Week 3 Predictions Have Been Difficult
On any given Sunday, perfectly predicting the outcome of an NFL game slate is near impossible. Though it is even more difficult early in the season. (Just ask my peers here at DSF) The first 3-4 games in an NFL season help establish the identity of a team. For example, some teams that are 0-3 may actually be pretty good, but have played a really tough schedule. While teams that are 3-0 or 2-1, may have had soft schedules to start the season. It takes time, and witnessing adversity for us to understand the composition of each of the 32 teams. Every season there is an offense/defense that vastly over performs/underperforms their initial predictions.
How Does This Apply To the Cowboys vs Cardinals?
The Cowboys have yet to score 20 points this season. Is this simply because the offense isn’t what everyone expects it to be? Not necessarily. When evaluating a team, context is king. The Cowboys have had a brutal schedule to start off the season. Facing three of the most formidable defenses in the league back-to-back-to back is a tall task for any offense. In the early part of the season, little more can be done than letting a monkey spin a wheel to decide the outcome.
Well, I’m the monkey and this is my wheel. Away we go…
My Take on Cowboys Vs Cardinals
Offensively, Zeke needs to eat a full plate this week. If he gets “full”, feed Morris. Feed a fullback. Somebody has to eat if the Cowboys offense is to be successful. Its not just that the run game is important because it scores points and gains yards. The run game is important because its the foundation of LITERALLY every other aspect of this Cowboys team. Time management, number of defenders in the box, time played for defense, and even somewhat affects the defensive rotation.
I want to see Dallas ground and pound to the point where the game literally gets boring to watch. If the run game fails, go to short passes. Slants, screens, tosses. Anything to get Ezekiel Elliott into space and keep the Cowboys style of offense function. I don’t blame Dak Prescott for the 30-50 attempts, 2 interception performance last week. Anytime a young quarterback is forced to throw the ball 50 times against a historically great pass defense, bad things are going to happen. I think Dallas can have success on the ground this week. Expect at least 100 scrimmage yards from Zeke, even if they aren’t all strictly rushing yards.
As far as the passing game is concerned, I don’t see Dez Bryant having a big game. I’m assuming Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is going to shadow Dez wherever he goes. I think Brice Butler will play though he is currently listed as questionable.
Defensively, the injury gods have been frowning against the Cowboys secondary this season. Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Nolan Carroll are both out for tonight’s game. The status of Stephen Paea is critical. He is questionable for tonight’s game, and if unable to play, will be sorely missed on the defensive line. Luckily however, those same injury gods seem displeased with the Cardinals offense as well. Speedster John Brown is ruled out with a quad injury and up and coming receiver J.J Nelson is questionable. To top it off, halfback David Johnson will be unavailable to Arizona as well.
I think the Cardinals will try and get cute with Larry Fitzgerald. Getting him open through option routes and comebacks, routes which can be difficult for young defensive backs to jump on. Long time runner Chris Johnson will be carrying the rock for the Cardinals tonight. Arizona stated earlier this week that they want to give him the ball more this week. Regardless of who they put in the backfield, the Cowboys back 7 have to tackle better. If not, the madness we saw against the Denver Broncos last week will only repeat itself.
Score: 24-17 Dallas
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