Dallas Cowboys: The Four Quarters (Week 8 Edition)

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FOURTH QUARTER
Jekyll and Hyde…

Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys free safety Barry Church (42) and cornerback Brandon Carr (39) react as the San Diego Chargers celebrate a touchdown by Chargers tight end Antonio Gates at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

If Bush is Detroit’s barometer of success, the Dallas defense is the same for the Cowboys.  In the four best games that the defense has played, Dallas is 3-1 and the numbers are amazing.  The gang is holding teams to 10.8 points per game.  Opponents are managing only 201 yards per game in the air and a minute 4.4 yards per play.  Dallas is also getting off the field on third downs, allowing only a 28% success rate on the crucial down.  Now compare those numbers to three games they were atrocious in which the Cowboys are only 1-2.  37.3 points per game allowed.  412 yards passing PER GAME and 7.4 yards per play with an opponent’s success rate of 56% on third down.  The only win in that bunch was the Giant (pun intended) meltdown in Week 1 when New York turned the ball over six times.

Unless Dallas plans to get another six turnovers on Sunday or Tony Romo has another epic game like he did three weeks ago, Dallas will need to be more reliable defensively.  The evidence is there that this is a possibility and the defense has been much improved since the 51 point debacle against Denver.  What cannot happen Sunday is for the Cowboys to revert back to the ways that were so astronomically bad or else a 4-4 record will be the only thing they take home with them on this trip.

THE PREDICTION:  Cowboys 34, Lions 28

The last three weeks have been as bad as it could possibly get for a picks prognosticator like myself.  After averaging almost nine wins per week over the first month of the season, October cannot end soon enough.  From weeks 5-8, I have a total of 15 wins and am now eight games under .500.  This season has been abnormal on the betting front which helps explain my dismal picks to some degree.  Favorites are 59-39 on the year.  Usually there is a much closer balance between favorites and underdogs but this year, not so much.  This week gives us four games that the favorite is such by double-digits.  Will the big favorites continue the trend?  Here is this week’s picks.

LAST WEEK 4-11 (.267)
SEASON RECORD 50-58 (.463)
THIS WEEK 1-0 (1.000)

-15 San Francisco over JACKSONVILLE
+3 Dallas over DETROIT
-6 PHILADELPHIA over N.Y. Giants
-7 KANSAS CITY over Cleveland
-11 NEW ORLEANS over Buffalo
-6.5 NEW ENGLAND over Miami
+5.5 N.Y. Jets over Cincinnati
-2.5 Pittsburgh over OAKLAND
+12 Washington over DENVER
+3 Atlanta over ARIZONA
+8.5 MINNESOTA over Green Bay
-11 Seattle over ST. LOUIS

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