A Surprising Number of Commentators Predict a Dallas Win

As soon as the Vikings signed Brett Favre before the season started, many picked Minnesota to go to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, naysayers wondered exactly when the Cowboys would implode.

The Cowboys-Vikings game could be one for the ages.

It thus comes as somewhat of a surprise that several commentators (include some of the naysayers) have predicted a Dallas win tomorrow. At ESPN, six of the eight commentators took the Cowboys, while at the Dallas Morning News, seven of the nine staff members picked Dallas.

The two simulations are split on the game, while the Madden simulation predicts a game for the ages.

AccuScore: Minnesota 27, Dallas 24

The Vikings won 57% of the simulations on AccuScore by an average score of 27-24. The summary:

While both teams feature dynamic RBs both run defenses are playing very well in simulations. Adrian Peterson only has a 39 percent of rushing for over 75 yards but if he does the the Vikings are heavy 77 percent favorites. Felix Jones and Marion Barber only have a 38 percent chance of rushing for 80+ yards, but if they do then Dallas is the 75 percent favorite. The QB match-up is extremely close as well with Tony Romo and Brett Favre projected for 250+ yards and 2 TDs. The game could come down to which defense rushes the passer more effectively. When Dallas sacks Favre 4 or more times the Cowboys improve their chances from 41 to 58 percent. When the Vikings sack Romo 4+ times Minnesota is the 76 percent favorite.

WhatIfSports: Dallas 26, Minnesota 25

The Cowboys edged the Vikings in the WhatIfSports matchups, with Dallas winning 52.9% of the games.

While one NFC playoff game provides the biggest blowout of the weekend, the other one provides the closest game of the week. The Dallas Cowboys dominated the Philadelphia Eagles for the second straight week during the wildcard round. The Minnesota Vikings wrapped up the bye in the final week of the season and is about the only team that got a bye that didn’t take the final week of the season off. Now quarterbacks Tony Romo and Brett Favre will battle for a spot in the conference championship.

Dallas shook off its December curse and then followed suit by ending any talk of a playoff slump by decimating the Eagles. Somewhat quietly, the Cowboys matched the Saints step for step on offense, actually putting up the top mark in terms of yards per play thanks to the second-ranked rushing game and the fourth-ranked passing attack. Like the Saints, Dallas leaves a little to be desired defensively, giving up 5.2 yards per play, but they do boast one of the top 10 rushing defenses, which could be critical against Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.

Minnesota picked up Favre in the offseason and “the old gunslinger” has helped lead them back to the Divisional Playoffs. The Vikings mirror the Cowboys somewhat. Minnesota’s offense isn’t quite as prolific, but did put up nearly six yards per play thanks, somewhat surprisingly, more to Favre than to Peterson as the Vikings barely averaged four yards per carry. Defensively, Minnesota lags behind in passing, but boasts one of the best rushing defenses in the league.

Perhaps the quarterbacks will be left to “gunsling it out” in what could be the most exciting game of the weekend. Dallas pulls off the road win, but just 52.9% of the time and by just a single point, most likely setting up another exciting matchup with New Orleans in the conference finale.

Madden Simulation: Dallas 27, Minnesota 24

The Cowboys won a great comeback against the Vikings in the Madden 10 simulation.

In one of the most memorable comebacks in NFL playoff history, the Dallas Cowboys scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to shock Brett Favre and the Vikings, 27-24.

Tony Romo led the way for Dallas, completing 30 of 39 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, including a 22-yard strike to Miles Austin, and a 7-yarder to Jason Witten to tie the score in the final minutes.

Then, after a Brett Favre interception (his second of the quarter), the game was decided by the foot of Redskins castoff Shaun Suisham, who nailed the most clutch kick of his career, a 48-yarder with time expiring, to send the Cowboys to the NFC Championship Game next week.

My Guess (11-6 based on win-loss)

I made a very specific prediction last week but wasn’t very close:

The Cowboys didn’t merely slip by the Eagles last week; instead, Dallas controlled both lines of scrimmage. Moreover, the Cowboys made mistakes but still pulled out a dominant win. I think Dallas will jump out to a 21-10 lead and then hold off a late Philadelphia rally.

The closest this came to being true was that Dallas had a 17-7 lead at one point. However, the Eagles didn’t score again until they were down 34-7.

For the season:

Week: My Prediction (Actual Result)
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14 (actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)
Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City 14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)
Week 7: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17 (actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)
Week 8: Dallas 31, Seattle 17 (actual Dallas 38, Seattle 17)
Week 9: Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17 (actual: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16)
Week 10: Dallas 31, Green Bay 20 (actual: Green Bay 17, Dallas 7)
Week 11: Dallas 20, Washington 6 (actual: Dallas 7, Washington 6)
Week 12: Dallas 30, Oakland 13 (actual: Dallas 24, Oakland 7)
Week 13: Dallas 21, N.Y. Giants 12 (actual: N.Y. Giants 31, Dallas 24)
Week 14: Dallas 27, San Diego 20 (actual: San Diego 20, Dallas 17)
Week 15: New Orleans 30, Dallas 18 (actual: Dallas 24, New Orleans 17)
Week 16: Dallas 31, Washington 0 (actual: Dallas 17, Washington 0)
Week 17: Dallas 17, Philadelphia 13 (actual: Dallas 24, Philadelphia 0)
Wildcard: Dallas 24, Philadelphia 19 (actual: Dallas 34, Philadelphia 14)

This week is a tough one. The Vikings are certainly a talented team, but the Cowboys will cause a number of problems for Minnesota. I think it will be a back and forth game, and I’ll go out on a ledge and predict an overtime game (leading 35% of all Dallas fans to set up doctor’s appointments next week due to chest pains). With 7:00 left in the first overtime period, Shaun Suisham trots out on the field. Households across the South say “Oh God” in unison. But Suisham comes through, nailing the 30-yarder to send Dallas to its first NFC Championship Game since 1995.

The score:

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Dallas 24, Philadelphia 19