One reason the Dallas Cowboys have been so good on offense in 2021 is their ability to control the tempo by running the football well. Ezekiel Elliott is currently sixth in the NFL with 622 rushing yards and Tony Pollard is 23rd at 403 yards. They are both at the top in terms of yards-per-carry for running backs league-wide as well. Pollard's 5.6 ranks fourth and Elliott's 4.9 is eighth.
After only gaining 60 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener, the Cowboys ran for at least 122 yards as a team in their next five games, including two games in which they ran for over 200 yards, and they won them all.
However, the last two games have been a struggle as the Cowboys have run for 78 yards total in each against the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. With Dak Prescott looking to bounce back from his worst performance of the season, his best friend will be an effective running game.
The Cowboys 142.8 yards per game rushing ranks third in the NFL. Establishing their dominance in the run game makes defenses honest and not so willing to load the box with eight or nine-man fronts. This sets up Prescott and the Cowboys' fourth-ranked passing attack to be effective and essentially puts defenses in a situation where they have to pick their poison when it comes to defending this offensive juggernaut.
It's not just the passing game that is aided by a good rushing attack. The Cowboys have one of the most opportunistic defenses in the NFL as they rank sixth in turnovers with 14.
The more Elliott and Pollard can keep the chains moving it keeps their defensive teammates fresh and doesn't allow the opposing offense to gain a rhythm, which can lead to mistakes and turnovers.
Elliott and Pollard have a chance to set the tone on Sunday seeing as the Falcons defense gives up 123 yards a game on the ground, the ninth most in the NFL. If that's the case on Sunday, the Cowboys' offense should have a big day and take advantage of the Falcons' 28th ranked scoring defense.