .549 (62-51)
Pro Football Focus 7 1 .500 (65-65)
Total 60 6 .575 (575-425)

Expectations clearly are for a Cowboys win, and judging by the projected scores, that win must be a decisive win. 98% of the participants in our Playoff Pick 'Em 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?


Get your picks in for the BTB Playoff Pick 'em

Like we did during our Pick 256 Challenge during the regular season, we're going to ask you to pick the straight up winners for each playoff weekend all the way through to the Super Bowl. And to spice things up, we're using a Confidence Points scoring system where you have to give each game you pick a specific point value based on how strongly you feel about the accuracy of your selection.

You have until kickoff on Saturday to submit your picks, but why wait until the last second? Here's the link to the entry form.

If the link above doesn't work for whatever reason, use the following alternative, which does not autofill your BTB user name into the entry form.

Alternative Playoff Pick 'Em Entry Form

We've currently logged 245 responses, 240 of which have picked the Cowboys for the win.

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