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Divisional Playoffs: Cowboys vs Vikings NFL Predictions

NFC Divisional Playoff Betting – Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings

“You live by the gunslinger, then you die by the gunslinger.”

That’s the adage that most people point to as an excuse for when guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler fall short. Yet no quarterback in the modern era has epitomized that trait more than Brett Favre. At 12-4 SU, the Vikings finished with the second-best record in the NFC.

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Knocking on the Vikings’ doorstep is another young gunslinger named Tony Romo, whose Dallas Cowboys have suddenly found some mojo in the months of December and January.

Both Tony Romo and Brett Favre haven’t been the most bankable players late in the season, but Romo has somehow shaken the ghosts of playoffs past to play like the quarterback we all expected him to be. At 4-1 ATS/SU in their last 5 games, the Cowboys are on a serious hot streak. The problem is that they’re just 1-5 SU/ATS when playing Minnesota overall. In the Metrodome, they’re just 1-4 ATS.

That leaves us with Brett Favre who also ended the season on personal high notes throwing for 1,328 yards in his last five games, with 9 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. Of course, the Vikings went just 2-3 SU in those games but the satisfying part about that streak is that they won both of their home games decisively. In fact, Minnesota has been one of the tougher teams to beat in their own building this year. The Vikings are 4-0-1 ATS and 5-0 SU in their past 5 home stands.

So what this game comes to is how well you really think Dallas’s offense can produce against Minnesota’s 10th ranked defense (19.5 points allowed per game). Everyone seems to be in love with Felix Jones, but I still see the former Razorback as an outside burner who can’t bust up between tackles. In truth, that’s the only way you can beat the ground defense of Minnesota and even then it’s a tough task. At home, there is no better rushing defense in the league. The Vikings give up just 64.4 rush yards per game in the Metrodome.

That brings up the injury to Marion Barber who simply isn’t playing like himself lately. A swollen bursa sac in his knee has been bothering him all year, and while Jones and Taster’s Choice are solid backups they’re not the premier banger that Barber is when playing at full health. If Dallas is moronic enough to try and run the ball on Minnesota in the first quarter, Jared Allen and company are going to suck the wind right out of their sails. And that’s when things get really bad. Football Picks

Dallas Cowboys (11-5) vs. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
Sunday, January 17th — Metrodome, St. Paul — 1:00pm EST
NFL Betting Line: Minnesota -2.5 (45.5)

Dallas is still a streaky team. They win games when they have the majority of the momentum, and they still struggle when it comes to winning tight games. They’re as hot as stink right now, but don’t forget that this is also a team that lost 24-31 to the Giants and 17-20 to the Chargers not too long ago.

At the end of the day, my problem with Dallas is that they can’t win close games and they certainly don’t play well when all cylinders aren’t firing like nuclear powered pistons. Romo is still a guy who shines when his team is playing at full throttle, but he’s also a quarterback who struggles when things like dim.

It doesn’t get dimmer than watching Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson blow up a 3-4 defense, albeit perhaps the best 3-4 defense in the league. Peterson’s numbers haven’t been as epic as we’d hope, but against 3-4 defenses, the former Sooner performs exceptionally. Against Cleveland he piled up 180 yards and 3 touchdowns, and 143 yards against Baltimore. In two games against the division rival Packers, Peterson munched up 152 yards and notched two touchdowns.

Before you go selling Favre and Peterson down the river, remember that this is a proven warrior in the playoffs and a runner who excels at battling 3-4 defenses like the ones the Cowboys trot out. I see this game going south as soon as Jared Allen puts his stamp on it and disrupts Romo’s timing and shuts down a rushing game that won’t be able to get revved up properly.

It’s been a nice turn around for Dallas, but beating Minnesota is a long shot. The Cowboys may live by a gunslinger, but they will die by the hands of another as Brett Favre seizes control of this game and makes the over zealous Dallas secondary pay.

Free Pick: Minnesota -2.5 (UNDER)

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Comments

Comments

  1. Yesterday’s results should provide a lesson for today’s games. Minnesota despite a few stumbles down the stretch is a very good team. Dallas is a good team that elevated their game against some lesser opponents. Until Romo winsa game that really means something, I always go with a veteran like Favre.

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