Week 9: Dallas Cowboys At Atlanta Falcons
- QuarterbackTony Romo is one of the most up-and-down quarterbacks in the league. In the Cowboys’ Week Eight loss to the Giants, Romo threw four interceptions as his team fell behind 23-0. However, he did not let the deficit stop him and he ended up throwing for 437 yards. Romo throws one of the easiest balls to catch in the league.Matt Ryan is a solid leader and an accurate passer. Ryan completed 22-of-29 passes for 262 yards with 3 TDs and 0 interceptions on the road against the Eagles and that was the key to the Falcons victory over Philadelphia. Ryan is ready to take the next step up, but that’s probably not going to happen until the Falcons win a postseason game.
- OffenseThe Cowboys have struggled to run the ball and they were held to 19 rushing yards against the Giants. That makes life difficult for Romo. He’s also got a No. 1 receiver in Dez Bryant that has top-of-the-line athletic ability but regularly makes mistakes that put the Cowboys in the hole. Tight end Jason Witten is in top form and could catch 10 passes in this game.The Falcons are thriving this season because they have a balanced attack. Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers can run the ball well and that keeps opposing defenses honest. That makes it very difficult to stop wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. Those two may be the best pair of receivers on any team in the league.
- DefenseThe Cowboys are tough, physical and fast on the defensive end. It all begins with outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who is probably the best pass rusher in the league. Ware sets the tone for the Cowboys and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff is coming off a 5-tackles game against the Giants.The Falcons are smart, nasty and athletic as a defensive unit. However, they may have absorbed a big blow when linebacker Sean Weatherspoon injured his ankle against Philadelphia and had to come out of the game after making five tackles. Speedy pass rusher Kroy Biermann had a sack and seven tackles against the Eagles while free safety Thomas DeCoud had nine tackles and a sack.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys are happy with their special teams play as placekicker has made 13-of-14 field goal attempts for the Cowboys this year. Brian Moorman dropped three of his four punts inside the 20 against the Giants.Matt Bryant is one of the most consistent kickers in the league. He has made 16-of-17 field goal attempts this season, including 3-of-3 against the Eagles. Matt Bosher is averaging 47.1 yards per punt and he has dropped 15-of-28 punts inside the opponents’ 20.
The Falcons are the only undefeated team in the NFL and they still are not getting the respect that you would expect for a team with that status. Look for them to take advantage of this national television game to once again show the rest of the NFL that they are for real. Ryan’s accuracy to his big-play receivers may be too much for the Cowboys.