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Published on 01/17/2010 at Sun Jan 17 11:12.
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Previewing, breaking down, and picking the winners of this weekend’s playoff action. Your picks and game discussion in the comments.

Cowboys (11-5) at Vikings (12-4)
11:00 a.m. MT
The Line: Vikings by 2.5

The Story: Quarterback Tony Romo and coach Wade Phillips are the two most popular dudes in Texas these days, a far cry from the previous three January’s, where they were the least popular.  That’s because the two won their first career playoff games while delivering the Dallas Cowboys‘ first playoff win in 13 years.  Speaking of first playoff wins, Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress will be looking for his. 

The Breakdown: Can the Vikings flip the proverbial switch after their bye and get their momentum back?  That will be one of the big questions today, since they’re playing the hottest team in the NFC in these Cowboys.  What’s interesting, though, is how similarly these teams are built.  The offensive lines are two of the biggest and most physical in the league.  Their defenses each feature a game-changing pass rushing specialist, in DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen respectively.  The pressure will be on Minnesota’s Briant McKinnie and Dallas’ Flozell Adams — literally and figuratively — to give their quarterbacks time.  Both teams run the West Coast offense.   And both signal callers have a propensity for collapsing in the playoffs… all the breakdown in the world won’t be enough to tell the tale of this game if either shows signs of struggles.

The Pick: I wrestled with this pick all week.  I’m going to presume both Favre and Romo play an equal game — that won’t happen, but it’s the only way to put some logic behind this pick — and look beyond predicting turnovers and game-changing plays.  I like the Cowboys’ running game better than the Vikings’, who got away from Adrian Peterson as the year went along, but I like the Vikings’ defense a little better than the Cowboys.  Both are ticky-tack preferences, and so the final edge to gauge is momentum vs. home field advantage.  I’ll take home field.  23-21, Vikings.

  • DantePakistan

    I really don't like the Cowboys, that is all.

  • mikebirty

    Karl Paymah, Hamza Abdullah and Domonique Foxworth all made the play-offs, what's up with that?

  • Kyle

    What IS up with that? There are a lot of things I miss about Shanahan. His lack of patience with younger players isn't one of them.

  • Joe

    So far all the playoff games have sucked, expect for the AZ and Green Bay game. The rest of them have been blowouts and just straight up lame. I cant wait to watch the Vikes head down to NO. I want the Saints to destroy the vikings. I also hope that some how and some way, the Jets beat the Dolts. Or just have Indy handle the Dolts.

  • mikebirty

    Although Fox would probably be the only one who would get a few snaps in the current secondary.

  • JimmyBallgame

    Wow…do we have a long ways to go with our revamped see the Vikes D today?

    Where nowhere near that physical…

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