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NFL Picks Week 9: Cowboys vs. Falcons

The odds makers may not agree, but Dallas has a real chance of pulling off the shocking upset on Sunday night.

I'm going to let you all know a little secret -- the Falcons aren't that good. This is a team that is 7-0, but it's also a team that nearly lost to a decent but far from good Carolina Panthers team at home. Their defensive personnel was the big question entering the season, but Mike Nolan's scheme has seemingly transformed them. I still get the sense that the more tape gets out on them, the more holes will be found.

Offensively, I'm still not sold on Matt Ryan, and this team doesn't run the ball terribly well -- which is good for the Sean Lee-less Cowboys. It'll be a test for the guys on the corners with Roddy White and Julio Jones, but with Anthony Spencer back, he and DeMarcus Ware should be able to limit Ryan's time to pick through the secondary. The Cowboys' line has improved dramatically, and Romo will have a standard bounce-back game to remind everyone of his fluctuating effectiveness.

The pick: Cowboys 31, Falcons 21.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.