Most Favor the Cowboys to Beat Carolina
The Cowboys head into Monday night’s game with Carolina as heavy favorites. Most experts predict a Dallas win, and many think that Dallas will cover the 9.5-point spread.
The last time that Dallas faced Carolina was in week 16 of the 2007 season. The Cowboys’ 20-13 win over the Panthers helped Dallas to keep pace for home-field advantage in the 2007 playoffs (a big deal at the time). The last time the Cowboys hosted the Panthers was in 2003, when Dallas pulled off a 24-20 win that guaranteed that Dallas would finish with at least a .500 record. The win prompted Bill Parcells to note that nobody could call the Cowboys losers any more (of course, Dallas laid an egg in a playoff loss to the Panthers later that season…).
Dallas Morning News
All of the Dallas Morning News staff picked the Cowboys to win.
Rick Gosselin: Dallas
Tim Cowlishaw: Dallas
Kevin Sherrington: Dallas
Todd Archer: Dallas
David Moore: Dallas
The Star-Telegram staff went a little bit further and suggested scores for the game:
Charean Williams: Cowboys 31, Panthers 20
Jeff Caplan: Cowboys 31, Panthers 18
Jim Reeves: Cowboys 34, Panthers 17
Clarence E. Hill Jr.: Cowboys 28, Panthers 10
Randy Galloway: Cowboys 27, Panthers 14
Gil LeBreton: Cowboys 27, Panthers 17
Not quite a sweep, as Will Allen took the Panthers. The rest of the ESPN staff took Dallas.
Will Allen: Carolina
Mike Golic: Dallas
Merrill Hoge: Dallas
Ron Jaworski: Dallas
Chris Mortensen: Dallas
Adam Schefter: Dallas
Mark Schlereth: Dallas
Seth Wickersham: Dallas
Accuscore: Dallas 27, Carolina 21
Dallas won 66% of Accuscore’s simulations by an average score of 27-21.
The Cowboys are better off being a run first offense, even if Marion
Barber is hurt in Week 3. In simulations where Tony Romo has over 250
passing yards the Cowboys actually win 62 percent, less than they do
when he has under 250 yards. Dallas leads the league with 184 rushing
yards per game. For the Panthers to win they need to hold the Cowboys
to under 120 rushing yards. In these simulations, the Panthers win 46
percent, up from 32 overall. The Cowboys defense has no interceptions
this season. If Jake Delhomme has no more than 1 INT their chances
improve to 39 percent, but if he has 2+ INTs the Panthers chances drop
to just 13 percent.
The Cowboys would score more than 30 points for the third consecutive game if the Madden simulation is accurate.
Tony Romo bounced back from his error-filled Sunday night fiasco to
throw three touchdowns as the passing attack helps Dallas squash the
Jake Delhomme completed only 12 passes for 142 yards while adding
another interception to his ever-escalating total. Carolina’s ground
game looked strong, with Williams rushing for 102 yards and Steve Smith
taking an end-around 65 yards for a score, but it just wasn’t enough as
Carolina continues their slide toward the bottom of the power rankings.
Meanwhile, Felix Jones electrified fans with 55 yards rushing,
including a crazy touchdown that saw him reverse field then hurdle a
tackler for one of the more exciting five-yard scores in recent memory.
The Cowboys had their way in the WhatIfSports simulations, winning 76.1 percent of the games. Tony Romo only averaged 190.2 yards in these simulations, with 1.3 touchdowns and 1.1 interceptions per game.
My Guess (2-0 this season)
Last week, I predicted a three-point (17-14) Dallas loss, though for the wrong reasons.
I think that the Giants game will be fairly low scoring. The Giants
have tended to start better than the Cowboys, and given how slow the
Cowboys were during the first half against Tampa Bay, I suspect that
the Giants will take an early lead. Dallas will stay in the game but
will struggle keeping the New York offense off the field. The Cowboys
will come back, but this comeback will end up just short.
Dallas came back several times against the Giants, but it was not a matter of the Dallas comeback falling short. Instead, the Cowboys defense could not stop Eli Manning when it mattered.
The pressure is on Dallas this week, but I think they will come through. Tony Romo will get Roy Williams and Jason Witten involved early, and then the team can rely on its running backs. Even without Marion Barber, the Cowboys will control most of the game on the ground. Carolina will score a couple of late touchdowns to make the game look closer than it will actually be.
My score is (if you can’t see the image, click here):
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