Cowboys vs. Falcons NFL Week 9 Preview
Cowboys vs. Falcons
The Dallas Cowboys are going down to Georgia looking to knock off the only unbeaten team left in the NFL.
However, the Atlanta Falcons have other plans as they seek to improve to 8-0. One thing the Falcons have proven themselves to be throughout the season is consistent. They have absorbed injuries to their secondary and linebacker corps but have kept on winning games behind the arm of quarterback Matt Ryan.
Some may get wrapped up in the fact that the Falcons haven’t been beaten and assume they can’t be beaten, but that’s not the case.
Until last Sunday when the Falcons defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 30-17, the Falcons squeaked by three opponents by a combined 12 points. Can they be beat? You bet they can.
However, their next game is against, in my opinion, the most sporadic team in the NFL. One week the Cowboys will look good, and the next they will look as if it’s their first time on the field.
The Cowboys come into Sunday's game having dropped three of four games, including a 29-24 home loss to the NFL East-leading New York Giants. A game in which Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw a career-high 437 yards, but also threw four interceptions.
The Cowboys have been pretty consistent in being their own biggest rival during games. Constant turnovers, penalties and missed opportunities among other things have been the Cowboys Achilles' heel.
If the Cowboys want to knock off the Falcons they can’t give them extra opportunities because unlike other teams, the Falcons, have the firepower to light up the scoreboard quickly.
One thing the Cowboys have going for them is that they’ve won their previous two meetings against the Falcons. In case they needed more motivation, they can find the comments Roddy White made earlier in the season when he laughed at the notion that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin were better receivers than he and Julio Jones.
Beating the Falcons isn’t going to be easy, but these are some things the Cowboys can do to come out on top come Sunday.
Establish the Run
The Falcons have the 26th ranked rushing defense allowing 136.4 yards a game. It will help the Cowboys control the clock, and it will keep Ryan and his high-powered offense on the sidelines.
Stop the Falcons on Third Down
The Falcons have converted 45 percent (34-of-75) of their third down opportunities, which ranks them fourth in the NFL. The Cowboys defense has been pretty good on third down, only allowing a 34.1 conversion rate.
Score in the Red Zone
The Cowboys can put up yards with the best of them in the NFL; however, they can’t put up points when it counts. The Falcons are only allowing 18.6 points a game. The Cowboys are only averaging 19.6 points per game, so it’s crucial that they score when the opportunity presents itself.
Limit the Mistakes
The Falcons boast a plus 10 in turnover ratio while the Cowboys are minus 11 in that category. The Falcons have 24 penalties through seven games, which translate to about three penalties per game; the Cowboys are averaging about eight penalties per game.
With those numbers in mind; the Cowboys cannot come out and turn the ball over six times and have 13 penalties as has been customary this season.
Dont get Overwhelmed
The Cowboys will be under immense pressure as they try to salvage what’s left of their season. They need to remain disciplined and try not to do too much, but rather stick to the game plan and execute what they have been practicing throughout the week.