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NFL Experts Pick Cowboys Over Browns But Will Game Be Closer Than Many Think?

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We look at nine expert predictions for the Sunday and wonder whether the Cowboys can beat the spread against the Browns.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

97% of the experts and algorithms tallied by NFLPickwatch.com favor the 6-1 Cowboys over the 0-8 Browns on Sunday, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Our tally of 10 different power rankings earlier this week showed the Cowboys average a rank of 2.2, while the Browns were ranked an average of 31.8.

You'd think that such a difference would make this a blowout game, but the line for the game only favors the Cowboys by a touchdown.

Our nine-man panel of experts is unanimous in picking the Cowboys for the win, but not all of them have the Cowboys covering the spread.

Name
Pick Score Comment
David Steele, Sporting News (6-1)
Dal_medium 30-23 An underrated test for the evolution of Dak Prescott: avoiding taking the woeful Browns and their horrendous defense for granted, after an emotional comeback, overcome-the-adversity, prime-time win. Once again, Ezekiel Elliott can take the pressure off everybody on the Cowboys. There’s nothing about this game that seems winnable for the Browns.
Sam Farmer, LA Times (5-2)
Dal_medium 23-20 The Browns are playing hard. They just aren't very good and have no consistency at quarterback. Even though the Cowboys will win, this game will be closer than many think.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (5-2)
Dal_medium 27-15 The last time these two teams met, it took OT to settle the score. Dallas prevailed on a Dan Bailey field goal. I have no recollection of this game. That's true of most of Brandon Weeden's starts in Cleveland. Tony Romo led a victory there in 2008. And in 1991, Bill Belichick began his head-coaching career with a loss to the visiting Cowboys. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant are all going to be too much for the Browns this Sunday. For Cleveland to have a chance, Terrelle Pryor must go nuts. And the Browns' run defense must halt Zeke. Unfortunately, Cleveland allows 4.8 yards per carry, while Elliott averages 5 per pop. Oy. Oh yeah: Jamie Collins' presence has been accounted for -- originally, I did have Dallas scoring 28.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (4-3)
Dal_medium 27-17 The Cowboys are riding high, while the Browns still haven’t won yet. But coming off a big division game against the Eagles, the Cowboys have to be careful of a letdown. The Browns fight every week. They will here, but it won’t be enough.
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (4-3)
Dal_medium 30-17 The Browns aren’t playing as badly as their 0-8 record suggests. But they’re not playing well enough to beat a good team like the Cowboys, either.
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report (4-3)
Dal_medium 28-17 It’s the "Great Wall of Dallas," for crying out loud. It should be able to handle the 31st-ranked rushing defense with ease. If Cleveland sells out to stop the run, it’s not like Tyron Smith and Zack Martin can’t handle pass protection. They’re Pro Bowlers for a reason. Run-blitz Ezekiel Elliott and it’s Dez Bryant over the top. Sit back in zone and it’s Ezekiel Elliott moving the chains. This Browns team will wear down like everyone else. It’s not a fair fight.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (4-3)
Dal_medium 28-20 Cowboys have won six in a row since a Week 1 loss and have risen to second Super Bowl favorites, after only New England. Browns are league’s last remaining winless squad - as if Clevelanders weren’t depressed enough mourning the Indians’ Game 7 loss. Should be a rout, yet I sense a fight from Earthtones. Quick aside: Imagine being LB Jamie Collins, traded this week from Pats to Browns? From best team to worst? He must be dizzy from the fall.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article112431962.html#storylink=cpy
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (4-3)
Dal_medium 20-16 I’ll be on the sideline for NFL on FOX for this one and am curious to see how the Cowboys respond to their big Sunday night win over Philly. Is this a classic letdown game for a team that is overlooking its struggling opponent? Or is this Cowboys team just too young and too competitive to even know to overlook anyone? I’ll go with the latter. Dallas can make up for any defensive shortcomings, injuries to the defensive backfield or road woes with that running game. Expect Zeke Elliott to get going early and often and for this one to be lower scoring than you’d envision.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (2-5)
Dal_medium 34-20 Trap game alert for the Cowboys, who suddenly are good enough to have trap games. They’ll avoid stepping in this one.

The Cowboys haven't "lost" once against the spread this season, going 6-0-1 through the first seven games. The Cowboys kicked off the season with a push against the Giants, and are 6-0 against the spread since.

Can they extend that to 7-0 on Sunday?