The Dallas Cowboys haven’t played a game since Thanksgiving on November 26 and won’t play again until December 8 when they take on the Baltimore Ravens. That’s nearly two weeks to prepare for a talented Ravens team, but will the extra time help?
The last time the Dallas Cowboys had this much time to prepare for an opponent was during their bye week. The extra preparation paid off as they pulled off an upset against a red-hot Minnesota Vikings team and could do so once again against the Baltimore Ravens.
It’s nice to think the Dallas Cowboys can pull off yet another upset like they did against the Vikings back in Week 11, however, the Ravens seem to be more of a matchup nightmare. Baltimore’s run first mentality on offense and stout defensive front directly align with the Cowboys biggest weaknesses right now…their terrible run defense and a patchworked offensive line.
The Baltimore Ravens should have a healthy portion of the roster returning from being out last week due to NFL COVID protocols including QB Lamar Jackson and nearly their entire stable of running backs. That’s bad news for the Dallas Cowboys run defense who recently just let Washington’s rookie RB Antonio Gibson gash them 115 yards and three touchdowns.
Containing the Ravens rushing attack should be the Cowboys defense top priority. With the extra time to prepare they should be able to come up with a game plan to help accomplish such a feat, however, executing that game plan is another story. Execution and gap discipline is what got them in trouble on Thanksgiving, but with nearly 2 weeks to work on it they’ll hopefully be better in that area.
On the flipside there’s not much the Dallas Cowboys can do about their offensive line than they have already done this season. They’ve continued to have to shuffle players around all season and will be forced to do so once again after losing Zack Martin and Cam Erving to injury against Washington. The Ravens defensive front should be licking their chops for this matchup.
The one thing that typically rings true about Baltimore is the fact their defense is usually the driving force of their team. They may not be up to their normal standards on the defensive side of ball as they have in years past, but they’re still one of the better units the Cowboys have faced this season. With a reshuffled OL, they could give Andy Dalton and company fits.
All in all it doesn’t really look as if extra time to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens will end up helping the Dallas Cowboys much. Baltimore is arguably the more talented team right now and creates too many matchup problems for me to give the Cowboys much of a chance. That’s not even mentioning the fact they also have home-field advantage.
As much as I’d like to see the Cowboys pull off yet another upset I unfortunately just don’t see it happening. I think this will be yet another embarrassing performance with Dallas falling to 3-9 on the season with only four more games remaining.