One of the most interesting match ups that week six of the 2012 NFL season presents to us is the one between the 4-1 Baltimore Ravens and the 2-2 Dallas Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. The Cowboys enter the game coming off of a much needed bye week while the Ravens struggled offensively last week versus the Kansas City Chiefs in a 9-6 victory. This contest may just come down to which ever offense can back on track while minimizing turnovers in the process.
Baltimore currently ranks eighth in the NFL in both offensive yards gained per game (398.8 yards) and passing yards gained per game (281.2 yards), 13th in rushing yards gained per game (117.6 yards) and 10th in points scored per game (26 points) while the Dallas defense ranks fourth in offensive yards allowed per game (277.5 yards), first in passing yards allowed per game (169.5 yards), 15th in rushing yards allowed per game (108 yards) and 13th in points allowed per game (22 points).
Joe Flacco is having a solid season so far passing for 1,456 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 61.2% of his pass attempts. The Ravens are going to need Flacco to have a much better game than he did last week versus the Chiefs and put plenty of points up on the scoreboard as he looks for Torrey Smith (19 receptions for 370 yards and 3 TD this season) both down field and in possession situations as well. Ray Rice (81 carries for 419 yards for 3 TD along with 23 receptions for 190 yards) will also need to be an integral part of the offense also in they want to balance their attack and keep the Cowboys defense guessing. When talking about the Dallas defense it all starts with their superstar pass rusher DeMarcus Ware who is having a tremendous start to the 2012 season with 12 tackles and five sacks (tied for 9th in NFL). If the Cowboys defense is to handle the Ravens offense Ware will have to either get multiple sacks on Flacco or draw several double teams from the Baltimore linemen so other Dallas pass rushers can get in the backfield.
Dallas currently ranks 16th in the NFL in offensive yards gained per game (364 yards), fourth in passing yards gained per game, 29th in rushing yards gained per game (67.8 yards) and 30th in points scored per game (16.3 points) while the Baltimore defense is 24th in offensive yards allowed per game (379.8 yards), tied for 22nd in passing yards allowed per game (261.4 yards), 20th in rushing yards allowed per game (118.4 yards) and seventh in points allowed per game (17.8 points)
Tony Romo is having another up and down year so far passing for 1,148 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions (tied for 3rd in NFL) while completing 66.9% of his attempts. If the Cowboys are to compete then not only will Romo have to cut down on his interceptions but running back DeMarco Murray will have to be more of a force than he has been in the Cowboys four previous games (61 carries for 237 yards and a TD). Romo will also have to find Miles Austin (18 receptions for 300 yards and 3 TD) and Dez Bryant (21 receptions for 269 yards) early and often in order to loosen things up for Murray in the run game. Ray Lewis (43 tackles and a sack) and the Ravens will be attempting to minimize whatever the Cowboys worked on during the bye week while forcing several turnovers in the process.
In the end I like Baltimore to get the victory in this one due to the fact that the Cowboys have trouble both running and keeping the football in their possession. Ravens 27 – Cowboys 17.