Cowboys-Vikings Predictions: Minnesota Nips Dallas in the Desperation Bowl

Unlike last season, Roy Williams hasn't dropped many of these this year. Hopefully, he can help Dallas against Minnesota on Sunday.

The Cowboys have only played a quarter of their schedule this year, and already they are playing in what has been dubbed the Desperation Bowl. Dallas has tended to play well under Wade Phillips when the team’s backs have been up against the wall, but with injuries (and incompetence) piling up on the offensive line, it’s not looking great.

One key to the game that is consistent among nearly everyone’s opinion:

Dallas needs to play smart football: The Cowboys have committed more fouls than the average in most categories, but not by a large number. The problem has been when they have committed the fouls. They have come at the most inopportune times — killing a drive, taking points off the scoreboard or giving the offense horrible field position. This is a relatively veteran team that should play smarter football.

Below are the predictions.

AccuScore: Minnesota 24, Dallas 23

The Vikings won 52% of the 10,000 simulations on AccuScore. According to these simulations, turnovers could play a key role in the game.

AccuScore is forecasting a close game with the Dallas Cowboys winning 47% of simulations, and the Minnesota Vikings 52% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The Dallas Cowboys commit fewer turnovers in 32% of simulations and they go on to win 77% when they take care of the ball. The Minnesota Vikings wins 67% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Tony Romo is averaging 256 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (37% chance) then he helps his team win 51%. Adrian Peterson is averaging 83 rushing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average rushing yards and at least a 1 rushing TD (37% chance) then he helps his team win 72%.

WhatIfSports: Minnesota 26, Dallas 22

The WhatIfSports simulations were even more one-sided than the AccuScore predictions, as the Vikings won 59% of the games. Randy Moss only averaged 69 receiving yards, but Adrian Peterson gained more than 100 rushing yards on average. The simulations had Felix Jones carrying the bulk of the load.

Madden Simulation: Dallas 24, Minnesota 20

At least one of the simulators had the Cowboys winning, as Dallas knocked off Minnesota on Madden.

Talk about a must-win game for both teams. Despite the Cowboys and Vikings being talked about as possible Super Bowl contenders, both have started the season 1-3. Make that 1-4 for the Vikings as Brett Favre continues to slump, throwing three interceptions in the second half to help the Cowboys come back in the final minutes for a 24-20 win.

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Just curious: when was the last time the Cowboys tried anything like this?

I realize that Mat McBriar is no Danny White in terms of athleticism, but when was the last time the Cowboys tried a fake anything?

Incidentally, that run was from the 1977 NFC Championship Game vs. Minnesota.

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After four games, Tony Romo is on pace to complete 476 passes on 696 attempts for 5,384 yards with 28 TDs and 20 interceptions. The attempts, completions, and yards would each established an NFL record. Here are the current NFL marks in those three categories:

Completions: 440 (Drew Brees, Saints, 2007)

Attempts: 691 (Drew Bledsoe, Patriots, 1994)

Yards: 5,084 (Dan Marino, Dolphins, 1984)

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Miles Austin is likewise on pace to shatter some team records. If he remained on course, he would have 124 receptions for 1896 yards. The yardage mark would break Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 set in 1995 with the 49ers. The reception mark would trail Marvin Harrison’s 143 catches in 2002 with the Colts, but Austin’s number would be the second-most in league history.

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