TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 6: Dallas Cowboys At Baltimore Ravens

Cowboys
Ravens
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Quarterback
Winner The world is crashing in on Tony Romo because he threw five interceptions against the Bears in Week Four. Just a couple of weeks before, the Cowboys were talking about a contract extension for him. Romo is an up-and-down performer, but he will throw an accurate ball when he gets decent protection and he doesn’t have to carry the offense on his shoulders.
The Ravens struggled a bit on the offensive end against the desperate Kansas City Chiefs, but that is not likely to happen two games in a row. Joe Flacco is one of the better quarterbacks in the league and he is more confident every time he takes the field. He is one of the best deep throwers in the league and his teammates know he can get the job done in late-game situations.
Offense
The Cowboys need to develop more cohesiveness and that starts with better play from the offensive line. Romo is often under duress, and that’s not going to get it done when the Cowboys are playing form behind. Wide receiver Dez Bryant is one of the most physically gifted players in the league, but he does not read defenses well and his mistakes lead to turnovers.
Winner The Ravens can make explosive plays in the running game and the receiving game. Ray Rice is a superior running back because he combines explosiveness with dependability. Anquan Boldin can make the tough catches for Flacco while Torrey Smith is quickly becoming a big-play weapon.
Defense
For the Cowboys to be successful, they must put significant pressure on the Ravens and find a way to harass Flacco into making mistakes. That won’t be easy, but linebacker DeMarcus Ware is certainly capable of doing just that and leading a turnaround. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan won’t let this unit give in.
Winner The Ravens are older, slower and not as nasty as they once were on defense. However, they pick their spots and have plenty of savvy thanks to linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. Lewis is coming off a 10-tackle effort against the chiefs while strong safety Bernard Pollard added 10 tackles of his own.
Special Teams
The Cowboys do a solid job on coverage teams. They did not allow Devin Hester to shake loose for any big returns in the Monday night loss to Chicago. Dan Bailey is a decent kicker and the Cowboys brought in former Buffalo Bill Brian Moorman to fill in for the injured Chris Jones.
Winner The Ravens don’t try to overwhelm opponents with special-teams play, but they want to hold their own. New kicker Justin Tucker doesn’t carry the baggage that former kicker Billy Cundiff had and he was 3-of-3 on FG attempts in the win over Kansas City. Punter Sam Koch averaged 46.4 yards per punt against the Chiefs.

The Winner Is

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots
Winner Ravens
3 out of 4

The Cowboys are not as bad as they looked in their Week Four Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears, but they are going to have to step up their game consistently to get a win in Baltimore. The Cowboys must put constant pressure on Flacco or they won’t have a chance to hold down the Baltimore offense.

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