The Dallas Cowboys welcome the Atlanta Falcons to AT&T Stadium while seeking redemption from a disappointing Week 1 loss. The Dirty Birds dropped their opener but are an explosive outfit with blue-chip players on both sides of the ball. Given some time to check out the All-22 coaches' footage, here are my thoughts on how this game could play out this week.
Why the Falcons will win?
The Falcons will win if Matt Ryan and Co. get off to a fast start in Dallas. The former MVP is capable of carving up defenses with a surgeon's precision when given sufficient protection in the pocket. The Falcons' WR corps produced three receivers with at least nine catches and 100 receiving yards against the Seahawks. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage could have monster days against a Cowboys' secondary that failed to contain Rams' WR Robert Woods in Week 1. Despite the temptation to throw the ball on every down, the Falcons' offense will be tougher to defend if Dirk Koetter keeps Todd Gurley involved as a runner/receiver.
Defensively, the Falcons must win the line of scrimmage with Grady Jarrett, Dante Fowler, and Tak McKinnley destroying plays at the line of scrimmage. If the Falcons win the early-down battles, the pass rush could make life miserable for Dak Prescott on money downs.
Why the Cowboys will win?
The Cowboys must control the tempo and flow of the game with their offense. Dak*, Zeke and Coop must play like the "Big Three" in this matchup for the offense to put up the points needed to outscore a high-powered Falcons' squad in a potential shootout. Injuries could be a factor along the offensive line but Kellen Moore should have enough tricks in his bag to get the ball to the playmakers on the perimeter. Keep in mind, the Falcons' young cornerbacks struggled in the season opener against the 'Hawks. The Cowboys' WR corps is a more dynamic and explosive unit.
On defense, the Cowboys must generate a consistent pass rush against Ryan. Demarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith and Everson Griffen must disrupt his rhythm in the pocket with their constant harassment off the edge. In addition, Mike Nolan must be willing to dial up some pressures in random situations to keep Ryan from throwing the ball on time like a seven-on-seven drill. If Nolan can put the pressure on Ryan while also keeping Julio Jones under wraps with various brackets or double team tactics, the Cowboys can throttle an offense that looks like one of the league's best units on paper.
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