While waiting for the Dallas Cowboys to face the Baltimore Ravens, fans had to sit through a week without football and that could be a good thing with the way the Cowboys have been playing. The Chicago Bears completely dismanteled the Cowboys, picking off Romo 5 times on the way to a 34-18 win. The Cowboys will play against another tough defense this week and an offense that’s improving. That’s not a promising combo for Dallas, but the staff here at SportDFW weighs in on what they think:
Ravens offense vs Cowboys defense: getting Jay Ratliff back should provide a boost to an interior d-line that provided no push against a supposedly subpar Bears o-line. If they can contain Ray Rice the Cowboys defense should be able to hold their own in this matchup.
Cowboys offense vs Ravens defense: the Ravens defense is not the same unit it once was, but it still features one of the best secondaries in the league. As usual, a lot falls on Tony Romo’s shoulders. If he doesn’t turn the ball over, the Cowboys line should be able to protect against the edge rushers of the Ravens. If Murray can get going on the ground, that will be huge in taking some pressure off Romo’s shoulders.
This should be a close game, but I have to give the edge to home team here.
Dallas Cowboys 21 -Baltimore Ravens 24
The Dallas Cowboys would be wise to run the ball early and often with DeMarco Murray since the Baltimore Ravens are having trouble stopping teams from running the ball this season. The Cowboys probably won’t though. The Ravens also would be wise to run it more with Ray Rice. Close game, but the edge goes to the home team and that stadium which will be very loud.
Dallas Cowboys 20 -Baltimore Ravens 27
I’m going with the trend of the guys here that the Cowboys won’t win this game. They haven’t shown anything (outside of the Giants game) this season to make us believe they can beat a team that’s the caliber of the Ravens. Joe Flacco has been better this year, they have arguably the best RB in the league in Ray Rice, and their defense (while old) is very, very good. The Cowboys have to make big plays in Jason Garrett’s offense if they want to score, and they haven’t been able to do that this year. If they run the ball well and don’t commit turnovers they may win this game, but I have a feeling they will get behind and become pass happy, which puts Tony Romo in a bad spot in this matchup. The Cowboys are 2-2 with a tough stretch of games coming up, they need a win badly, but we don’t see that happening. Since 2000 the cowboys are exactly .500, and they are playing the same way this year.
Dallas Cowboys 17 -Baltimore Ravens 27
Sometimes I wish I could just be that irrational fan who thinks their team is going to win every game regardless of the matchup, the statistics, trends, facts, etc. Unfortunately, I have eyes. And these eyes tell me that the Dallas Cowboys have regressed into a less than average offensive team that can’t protect their quarterback and cannot open enough holes for the running back. This Baltimore Ravens defense is definitely not comparable to those dominating units of past years (they rank in the bottom third of the league in total defense), but they are becoming a classic bend-but-don’t-break defense as they are 7th in scoring, giving up only 17.8 points per game. I expect the Cowboys to move the ball between the 20’s, but settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.
If Dallas has any chance to win this game, it will be with their own defense. They are the 4th ranked defense in terms of total yards and number one against the pass. Ray Rice is an excellent back, but if Joe Flacco can’t get the passing game going, the offensive burden will fall on him. Rice has proven plenty of times that he’s up to the task. The Cowboys’ defense will keep the game close for a while, but unless they come up with five or six momentum-changing plays (turnovers, third down sacks, 4th down stops, red zone holds), it’s hard to see Dallas winning this game.
Dallas Cowboys 13 -Baltimore Ravens 20
C. Joseph Wright:
Like many, if not most, football games, this week’s contest will be won or lost in the trenches. If the Cowboys can stay patient running the ball with the DMM Express (DeMarco Murray) and stay balanced offensively even the running game is unsuccessful early in the game, they have a decent chance of scoring 20 points. If they can run the ball effectively, then the Ravens will have to be less relentless on the pass-rush, the offense will open up, and Tony Romo can utilize the play-action play effectively. The Ravens have struggled against the run at times this season, but the offensive line has struggled to open lines for the DMM Express all year.
On defense, the Cowboys have to stop Ravens RB Ray Rice. As much as Flacco has improved, he is still not good enough to put the Ravens on his back and win games without a decent running game. The Cowboys defense has been playing well so far this year, and then should get better this week, especially against the run. The return of OLB Anthony Spencer and DE Kenyon Coleman should instantly improve the run defense. The return of NT Jay Ratliff should also improve the run defense since he will draw more double teams. He will also provide much needed rest for tackles Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore, particularly on passing down.
The other defensive key is not allowing Baltimore to get quick scores. The secondary has been much improved this season in preventing big play, if they can force the Ravens to drive 70 or 80 yards for each score, Flacco’s offense is unlikely to score more than 14 points.
The last issue that is the game is in Baltimore. The Cowboys showed they can win on the road week against the Giants.
Tony Romo has a history following terrible games with solid performances. he will anxious to atone for last week’s debacle. The defense is playing great and will just get better.
Dallas Cowboys 20 -Baltimore Ravens 13
Well, my efforts to travel to earth in search of holy man and sages to predict Dallas Cowboys football is starting to look like a mistake, so this week I asked a homeless guy outside my office building. He thinks the Cowboys will upset the Ravens. I still think the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl and change life as we now know it. For a full account of what a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl will mean for human civilization, please read this post.