Dallas Cowboys: What to expect from Week Ten?

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 5: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform as the Cowboys play the Kansas City Chiefs at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 5: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform as the Cowboys play the Kansas City Chiefs at AT /

The Dallas Cowboys will be facing the Atlanta Falcons and their Week Ten matchup is pivotal for both teams. Here is what to expect.

The Dallas Cowboys will take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week Ten in what should be a big contest for both teams. The Cowboys will be able to answer a lot of questions about their team as we head into the final stretch of the season. Do they have enough depth at the running back position? Can Dak Prescott carry the offense on his shoulders? Will he have to?

For the Atlanta Falcons, injuries have plagued them in recent weeks. Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman have been suffering from injuries plus a slew of other ailments that have hurt the Falcons defensive unit.

Quarterback, Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense need to be more productive than they have been all season long as the franchise continues to suffer from a Super Bowl hangover. With both teams needing this win, who can take home the victory?

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Dak Prescott becoming the focal point of the Cowboys offense:

The Dallas Cowboys will likely run the same game plan that they have established all season long. What is unknown is just how much it will change after seeing significant changes at multiple positions.

Sure Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension hurts, however, the team has been planning for this for months, well before it actually impacted them. One of the reasons for that confidence is starting quarterback, Dak Prescott. He is the Cowboys guiding light in the storm that is the Ezekiel Elliott fiasco.

When Prescott is on the field it is all about business, passion, and dedication to the game of football. He is a leader on the field and the constant stable force that really makes the Cowboys offense dangerous.

So when it comes down to it, does it really matter who is behind Dak for a read option play? Of course, Elliott is the most feared running back in the NFL but he has earned that from two stellar seasons in which he makes it look easy to put up eye-popping production.

So defenses will likely be more at ease against the reserve group of backs that will hit the field on Sunday. That should only play into the Cowboys hands as Dak Prescott still remains one of the most dangerous weapons on the field.

I would expect more designed runs for Prescott in this upcoming contest but the Cowboys will not be afraid to let him air it out if they see a matchup they like. Falcon’s cornerback Desmond Trufant may still be feeling the effects of an ankle injury he suffered in Week Nine if he shows that on the field, the Cowboys could test him.

Expect Prescott to see an uptick in passing attempts but also an uptick in production.

Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden early impressions:

This will be the first time we have seen Darren McFadden on the field all season long. He knows how much he is needed and how much he will be looked at as an easy task for opposing defenses.

Most teams will assume that with Elliott off the field the Dallas Cowboys ground game will not be as productive but that may not be the case. Let’s examine the last time the Cowboys had McFadden as a starter in 2015.

He has an incredible season as he put up over 1,000 yards rushing in an offense led by quarterbacks who are no longer with the team. That was only two seasons ago so why expect any less from the talented veteran back and we have not even begun discussing Alfred Morris.

The former Washington Redskins running back has been looking fresh and explosive every time he carries the ball. He is a player who recorded three consecutive 1,000 plus yard seasons in a row.

His final year in Washington, he managed to gain around 750 yards and he was not the primary starter. Since he has been with Dallas he has not had the opportunity to carry the load so this should be a big week for him.

This is a player who is averaging 4.4 yards per carry so far in his career, he is a strong, productive back with a chip on his shoulder, that is a dangerous mixture for a team (Atlanta Falcons) who have been on the bottom end of the spectrum in terms of limiting the production of opposing running backs.

There is also the youngest player of the group, Rod Smith, who should see more carries as the change of pace back as Morris and McFadden get the bulk of the workload.

Can Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense outsmart a red-hot Dallas Cowboys defense?

The Dallas Cowboys defense has been incredible in recent weeks, a large part of that success is due to the return of starters who were either suspended or injured. Star Falcons wide receiver, Julio Jones will be a tough task for any defense, however, the Cowboys secondary has been especially vulnerable through the air.

This young secondary will continue to grow in this matchup and we could see a better outing out of these players especially if Jones is still dealing with the lingering effects of an ankle injury.

Falcon’s quarterback, Matt Ryan has yet to throw more than two touchdowns in a single game and just passed the 300 yard mark in Week Nine for the first time this season. He also has an 11 to 7 touchdown to interception ratio which is subpar and that is putting it lightly. For all of the Dallas Cowboys flaws on defense, they make it difficult for opposing quarterbacks to have a good performance.

That factor mixed with the Dallas Cowboys ability to finally generate takeaways makes Ryan’s job this week all the more difficult. The Falcons running attack has been fairly solid all season, however, starter Devonta Freeman is dealing with a shoulder and knee injuries that could play a factor into how he performs on Sunday.

If he is a bit limited, expect the Falcons other talented back, Tevin Coleman to play a bigger role.

Next: Ezekiel Elliott suspension resumes

How will the Dallas Cowboys offensive line perform without Tyron Smith?

The best left tackle in the NFL will be out of this matchup against the Atlanta Falcons defense and that could have the biggest impact of all. Dak is a mobile quarterback so he is constantly escaping the pocket already.

It will be interesting to see if they move a more proven offensive lineman to protect Prescott’s blindside or they will rely on the depth they have. A reshuffling of the line is expected at least this week but it could have the biggest impact in this contest.