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Cowboys @ Vikings Expert Picks: More Smiles For The Cowboys Tonight?

A sampling of picks made for today's Cowboys @ Vikings suggets a closer game than many Cowboys fans may expect.

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Cowboys are on a 10-game winning streak, while the Vikings have lost five of their last six.

You'd think that would make for a fairly lopsided game, but the Vegas oddsmakers see nothing lopsided about this game and favor the Cowboys by just 3.5 points tonight.

And even our panel of pigskin pundits is cautious about tonight's game, as only six of the 10 panelists like the Cowboys for the win.

Pick Score Comment
David Steele, Sporting News (10-1)
Dal_medium 29-22 Dak Prescott’s numbers in five road games in his rookie season: 10 touchdown passes, one interception, 119.5 passer rating. That’s insane. So’s this: he hasn't thrown a pick in the four games since he threw one in the comeback overtime win over the Eagles. By contrast, Sam Bradford threw one against the Lions on Thanksgiving that cost the Vikings the game.
Sam Farmer, LA Times (9-2)
Dal_medium 24-20 This might be Dak Prescott’s best test, especially with the game being on the road. The Cowboys are on a roll, though, and the Vikings are going to have a tough time keeping pace on offense.
Elliot Harrison, (9-2)
Dal_medium 29-21 The Cowboys win their 11th in a row, extending a franchise record while putting them further in the driver's seat for home-field advantage in the NFC. Ezekiel Elliott will find this Vikings front almost as challenging to run on as the Ravens' unit was, but the Minnesota defense needs help from a punchless offense that refuses to go downfield. If safety Barry Church is out for the Cowboys again, that should at least help Sam Bradford test the waters. The Vikings quarterback has impressed with a 134.2 passer rating on throws that travel at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. Super cool, except he never attempts passes that travel at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage any more.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (7-4)
Dal_medium 33-20 There are several Americans who showed up to work feeling great on Monday. Long break. No travel issues. Ate well. Friends and family were all in town. Maybe a Turkey Trot or a backyard pigskin game on Thursday. For others, it was awful. Traffic. Delayed flights. An ex-girlfriend showing up at the neighborhood bar with a new fiance. The former is the Cowboys. The latter is the Vikings. Watching this Minnesota run game over the past 12 weeks, I’m not sure how you shake it. A bad Thanksgiving can easily bleed into Christmas and New Year’s. Dallas hasn’t lost a step since this thing got going in Week 2. It won’t stop now.
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report (7-4)
Min_medium 19-17 Xavier Rhodes has erased the NFL’s top receivers one by one this season. I see no reason why that level of play would drop off against Dez Bryant.

With No. 88 out of the picture, coach Mike Zimmer can open up his defensive playbook. Prescott hasn’t faced a heavy pressure package yet; that will change this week. And Zimmer’s D-line has the big bodies to limit Ezekiel Elliott’s damage.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (7-4)
Min_medium 20-17 Both teams played last Thursday, so they will be rested. The Vikings have lost five of six, while the Cowboys have won 10 straight. This will be a tough one to get 11. I think the Vikings, who are playoff desperate, slow the run game and pull off the upset.
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (7-4)
Dal_medium 24-16 The Vikings were the NFL’s last undefeated team this season. After Thursday night, they’ll be a .500 team.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (7-4)
Min_medium - - NFL Week 13 goes off on a majestic catapult with a matchup of Game of the Week heft — and with an upset! Dallas can be first team to clinch a playoff spot, but won’t. The way-hot Cowboys are plainly due a stumble, and the far-more-desperate Vikings, at home, are equipped to make it happen. Minnesota’s defense is one of the very few good enough to counter Dallas’ big offense and penetrate that excellent Cowboys O-line, and Vikes coach Mike Zimmer, the former ’Boys defensive chief, is more able than most to make that happen. Also expect a sonic-loud, bigger-than typical home field edge for the Purples, who’ll also get a needed boost on offese with the expected return of top receiver Stefon Diggs. A key will be Vikes’ banged-up offensive line giving Sam Bradford time to operate, but I believe this game will swing when Bradford is on the sideline admiring how his defense is able to neutralize dynamic super-rooks Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Vikes’ D will force a couple of turnovers or at least one huge one that turns the game.

Read more here:
Chris Burke, (6-5)
Dal_medium 23-17
Nothing has rattled the Cowboys yet this season, so a mid-week, prime-time game on the road shouldn’t be a problem. Both teams had the full week to prepare, thanks to their Thanksgiving contests.

The Vikings should be able to move the ball on the Dallas defense, but again it may look a lot like last week’s trip to Detroit—a nickel-and-dime approach predicated on short passes. Can their offensive line hold up well enough to maintain those drives the length of the field? Can they cash in with touchdowns inside the red zone?

They’ll need to do both, because their defense will have its hands full. While Minnesota still boasts an excellent defense, it has been more fallible since the Week 6 bye, particularly against the run. If Elliott & Co., establish the tone early, it will be very difficult for the Vikings to swing it back the other direction.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (5-6)
Min_medium 24-20 If the Vikings don’t win this one, their chances of qualifying for the postseason, where they’d eventually be blown out, drop considerably. With voice of the Vikings (as well as PA and Florio podcast cohort) Paul Allen convinced the home team will win, I’ll humor him on this one. Especially since, if he’s wrong, I’ll have a tangible reason for reminding him of it on a regular basis, indefinitely. Besides, the Cowboys may now assume that they’re facing the likes of the Browns, 49ers, and Bears again, given the absence of coach Mike Zimmer.

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