This week’s Sunday Night Football match up will feature the disappointing Dallas Cowboys (3-4) traveling to the Georgia Dome to take on the undefeated Atlanta Falcons (7-0) who’s record shows that they are the best team in the league but watching the on film at times shows otherwise. Last week the Cowboys again snatched defeat out of the hands of victory against the New York Giants, losing 29-24 while the Falcons had arguably their best performance of their unbeaten season defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, impressively 30-17.
The Cowboys offense is currently ranked seventh in total offensive yards gained per game (383.3 yards), third in passing yards gained per game (297.3 yards), 28th in rushing yards gained per game (86 yards) and 23rd in points scored per game (19.6 points) while their defense is ranked fourth in total offensive yards allowed per game (292.4 yards), third in passing yards allowed per game (187.7 yards), 13th in rushing yards allowed per game (104.7 yards) and 18th in points allowed per game (23.1 points).
The Dallas offense is led by Tony Romo which is exactly why the are so up and down; one week Romo looks like a top ten NFL quarterback and the next he resembles an adult signal caller that couldn’t cut it in Pop Warner. This season Romo has passed for 2,073 yards (7th in NFL), nine touchdowns, 13 interceptions (1st in NFL) and completed 65.7% of his attempts (8th in NFL).
If the Cowboys are to stand a chance in this contest they will need to mix up their offense more and get some production out of the dismal running game. Demarco Murray will again miss action this week while attempting to heal from his foot sprain so that means that Felix Jones will start at halfback for Dallas. Jones must absolutely have a better game this week than he did a week ago versus the Giants where he rushed for just 19 yards and a score on 13 carries.
When Romo isn’t throwing interceptions he’ll be hooking up with his three top playmakers in the passing game; Miles Austin (34 receptions for 561 yards and 4 TD), Dez Bryant (41 receptions for 488 yards and 2 TD) and Jason Witten (51 receptions for 487 yards and a TD) who set a record last week for most receptions by a tight end in a single game with 18. Dallas will need DeMarcus Ware (7.5 sacks, tied for 4th in NFL) and company to get as much pressure in the Atlanta back field as possible in order to compete for 60 minutes.
Atlanta’s offense is currently ranked 12th in total offensive yards gained per game (365.7 yards), eighth in passing yards gained per game (270.7 yards), 24th in rushing yards gained per game (95 yards) and fifth in points scored per game (28.7 points) while their defense is ranked 20th in total offensive yards allowed per game (353.3 yards), 10th in passing yards allowed per game (216.9 yards), 26th in rushing yards allowed per game (136.4 yards) and seventh in points allowed per game (18.6 points).
Matt Ryan has shown that he is one of the elite quarterbacks in this league and has does so by leading his team to the record which they have and also passing for 2,018 yards (8th in NFL), 17 touchdowns (tied for 3rd in NFL), six interceptions and completing 68.7% of his attempts (3rd in NFL). Ryan has three playmakers that he looks to in order to make things happen in the passing game similar to Romo. Those three players are Roddy White (40 receptions for 591 yards and 4 TD), Julio Jones (35 receptions for 499 yards and 5 TD) and Tony Gonzalez (46 receptions for 459 yards and 4 TD) who make up arguably the best trio of pass receivers in the NFL.
Michael Turner must choose a week to show up to the party and this week should be the one; thus far this season Turner has only rushed for 415 yards and three touchdowns on 108 carries. Look for Sean Weatherspoon (52 tackles, 3 sacks, forced fumble and fumble recovery) and John Abraham (7 sacks, tied for 7th in NFL) to make plays for this Atlanta defense who will be looking to cause Romo to turnover the ball multiple times.
This game will come down to two factors; the first will be the running game and the second will be Romo’s turnover situation. Since both teams are poor at running the ball and stopping the run and so well at passing and preventing the pass which team can get more out of their running attack should be able to earn a victory. If Romo transforms again into his alter ego the Human Turnover then all bets are off with my first factor, however if he can maintain possession of the football for his team the Dallas has a legit shot at a win. Call me crazy but I’m going with Dallas in this one 27-20, Romo will have a good game and the Falcons will finally be exposed.