Vikings-Cowboys Predictions Roundup: Media Favors Cowboys on Sunday Night
Things are starting to get real. This is Week 10, and the stakes are getting higher and higher as the playoff picture begins to take shape. That's especially true for both the 6-3 Vikings and 5-3 Cowboys, who would both be playoff teams if the season ended today.
One of these teams will pick up a huge, statement-like victory on Sunday Night Football, and one will suffer a tough blow to their playoff odds.
Let's see who the experts like on Sunday night. Stick around to the end for Viking Maven's official prediction.
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Cowboys 24, Vikings 20
"It took all of one half of Kirk Cousins' hot streak slowing down for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to growl to FOX's Pam Oliver about getting his running backs the ball more. The strategy mostly worked, but Minnesota's offense is streaky like its quarterback and not the same without Adam Thielen on the field. Dalvin Cook has made his offensive line look better than it is all year, while Ezekiel Elliott is now running much better and gets great support. Peak DeMarcus Lawrence is also back, and Michael Bennett is already making a difference for the Cowboys' defensive line. I'd be tempted to pick the Vikings if the game were in Minnesota, but a Cowboys team that is now deeper than the opposition is a tough team to pick against."
Courtney Cronin, ESPN Vikings Reporter: Cowboys 24, Vikings 20
"Bold prediction: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott throws for three touchdowns. The Vikings' defense has allowed 66 points in Minnesota's past two road games and ranks 10th in opponent yards per play (5.2). It's the big plays and yards after the catch to be concerned with here, as Amari Cooper, Blake Jarwin and Michael Gallup demonstrated against the Giants."
Todd Archer, ESPN Cowboys Reporter: Cowboys 26, Vikings 17
"What to watch for: Kirk Cousins' history against the Cowboys is not good. He is 1-6 against his former NFC East rival, and although he has thrown at least one touchdown pass in his seven starts against them, he has been intercepted in five. The Cowboys have picked off a pass in three straight games, their longest streak since intercepting at least one pass in four consecutive games in Weeks 10-13 last season. They want to slow down the league's leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, and put this game on Cousins' arm."
Mark Craig, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Cowboys 28, Vikings 21
"Former Cowboys defensive coordinator and current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer could very well go back into Big D and upset the ‘Boys at the Jerry Dome in Sunday’s prime-time matchup. He has the team and the schemes to pull if off. But …. Some of us will have to see it to believe it. Especially now that the Vikings will be facing Ezekiel Elliott and the league’s best offensive line without giant run-stopping nose tackle Linval Joseph planted in the middle of the eighth-ranked run defense."
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Cowboys 26, Vikings 19
"The Cowboys have impressed in winning the past two, but they are playing on a short week. The Vikings, though, are playing consecutive road games after losing at Kansas City. Kirk Cousins doesn't play well in big prime-time games and I think that shows up. The Cowboys win it with their defense leading the way."
Sam Farmer, LA Times: Vikings 31, Cowboys 27
"The Cowboys are balanced and at home, and can grind it out on the ground with Ezekiel Elliott. But the Vikings are primed to bounce back after a bitter defeat at Kansas City. Kirk Cousins steps up."
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Cowboys 27, Vikings 17
"Another big game for the Vikings and Kirk Cousins. Another big opportunity to change the narrative that Cousins can’t deliver in a big spot. Another failure to get it done."
Bleacher Report: Cowboys 26, Vikings 20
"With Dak Prescott under center, the Dallas Cowboys are 4-0 against teams featuring Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Prescott has shined in prime time (the Cowboys are 14-5 in night games with Prescott at quarterback) as well as against stuff competition (he has a 105.9 passer rating against top-five scoring defenses, per NFL.com's Gil Brandt), while Cousins is essentially the opposite (6-14 in prime-time starts, and 6-29 against opponents with winning records)."
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Cowboys 31, Vikings 20
"The Cowboys are a great home team in big games. The Vikings are a bad road team in big games. Dallas is coming off a short week, but Minnesota might run into the same defensive problems it had in Kansas City, only with a few more offensive limitations around Kirk Cousins. Dak Prescott will succeed stretching the field, and Ezekiel Elliott will help with several chunk runs. Cousins will succumb to the Cowboys' pass rush and coverage in crunch time."
Viking Maven's Prediction: Cowboys 34, Vikings 13
I wish I had Sam Farmer's optimism about Cousins stepping up and delivering in this game. Unfortunately, for all the reasons others have laid out above, I can't take the Vikings in this game. Frankly, I don't even think it'll be close. With no Adam Thielen, the Vikings offense will struggle to move the ball and Cousins will turn it over at least twice. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings defense has been shaky and is now facing the best offense in the league. With no Linval Joseph, Zeke Elliott will have a monster day. I hope I'm wrong, but I think this one gets ugly.