The Cowboys offense came into 2020 expected to be in consideration for the best unit in football. Between Dak Prescott, a plethora of elite receivers, a solid offensive line, and running back Ezekiel Elliott, there looked to be little in the way of a dominant offensive year.
Of course, injuries have been a massive issue. No Tyron Smith. No La’el Collins, barely any Zack Martin, and of course no Dak Prescott.
While this offense is certainly lacking in healthy talent on the line, they still do employ studs at skill positions. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb have each proved that in some ways they are quarterback-proof, having a couple of big games with Andy Dalton.
It’s been a struggle overall, however.
The Cowboys rank 29th in EPA/Play this season and 29th in dropback EPA. They’ve found little to no success through the air, though it could be argued that they’ve put their quarterback and offensive line in tough third-down situations with unsuccessful early-down runs at times.
Regardless, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and this offense will need to cook something up for Tuesday, when they face a Ravens defense which can be daunting when clicking.
The Ravens are sixth in EPA/play allowed this season and are coming off of an inspiring performance where they held the dynamic pass catchers of the Steelers down for four quarters. They also sit at 7th in defensive DVOA on the year, another impressive mark.
Baltimore is known for playing physical up front, and it seems like even as different players cycle through, the “Ravens way” of defense stays true.
Dallas’ banged-up offensive line is going to have their hands full on Tuesday, so what can Kellen Moore do to get things going?
First things first, they need to get the ball into the hands of CeeDee Lamb as often as possible. He’s their best YAC player by a mile and can create big plays off wide receiver screens and quick game if needed.
This will help to take the pressure off of this offensive line as well, getting the ball out of Dalton’s hands quickly.
They also need to trust in Andy Dalton, even if it means going down with his mistakes. It’s going to be tough to grind this game out and win with a 100+ yard rushing day from Elliott. Explosive plays will be the name of the game, and if Dalton can get any sort of time in the pocket, they should be there to be made.
Lastly, on defense, they need to take advantage of a struggling Baltimore passing game. If they can stop the run on early downs and force Lamar Jackson to beat them downfield, there will be turnovers to be had.
It’s going to be a tall task for the Cowboys to win on the road this week, but if a few things break right they can do it.