Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Vs. Minnesota Vikings: Game Preview

Bryson Treece

Published

on


Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings
Where: Mall of America Field - Minneapolis, MN
When: January 17, 2010, 12:00 PM on FOX

Mall of America Field. The name might not be too familiar to some of you. Perhaps if I referred to it as The Metrodome you would be a little more intimidated.

This is where the Dallas Cowboys are headed this Sunday. This is where blood will be shed, tears will fall, and champions will be born.

This particular Divisional Playoff round provides the NFC with 2 games that are NFC Conference Championship caliber games. The Minnesota Vikings are the team standing between the red hot Dallas Cowboys and establishing NFC dominance once again.

You have to believe that the winner of this game will more than likely proceed to the Super Bowl. This is the most evenly matched game we've seen in a long while, and therefore, we have a lot to analyze. So let's get started.


How They Stack Up
12-5 Record 12-4
7-2 Home 8-0
5-3 Road 4-4
5-2 Division 5-1
463 Total Points 470
15.5 Avg Points Allowed 19.5
27.2 Avg Points Per Game 29.4
6816 Total Offense 6074
4515 Pass Yards 4156
2301 Rush Yards 1918
47 TD 56
46 Sacks 47
Won 4 Streak Won 1
1st, NFC East - #3 Seed NFC Position 1st, NFC North - #2 Seed NFC


Cowboys
(12-5)
Key Matchups

Vikings
(12-4)
Dallas Defensive Line (3-4)

DE

DT

DE

In this game the trenches will be the decision maker. The Cowboys pass rush has become feared league-wide and they're showing no signs of slowing down. Jay Ratliff will lead an attack that I believe will penetrate this offensive line while allowing Olshanksy and Spears to plug-up the holes. I believe that our Defensive line is the stability of this defense and are showing they can get it done on all levels.

On the other side Minnesota offers an offensive line that I don't consider to be game changing. However, given the explosive offensive weapons, they do a considerable job paving the way for Adrian Peterson. Highlighted by Hutchinson and McKinnie, you better believe they'll be emotionally and physically prepared to take on the speedy Dallas Defense.

Advantage: Dallas

Minnesota Offensive Line

LT

LG

C

RG

RT


Auxcuadro_medium


Dallas Offensive Line

RT

RG

C

LG

LT

On the other side of the ball is a large and mean offensive line. The Problem here lies completely with Flozell Adams, who will be matched up with all-pro Jared Allen. While I believe Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo, and Kyle Kosier will perform up to par, it's the mistakes and speed that Flo brings to the table that will cost this offense and ultimately keep Tony Romo from getting comfortable.

Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, and Ray Edwards—need I say more? This defensive line is strong, fast, and deadly. They will plug holes and harass Tony Romo all day. Bottom line is this: These are some of the toughest guys in the league. They represent the league's second ranked rush defense, and are responsible for 47 sacks this season.

Advantage: Minnesota

Minnesota Defensive Line (4-3)

DE

DT

DT

DE


Auxcuadro_medium


Dallas Wide Receivers

WR

WR

WR

WR

WR

This is a battle of numbers. Dallas' sixth ranked pass offense goes against Minnesota's 19th ranked pass defense. No Matter what people say, the compliment that Roy Williams gives Miles Austin is a big deal. Roy still requires attention especially as he starts to show his real self again. Match that with Patrick Crayton's impressive play out of the slot and you've got a combination of players with great play ability.

A real key to this matchup will lie in the play of Antoine Winfield, who will play in only his second game back from a seven game layoff due to injury. If the Vikings' corners can stop themselves from biting on some of the double moves and cuts, I think they could be a factor. However, I don't see that happening and I believe that our receivers can really play big against this team.

Advantage: Dallas

Minnesota Defensive Backs

DB

DB

FS

DB

DB


Auxcuadro_medium


Dallas Defensive Backs

DB

DB

FS

DB

DB

Mike Jenkins is the hottest defensive back in the playoffs right now. He is making every play needed to be considered a shut-down corner. It's Jenkins emergence that has overshadowed the play of Terence Newman, who has been absolutely lights out. Newman was really the one who shut down DeSean Jackson but they'll both have their hands full this weekend. I believe the major problem comes when Percy Harvin comes in the slot, Scandrick needs to be able to stop him and while he's shown some improvement late this season, he's still struggled.

This is an explosive group of receivers as long as Favre is throwing the ball. I believe that in reality this is a mediocre group, besides maybe Harvin who has flourished. This unit will outplay the Dallas DB's if they are given time to develop routes and get open, and they just might.

Advantage: Draw

Minnesota Wide Receivers

WR

WR

WR

WR

WR


Auxcuadro_medium


Dallas Running Backs & Tight Ends

RB

RB

RB

FB

TE

TE

TE

Here's a big part of both teams game plans. Felix Jones was explosive against a tough Philly Defense. Marion Barber was a non-factor. What needs to be done this week will create a large role for Marion Barber. He will need to be the punishing ball carrier he is known as to wear down a tough defense so El Gato can gash them. But given Barber's sore knee, it's unclear right now, and likely up until game time, if he'll be ready to go. The key here will be how the Minnesota linebackers handle Jason Witten—he has the ability to destroy any team.

Minnesota's linebackers have been in search of their identity since E.J. Henderson left for the season. Since then, they have been less successful against the run. I still think they have talent. However, I don't believe they have enough talent here to deal with the likes of John Phillips, Martellus Bennett, Jason Witten, Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice. I believe this is the area where Dallas can really control this game.

Advantage: Dallas

Minnesota Linebackers

OLB

LB

OLB

SS

SS

LB

LB


Auxcuadro_medium


Dallas Linebackers

OLB

OLB

MLB

SS

MLB

LB

LB

OK, this is hard to argue. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer may be the best OLB tandem in the league. Mix that with the emotional and inspirational play of Keith Brooking and Bradie James and you have a tough group. Also, where did Bobby Carpenter come from? Carpenter has done a good job covering tight ends. This is the league's fourth ranked rush defense—allowing only 85 yards a game—and still they manage to terrify opposing quarterbacks with 47 sacks across 17 games.

All that being said, Adrian Peterson may be the best back in the league. Chester Taylor does a terrific job spelling Adrian Peterson, and Visanthe Shiancoe is as good as they come from the tight end position. If Adrian Peterson can break through the initial level he can take it to the house on a Dallas Defense who lacks tackling ability in the upper levels.

Advantage: Draw

Minnesota Runnings Backs & Tight Ends

RB

RB

FB

TE

TE


Auxcuadro_medium


Players To Watch

HB Adrian Peterson

Peterson is a game breaker. He averages 4.4 yards a carry and destroys defenses with yards after contact. The Vikings will undoubtedly look to him to control the game and keep this from becoming a shootout. But he has a tendency to fumble the football and could very well hand the Cowboys a game changer if he's not careful with the ball.

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson


Auxcuadro_medium


DE Jared Allen

The heart and soul of the Vikings defense, Allen will more than likely cause headaches for Flozell Adams. The impact Allen makes will determine the outcome of this game.

Jared Allen
Jared Allen


Auxcuadro_medium


Keith Brooking
Keith Brooking

LB Keith Brooking

Brooking has been spectacular for the Cowboys. Beyond his usual pregame inspirational speech to his defense, he will be responsible for stopping Adrian Peterson and keeping Favre uncomfortable. Not that hard right? He's taken over this defense after a modest introduction earlier this year, and his teammates will look to him for solid, and big, plays.


Auxcuadro_medium


Tony Romo
Tony Romo

QB Tony Romo

If Romo can manage the game by reading defenses and changing plays accordingly, he will win this game for the Cowboys. Balance, smart decisions, and elusiveness will be Tony's key to success. At times this big offensive line has been suspect in protection, but Romo's quick feet have kept him alive to make plays.


Auxcuadro_medium

 

Key Injuries


Auxcuadro_medium

T Marc Colombo - Ankle
(Probable)

S Pat Watkins - Knee
(Probable)

RB Marion Barber - Knee
(Probable)

S Gerald Sensabaugh - Thumb
(Probable)

LB DeMarcus Ware - Wrist/Back
(Probable)

DT Jimmy Kennedy - Thumb
(Questionable)

FB Naufau Tahi - Back
(Questionable)

TE Visanthe Shiancoe - Quadriceps
(Probable)

DT Pat Williams - Elbow
(Probable)

G Steve Hutchinson - Shoulder
(Probable)

P Chris Kluwe - Back
(Probable)

CB Antoine Winfield - Foot
(Probable)

Winner

I'm struggling here. Going to Minnesota is a tough task, have the Cowboys gotten too confident? I believe they're on the verge of being something special but the media is going to kill them with positive talk. Don't get me wrong, they can defeat this team. I'm just unsure that Favre's experience will let them do that.

Minnesota 27 Dallas 21


Keys To The Game

  • Pressure Favre - The bottom line is that Favre is good—but he's old. If you continue to harass him he's going to get uncomfortable and start rushing his throws. If the linebackers can get penetration, it'll be a long day for Minnesota.
  • Stop the A-Train - Peterson needs to be contained. Don't get frustrated with 3 yards by him; that should be considered success. Keep him bottled up on first down and limit the breakaway runs. Do that and let Jenkins, Newman and company finish the rest. He says AD stands for All Day, but in order for the Cowboys to win this game, by the end of the day it needs to stand for All Done.
  • Patience - The 'Boys need to be able to shrug things off and forget mistakes quickly. Big plays and opportunities are going to arise, but it'll take the first quarter for both teams to set in. The team that can stay calm and battle the noise will win.


Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

Advertisement
8 Comments
  • jon

    What a true cowboy fan going for the other team you suck……

    • Purple Pride

      Cowboys showed the world, just how bad thay really are. Eagles must of been real bad. You big frachise sports teams can suck a rooster.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dcnation Bryson Treece

    I had the same comment for him myself, but I have to point out that he was right. The matchup was a tough one to predict—obviously.

  • Bryan Martin

    Do i suck or am I just a realist?

    • Purple Pride

      Yea you Suck, Well you asked, open wide.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dcnation Bryson Treece

    You just called upon the one way the Cowboys would lose for your prediction, and it was right. The Vikings got so much pressure on Romo—that was the game deciding factor in my eyes.

  • mistygirlll

    god im really nervous about the cowboys/vikings game because i have bet on it wooohoooo!! everybody think positive!!!!!!!

    • misty girll

      sorry i forgot to say i am rooting for the cowboys!!!

Game Notes

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Atlanta

Brian Martin

Published

on

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Atlanta

It may not have been very pretty, but the Dallas Cowboys were able to keep their playoff hopes alive by defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday afternoon. It's a place that wasn't kind to them a season ago, but they were able to overcome their demons and secure a much-needed victory.

This is a game that ended up being a lot closer than it probably needed to be. Missed opportunities and mental mistakes once again plagued this Cowboys team, but they continued to scratch and claw their way in a hostile environment to put another "W" in the win column.

With the game still fresh in our minds, I thought it would be a good time to share with you what I believed was The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys yesterday against the Atlanta Falcons. As always, please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comment section located at the end of the article.

The Good

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

It should come to no surprise after the way he's played these last couple weeks, but I decided to go with Running Back Ezekiel Elliott for the good this week for the Dallas Cowboys. I could have easily gone with Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch because he was definitely deserving as well, but for me Zeke edged him out by a narrow margin.

Ezekiel Elliott put the team on his back Sunday afternoon and led them to a victory, just like he did a week ago against the Philadelphia Eagles. He pretty much was the Cowboys offense yesterday, accounting for more than 200 total yards by himself. He not only finished the game as the leading rusher with 122 yards on the ground and a touchdown, but the leading receiver as well with seven catches for 79 yards.

Zeke has been absolutely dominating here recently and hopefully he can keep it up with the division rival Washington Redskins coming to town on Thanksgiving. It's a game that will likely determine the outcome of the NFC East division.

The Bad

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

He may have made the game-winning field goal, but Kicker Brett Maher's inconsistency here lately is the bad this week for the Dallas Cowboys in my opinion. His missed extra point attempt against the Falcons came very close to costing them the victory, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few kickers brought in Monday on a tryout basis.

Over the past several years we've kind of been spoiled by having Dan Bailey, one of the most accurate kickers to ever play the game. I believe the Cowboys made the right decision to move on from Bailey earlier this year, especially after seeing the way he's struggled with inconsistency himself in Minnesota. But, Maher's recent struggles is starting to become more and more of a concern.

We've seen too many instances this season where a missed or made field-goal impacts the outcome of the game one way or another. This week they were fortunate enough to come out on top, but just imagine how the NFC division race would look if Maher would've made the one in Washington instead of clanking it on the upright.

The Ugly

Chidobe Awuzie

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

I could've easily went with the penalties or mental mistakes in this section this week for the Dallas Cowboys, but I ultimately decided the ugly against the Falcons was Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie being victimized once again. Opposing quarterbacks continue to throw his direction and unfortunately they're finding quite a bit of success.

I hear a lot of fans around Cowboys Nation wanting to see Jourdan Lewis get a shot at starting on the outside over Awuzie, but I don't think that's the right move at this time. I still think Awuzie is playing at a high level, but unfortunately he's just been the victim of some really good catches by receivers he's covering at the time.

Both this week against the Falcons and last week against the Eagles we saw Awuzie with tight coverage on Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffrey, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to prevent the completion from happening. That's just been the way things have gone for him this season. If he can learn to get his head around and locate the ball, he would find much more success and not be targeted as much.

What is your Good, Bad, and Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Falcons?



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons

The Dallas Cowboys are returning home for Thanksgiving with a 5-5 record, needing to earn road wins at Philadelphia and Atlanta in the last two weeks to do so. Sunday's revenge win at the Falcons did not come easy, as the Cowboys conceded their first touchdown in the final two minutes of regulation to tie the game.

Missed opportunities in the red zone and penalties all had a say in the Cowboys needing a walk off Brett Maher field goal to win. Running Back Ezekiel Elliott once again sparked the offense in the second half, as the Cowboys defense assured this game wouldn't be a shootout in the first 30 minutes.

Here are my observations on the Cowboys latest thrilling win, greatly increasing their chances at reclaiming the top spot in the NFC East considering the Redskins home loss to the Texans.

  • A great down-the-line play from rookie Dorance Armstrong on the Falcons' opening possession to set up DeMarcus Lawrence's first sack.

The Cowboys came into this game thin across the defensive line. Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins and Defensive End Dorance Armstrong really took advantage of the opportunity, pushing the pocket against Matt Ryan and freeing up the Cowboys linebackers to be themselves.

Lawrence's sack was the play that got the Cowboys off the field on third down, but Armstrong meeting Ito Smith in the hole for no gain was as big of a play on second down. The Falcons were smart to test the interior of the Cowboys defense and use the power run to set up their vertical passing game, but Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard simply had their guys ready to play.

If Collins and Armstrong can sustain their high-energy level of play with Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross working their way back into the Cowboys rotation at DT, this defense can reach a new level of play given their speed in the back seven and ability to give opposing offensive lines fits with just four up front.

  • Cole Beasley did more than enough to make up for it, but his drop in the end zone on the Cowboys first scoring drive is one he'll want back for a while.

The Cowboys play calling on their first goal-to-go situation left a lot to be desired, but Beasley was still able to make a scoring play with the ball in his hands at the pylon. Beasley bobbled the ball going to the ground and couldn't come up with it.

On the next play, the Cowboys finally targeted Amari Cooper, although without Ezekiel Elliott on the field. It was the combination of Cooper on the outside and Elliott in the backfield that provided a boost to the Cowboys offense last week at the Eagles, and for whatever reason they went away from it consistently against the Falcons.

Beasley's 19 yard catch and run on the Cowboys final drive set them up to run Elliott and kick the game winning field goal, giving Prescott an easy target on a crossing route. These are the types of inconsistencies the Cowboys will have to happily live with as they review this win and prepare on a short week for the Redskins.

  • Head Coach Jason Garrett should be questioned about how his offense handled the last drive of the first half.

Trailing by three in a game still looking for its first touchdown, the Cowboys came out firing with 29 seconds left in the first half before shutting the drive down themselves. After Elliott advanced the ball to the Cowboys 35 and prompted a timeout, his catch and run for eight yards was the final play of the half.

I have no problem with the Cowboys getting the ball safely into the hands of Elliott, but after gaining positive yards on two receptions it's inexcusable to sit on a timeout without attempting a pass to the end zone.

  • The Cowboys play calling improved in the second half, evident on Dak Prescott's rushing touchdown to give the Cowboys a 12-9 lead.

Again, taking the good with the bad, the Cowboys did go to this zone read look one too many times in the second half. From four yards out against a defense playing without one of their most talented players in Linebacker Deion Jones, Prescott faking to Elliott and keeping himself is as smart and safe a play as Linehan could have called.

Prescott's score was followed by Leighton Vander Esch's second interception in as many weeks, allowing the Cowboys to go right back to hammering the football. It took just two carries for Elliott to cover 31 yards and put the Cowboys ahead 19-9 off the turnover.

His 23-yard touchdown was sprung by Right Guard Zack Martin, who deserves a ton of credit for not only dealing with an injury sustained last week but seemingly finding an even higher level of play since then to motivate his teammates.

Joe Looney filled in well for Travis Frederick once again, and Xavier Su'a-Filo replaced a now-healthy Connor Williams for the second straight game, making Martin's elite level of play much more important.

Martin's lone mistake in this game came at a costly moment though, as a false start penalty backed the Cowboys up before punting it back to the Falcons for the tying score. Although the penalty created a third and 13 that Dallas used to keep the clock running on a dump off to Elliott, their second down play call to go with another zone read was costly as well.

Prescott lost two yards on a play that didn't fool the Falcons in the slightest, creating the original third and eight situation.

  • Chidobe Awuzie was actually in good position on Julio Jones' fourth quarter TD, but as has been the case all season he reacted late and was beat with the ball.

Awuzie ran stride for stride with Jones, doing his best to force the Falcons best receiver towards the sideline. To Jones' credit, he was able to stay true to his route and run under a perfect pass from Matt Ryan.

Awuzie's fate was sealed on the play when he failed to react in time to jump with Jones, who simply elevated over the Cowboys struggling cornerback to give the Falcons new life in this game. Awuzie has been given every opportunity to be the Cowboys starter across from Byron Jones, trusted by Kris Richard to be a valuable part of this defense.

Quarterbacks in need of a completion have been able to pick on Awuzie far too much this season. The Cowboys don't appear to be in any rush to change this, as Cornerback Jourdan Lewis is designated to handling jet sweeps for the Cowboys offense while Anthony Brown remains the starter in the slot.

It was Brown that struggled through all of 2017 before finding his form again this year, perhaps giving Awuzie some hope that he can respond sooner rather than later.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The early slate of games proved to be a massive one for NFC East implications. The Cowboys escaped Atlanta with a win, and minutes later the Texans put the finishing touches on a win at the Redskins. Much earlier in the afternoon, unbeknownst to the Cowboys fighting for their life at the time, the Redskins also lost Quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith broke his tibia on a hit from J.J. Watt, and will need season ending surgery according to his Head Coach Jay Gruden.

This division has been waiting for a team to seize control of it all season. Realizing this, the Cowboys didn't sulk through their poor start and made the right moves to play into contention - playing as the desperate team that often achieves a lot in this game through their last eight quarters.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Enjoy Double Win as Redskins Lose

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

3 Reasons Why RB Ezekiel Elliott Will Dominate in 2018

The Dallas Cowboys looked great on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. There were very few things to complain about their last showing and now that they're back at .500, the season doesn't seem lost as previously thought. After all, the NFC East has been a mediocre division so far in 2018 and the division title is not that far from the Cowboys' grasp.

In fact, if they win this Thursday on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys would become the NFC East's division leader. The Washington Redskins were off to a great start on the season but after falling to the Houston Texans on Sunday, they only hold a one game-lead over the Cowboys.

This will be the second time of the year these two teams face each other. Back in week 7, the Cowboys played one of their worse games on the year in Washington. Many times the Cowboys shot themselves on the foot until they failed to get to overtime as Brett Maher's FG attempt bounced off the goalpost.

This time though, things should be different.

The team is on a two-game winning streak on the road against the last two NFC Champions. Of course, neither of these teams are the same than they were in previous years, but Dallas has done a good job these past two weeks. Some staff members might be coaching for their jobs as the team approaches "now or never" territory to contend in 2018. Although play-calling and execution haven't been perfect, at least the offense is showing signs of life.

Both the Cowboys and the Redskins suffered key injuries on Sunday. Towards the end of the game, Cowboys' LT Tyron Smith went down injured and headed to the locker room. With his injury history and a short week on deck, it's tough to imagine Smith will suit up on Thursday.

David Helman on Twitter

Tyron Smith, as only he could say it: "It didn't feel good, but I'll be alright." #cowboyswire

However, the more serious injury came for the Redskins. Quarterback Alex Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibia and will end his season due to surgery. With Colt McCoy playing at QB for Washington, winning the NFC East will become an easier task for the Cowboys.

But they can't take the win for granted. This is a flawed, inconsistent team we're talking about. On a short week, it'll require a lot of effort to beat their hated division rivals.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Enjoy Double Win as Redskins Lose" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending