It will be a matchup of 4-5 teams on Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys travel to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on the Atlanta Falcons. Both of these teams had high hopes coming into the season but have struggled to play consistently on both sides of the ball. For the Cowboys, they are coming off of a 27-20 win last Sunday over the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles. As for the Falcons, after starting the season 1-4, they had won 3 in a row until last week’s 28-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. With both hoping to make a late-season push to the playoffs, this week 11 matchup is crucial for both teams. Kickoff for this one is scheduled for 1:00 pm ET.
The point spread comes in with the Atlanta Falcons being 3-point favorites at home. The 3-point spread basically means that they are giving Atlanta the advantage because they are playing at home; otherwise, they think this is a coin flip game. The over/under on total points scored is set at 49.5 points.
By The Numbers
This game will be interesting as both teams have been really good on one side of the ball and really bad on the other. On the offensive side, Atlanta has been the much stronger team. They are 6th in yards per game (408.9), and 8th in points scored (27.1). For the Cowboys, they have struggled offensively as they rank 27th in total yards per game (327.4) and 24th in points scored (20.1 per game).
Defensively, these ranks are pretty much opposite. The Cowboys are 7th in opposing total yardage (328.6) while the Falcons rank 30th(414.3 yards per game). In terms of points allowed to opponents, the Cowboys rank 3rd, allowing 19 points per game, while the Falcons rank 29th at 28.2 points.
Cowboys Hoping To Find Consistency In Passing Game
With Ezekial Elliot at running back, the run game has been decent at times, but the Cowboys’ passing game has struggled this season. They currently rank 28thin the league, only mustering 194 yards passing per game. At quarterback for the Cowboys is Dak Prescott. On the season, Prescott has 1,930 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He has also taken a whopping 32 sacks. His leading receivers right now have been Cole Beasley (40 catches, 403 yards, 2 touchdowns) and running back Ezekiel Elliot (35 catches,2 62 yards, 2 touchdowns). They are also trying to get Amari Cooper going in the passing game after giving up a first round pick to acquire him prior to the trade deadline.
On the ground, Elliott has put together a pretty nice season. Thus far he has 831 and 4 touchdowns on 168 carries. Quarterback Dak Prescott also has 256 yards and 3 touchdowns on 48 carries.
Defensively, their solid defense is led by Leighton Vander Esch (61 tackles), Demarcus Lawrence (6.5 sacks), and a few players with one interception each.
Falcons Will Need Offense To Step Up Against Tough Dallas D
With their defense struggling, it has been pretty much all up to Matt Ryan and the offense this season. Ryan is definitely doing his part. On the season, he has thrown for 3,015 yards, 21 touchdowns and only has 3 interceptions. As always, his favorite receiver continues to be Julio Jones. Jones has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark (1,040 yards total on 67 catches) but has just 2 touchdowns. Aside from Jones, Austin Hooper (46 catches, 418 yards, 3 touchdowns), and Calvin Ridley (36 catches, 500 yards, 7 touchdowns) have also had productive seasons.
On the ground, the Falcons have relied on Tevin Coleman. On the season, Coleman has just 442 yards and 2 touchdowns on 106 carries. Ito Smith has also gotten carries to the tune of 189 yards and 4 touchdowns on 53 carries.
On a struggling defense, the leaders for the Falcons have been Brian Poole (37 tackles), Takkarist McKinley (5.5 sacks), Jack Crawford (4.5 sacks), and Damontae Kazee (5 interceptions). To help the offense, the Falcons would love to get an even average performance by the defense against a struggling Dallas offense.
Falcons Win And Cover
This one boils down to two matchups. You have a really good offense against a good defense and a bad offense against a really bad defense. Ultimately, I look to which has been the best of the four and that has been the Atlanta offense. Matt Ryan is having a spectacular season despite the record, and I think that the Falcons will be able to wear down the Cowboys‘ defense at home. I do think that Ezekiel Elliot will have a big day, but I don’t know if I trust the Dallas passing game enough to bet on them. For my money, I am taking Atlanta at -3 at home.