Atlanta Falcons Vs. Dallas Cowboys
Chase Irle: The Falcons come off there three-game road trip to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This will be a game many people circle on their schedule at the beginning of the season, but I will tell you right now, I believe the Cowboys fall off a cliff this season.
That is not to say I do not think they will be Super Bowl contenders soon, but with the Ezekiel Elliott suspension and a second year quarterback that is bound for some regression, the Cowboys are not going to be 13-3 again and I doubt they even make the playoffs.
That being said, I do not think this game will be very close either. The Cowboys defense is still a mess, no matter what anyone tells you. The Falcons will be able put up at least 30 points, in large part due to a huge game from last year’s MVP Matt Ryan. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman should also be heavy contributors on the ground against a suspect run defense.
On defense, the obvious key to stopping the Cowboys starts with stopping Elliot, who will be as fresh as any back in the league after his six game suspension. I do not think the Cowboys line is as dominant as it has been in years past, but they are still going to be a handful for this Falcons defense. Atlanta’s defensive line should be up to the task though. There is so much added depth there this season, and I really cannot see the Cowboys running up and down the field on Atlanta.
I see the Falcons forcing Dak to make a lot of plays because of the way they can score as well as their ability up front to prevent Elliot from taking over the game. Prescott is not an elite level quarterback yet and will not be able to keep up with Matt Ryan and this high powered offense as they return home.
Prediction: Falcons 42, Cowboys 27
Michael Arkin: In a game that could possibly feature the two best teams in the NFC, this matchup could have a lot on the line in Atlanta. The Cowboys come to town, and this game will be broadcasted on Sunday Night on NBC. Both teams are playing in two very tough divisions, and as the season begins to come to an end, this one may have major playoff implications.
Ezekial Elliot will be suspended for a maximum of six games this season, and he will be back for the game against the Falcons. I believe that is a disadvantage for Atlanta, as Elliot will not have the ware and tear on his body for six games compared to if he played the full season. Atlanta’s defense will not only have to contain Elliot in this matchup, but they have to face one of the best offensive lines in football.
Led by left tackle Tyron Smith and center Alex Frederick, the Cowboys bolster a very intimidating line. The Falcons signed a highly-coveted free agent in Dontari Poe in order to find ways to penetrate gaps and create opportunities for himself and his teammates around. Him and Grady Jarrett will play key roles in shedding blockers and holding blockers to where Elliot and the Cowboys backfield can’t find any open holes. That being said, Vic Beasley will also have his hands full, as I expect the Cowboys will try to run towards his side of the field. Beasley is a disruptive pass-rusher, but he will need to make sure to set the edge and not overrun rushing plays.
The Cowboys have an offense that can play with the best of teams. The problem with Dallas is their defense, and that is a major issue when facing the Falcons. Matt Ryan should be able to have an ample amount of opportunities against the weak secondary Dallas has, but I see Devonta Freeman having an astronomical game. Remember two years ago when Freeman had his breakout game with 141 rushing yards and three touchdowns? That is the type of game I can see Freeman having again.
The Falcons will win this game, and will have to refocus come next week, as they will head into CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.
Prediction: Falcons 38, Cowboys 24