The Dallas Cowboys (5-3) take on the Atlanta Falcons (4-4) today in a showdown between last year’s top two NFC playoff seeds. Check out the details from this Week 10 matchup below.
Gametime: 4:25 p.m. ET @Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Line: Atlanta -3.5 (50.5%)
- Tyron Smith (T) – Out
- Dan Bailey (K) – Out
- Geoff Swaim (TE) – Out
- Dez Bryant (WR) – Questionable
- Chidobe Awuzie (DB) – Questionable
- Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – Suspended
- Duke Riley (LB) – Out
- Andy Levitre (G) – Questionable
One that sparks much importance for both organizations, Dallas heads into Atlanta to face a hungover 4-4 Falcons team that could control a lot of narrative going forth. For the Cowboys, they currently sit on a 3-game winning streak with a commanding victory against the Chiefs, while the Falcons fell short in a division matchup to the Panthers.
From the news of Ezekiel’s temporary injunction getting denied to Tyron Smith being downgraded as OUT for the game, all weight has fallen on Dak Prescott to carry Dallas to a 6-3 record. While the Falcons rank 14th in points allowed, and more specifically, only giving up an average of 114.5 rushing yards and 207.2 yards through the air, they face a red-hot Dallas offense that has been able to score 28 points in five straight games. The losses of Smith and Elliott will surely lessen the 4th-ranked offense in the league, but do not count out Prescott to lead this team. Although what will possibly be his toughest test in his NFL career thus far, the replacements with Chaz Green and Alfred Smith in addition to Dak’s poise and control, should not cause this offense to fall off many steps.
As the offense faces a major obstacle Sunday, the defense returns to the field looking to continue its growth and defensive line dominance. What would break records in NFL history in 2016, the Falcons have underachieved heavily under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, currently boasting the 17th best offense in points per game averaging 21.2. Though the light will hit on Prescott on whether Dallas wins or not, the Cowboys defense can make a statement in the outcome of the game; stopping a touted duo backfield in Freeman and Coleman that is not being used to its potential. Ranking 13th in rushing defense, a healthy Sean Lee drastically changes what Dallas is able to accomplish on this side of the ball, and the return of Chidobe Awuzie could provide a minimal boost to the secondary.
It may seem like it is being written in that Dallas is winning this game, but it’s not. Atlanta is still a talented team, that knows how to win. They are not a pushover squad, and the losses to Dallas’ offense will matter. Let’s not also forget that Dez, even though he will play, might be limited in what he can do. Though people may not see vintage Dez anymore, a healthy Bryant would still move Trufant around the field and cheat safeties his way, opening routes and spaces up for other receivers. Mistakes will have to be at a low, and winning in short yardage situations will be critical if Dallas wants a win.