Dallas Cowboys (11-1) -10.5, 51.5 O/U at Detroit Lions (6-6) +10.5, Ford Field, Detroit, 1.00pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
Whatever happened to Detroit? A month after it looked for all the world like Jon Kitna’s 10 win call was nothing more than a formality, one now has to wonder whether they have even 1 win left in them this season, let alone four. They have dropped their past four games after a 6-2 start and sit precariously at 6-6 with two other NFC teams, including the team that trounced them 42-10 last week, the Minnesota Vikings. Their schedule doesn’t really get any easier, either. They meet San Diego and Green Bay away in the final 3 weeks of the season. They really have to win this game to give themselves any chance of seeing the post season, and I can’t see how we can realistically expect them to do it.
Meanwhile, their polar opposite in the NFC, Dallas is looking unstoppable. They are on a 6 game winning streak (their only loss was to New England) and the form of Terrell Owens is getting ridiculous now. He had another 100+ yard game and 1 TD (7 catches for 156 yards). Dallas chose to run him in the slot to avoid Al Harris and he loved it, carving up the Green Bay secondary all night long. He won’t need to avoid anyone in the Detroit secondary this day. Detroit gets torched on a regular basis through the air. They weren’t hurt through the air much last week, however. They had to contend with the Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor 1-2 punch. Minnesota decided to rest Peterson a little and only gave him 15 carries. Adrian decided to test out his knee with cutbacks in every direction and eclipsed the 100 yard mark with 15 yards to spare, despite limited opportunities.
The Julius Jones/Marion Barber 1-2 punch isn’t as potentially devastating as Minnesota’s version, but as has been proven time and again this season, it is a great foil for Tony Romo and the aerial attack. One entirely compliments the other and makes Dallas an extremely potent offensive force. Dallas’ defense should not be underestimated, however, despite the relative heroics of their offense. It is still the highly effective equal of last season’s version and will keep them in games when their offense loses its way.
Online Sportsbooks have installed the Cowboys as 10.5 point favorites in this game, despite them being on the road, and this is a legacy of the Lion’s poor form as much as anything. With these teams heading in opposing directions with ever increasing intensity, something pretty drastic will have to change for this to be anything other than a blood bath. It has to be said that Minnesota’s form has been irresistible lately, though, and maybe Detroit just met them at the wrong time. Dallas is coming off a landmark game for their franchise. Not only did they clinch a playoff berth last week, but they reached an 11-1 mark for the first time in their history.
It would be a no-brainer to tip Dallas to win and cover here but the wood has been amplified by the relative directions of these teams. I am not all that happy to give up 10.5 points on the road to a team on a 4 game skid with all the motivation in the world to try and turn it around. I don’t doubt that Dallas will be able to score pretty easily. I just suspect that Detroit will find the Dallas secondary slightly softer than Minnesota’s has been lately.
The Snake’s Bite: I can’t really come at either of these numbers. If I suggest we give up the points on Dallas the motivation factors will play against each other and keep this tight. But I can’t have Detroit on a promise either. There is no evidence that they have any impetus to arrest this slide against the NFC’s top ranked team. 51.5 is a whopping points total but it is about the only bet I feel comfortable with. Detroit games have eclipsed that mark two weeks in a row and Dallas and Green Bay combined for 52 points last week as well. This promises to be high scoring and if Detroit can find their passing game this could be a shoot out.