Everybody knows that the Patriots will beat the Cowboys on Sunday. At least that's what our selection of experts believe, as they unanimously favor New England - and most of them by a wide margin.
In fact, the mere suggestion that the Cowboys could come away with an upset win draws derisive sneers even from many Cowboys fans, let alone the non-Cowboys fans.
But the accuracy of the experts in predicting the outcome of Cowboys games has been spotty at best so far this season. Over four games, the pick 'em panels we regularly monitor have a 161-132 record (.549) of accurately predicting Cowboys games. You could flip a coin and arrive at about the same result.
Upsets happen every week in the NFL, why not on Sunday against the Patriots? And if not an upset, perhaps a close game? The Las Vegas Sun likes the Cowboys' chances of at least keeping the game close.
Speaking of contrarian home-underdog plays, it’s often games that everyone considers a lock that play out the other way. Brandon Weeden hasn’t performed as poorly as expected — his 76 percent completion rate and 9.3 yards per pass attempt are higher than Romo’s marks this season — and should at least keep Dallas within backdoor covering range late.
The published opinions polled below leave no doubt whatsoever about the outcome of the game.
|Name (Cowboys Accuracy)
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (3-1)
||38-21||Brady will torch the Cowboys linebackers and safeties going to Gronk. The underneath stuff will be there all day. Dallas' best bet is to run Joseph Randle and Run DMC 40 times. Keep the football away from Brady.|
Sam Farmer, LA Times (2-2)
||35-21||The Cowboys are doing the best they can with their MASH unit of a team, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick knows how to exploit an opponent's weaknesses. This could have been a marquee game with Tony Romo healthy.|
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (2-2)
||44-20||It was supposed to be Tony Romo vs. Jimmy Garappolo. Instead, it’s Brandon Weeden vs. Tom Brady. They’re gonna need a bigger scoreboard.|
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (2-2)
||38-14||Brandon Weeden isn’t playing badly at all in relief of Tony Romo, but the Cowboys haven’t been able to win with him at quarterback. And they won’t win Sunday, with the best team in the NFL coming to town. This one could get ugly for Big D.|
David Steele, Sporting News (2-2)
||37-20||The Patriots come to town 3-0, leading the NFL in scoring and yards per game and with Tom Brady very much playing … his fourth straight game. Getting Greg Hardy back from suspension could help the Cowboys on defense. It won't help enough.|
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (2-2)
||28-24||This probably would have been our Game of the Week if the ’Boys had Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for a fighting chance. But they don’t, and Bill Belichick’s Pats are 11-4 after byes, and Brandon Weeden won’t outscore Tom Brady. Drew Brees torched Dallas’ secondary last week. You think Brady won’t? But Cows get Greg Hardy back from suspension to try to bother Brady and should keep it respectably close.|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (2-2)
||37-17||The Cowboys have major injury issues. Without Tony Romo, they won't be able to keep up with Tom Brady and the New England offense. The Patriots are off a bye, and they will play like it. New England wins big.|
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (1-3)
||35-17||This one lost a bit of its luster with Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Lance Dunbar all out, but there's some added interest with the return of Greg Hardy. Randy Gregory might go, too, and Sean Lee could be out there. The Patriots have had simply too much success, and too much time to prepare coming off a bye week, for me to have any real concerns about them, though.|
Including the table above and the table below, 80 people weighed in with their opinion on who would win Sunday's game. Jordan Raanan of NJ.com and Marc Sessler of NFL.com are the only ones to have picked the Cowboys. Monster bragging rights await them if the Cowboys should win.
|NFL Around The League||1
|Dallas Morning News||0
78 out of 80 pundits agree that the Cowboys have no chance on Sunday. Do you?
Or is it "any given Sunday" for every team in the league except Dallas?