Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week 7 Pick: Upset

Despite there being a couple of candidates for Upset Specials this week (anyone think the Raiders can do it again?), the real Upset of the Week was just too dang easy, and it is:

Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys

Over/Under: 47 1/2
Line: Cowboys by 4

My Thoughts:
No way. No WAY the Cowboys deserve to be favored against the Falcons! I don't care if they're at home (referred to in some places as the North Texas Football Cathedral, here as the "Palace in Dallas"), the Falcons have more talent, are better coached, run by a sane owner, and are simply the better team.

Ever since Dallas lost to the Giants in Week 2, things seem to have come apart for them. They lost to Denver (who is better than I thought, but not as good as their record indicates) and would have lost to Kansas City but for the late-game heroics of Miles Austin. I wouldn't expect to see Austin do something like that again (ever, but definitely this season), especially against a Falcons secondary that is a lot better than KC's. Chevis Jackson and Chris Houston are some of my favorite corners not named Webster or Asomugha, and both have more than enough speed to keep up with Roy Williams (probably, rib injury) and Austin. Mike Peterson brings a ton of leadership and credibility to the Falcons' LB corps, and they will more than handle and injured Marion Barber, an injury prone Felix Jones, and a good-not-great Tashard Choice. The Cowboys will be made one dimensional, and OC Jason Garrett will want to show his offense can outgun the Falcons playmakers. Sorry, Jay, they can't.

Atlanta's offense has the makings of an elite ball-moving, point-scoring group on par with the Saints, Colts, and Patriots. They've shown that they can destroy good teams (San Fran Week 5), and find ways to win against tough teams (Chicago, Week 6). Dallas' defense qualifies as neither. Demarcus Ware notwithstanding, there is no one on the Cowboys' defense that should intimidate the dynamic Falcons. If Sam Baker can hold up in pass protection, Matt Ryan will efficiently pick apart the overconfident Cowboys. Expect Tony Gonzalez to find a ton of openings in the middle of the field against Dallas' coverage-challenged linebackers and safeties. Roddy White is a bona fide star, and should make life very difficult for Terrence Newman, who doesn't have the size to win that match-up often.

In the end, I just think the Falcons' maturity and talent will be too much for the overrated, easily rattled Cowboys. The Falcons won't just cover, they'll win outright. Give me Atlanta getting 4 on the road for a solid win.

Falcons 30
Cowboys 24


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