After both the Falcons and Cowboys fell short in their respective season openers, the two teams will meet in Dallas on Sunday at 1:00 PM EDT. One of them will be facing the likely prospect of an 0-2 start to a year in which they’ll be looking to fight their way back into the playoff mix. The Cowboys are four-and-a-half point favorites for the weekend showdown. The over/under is set at 53.5.
Falcons Defense Under Fire
Atlanta’s offense looked just fine with Matt Ryan at the helm. Ryan threw for 450 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Unfortunately, the Falcons defense could not stop Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who led the Seahawks to a 38-25 win. Seattle is a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Regardless, the effort from Atlanta will still need to be better.
It’s always nice to start the year 1-0. But it’s also nice when you can avenge a Week 1 loss and avoid the 0-2 hole to open the year. While losses would only account for two out of 16 games, teams that start the season 0-2 usually fail to qualify for the postseason.
With Matt Ryan at the helm, you can always expect the Falcons to put up plenty of points. But even with playmakers across the defense, it hasn’t been good enough. Dan Quinn was nearly fired last year, but Atlanta played great football over the final six weeks of the season to protect his job.
To win on Sunday, Atlanta will need to slow down Ezekiel Elliott, as the Falcons’ secondary will have their hands full with the Cowboys vast array of dangerous receivers.
Cowboys Aiming to Even Up at 1-1
A win would be more than just “nice” for the Cowboys. As “America’s Team,” every loss is a big deal. The inability to close out close games (1-7 in their last eight one-score contests) is simply not good enough, with each close loss adding to the pressure.
Dallas had no excuses to lose to the Rams. Los Angeles has a talented football team, but one the Cowboys were expected to beat. Expectations weren’t as high for the Rams this year, so it’s a bad look for Dallas to lose to them in their home opener, especially in new head coach Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys debut. Yikes.
For Dallas to beat Atlanta, Elliott has to top the 100-yard mark. If he’s locked in, the play-action game is going to be at its best. The Cowboys drafted CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 draft to add another weapon to their rapidly improving receiving corps. Lamb caught five passes for 59 yards in his first NFL game, second only to Amari Cooper in receptions and yards.
The Cowboys defense will be without Leighton Vander Esch, who was injured in the first quarter against the Rams and will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing collarbone surgery. Other players will have to step up in his absence, especially in the linebacking group.
Falcons Will Fall
Atlanta’s defense doesn’t appear up to the task to stop the Cowboys and win on the road. Dallas will get the win and cover the spread.
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