For the most part, the 2016 Dallas Cowboys have been on the right side of historic achievements. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have this team playing tonight for their 11th straight win, already a franchise record.
The Dallas defense has seemed like an after thought at times thanks to this high-flying offense, and because the team is finding ways to win even when the defense struggles, but Rod Marinelli’s unit has set a record that they’ll look to end as soon as possible over the last four weeks.
The #Cowboys have won four consecutive games without their defense creating a turnover, the longest such streak in #NFL history
So, could Dallas’ trip to Minnesota end with the Cowboys taking the ball away from Sam Bradford and Co.?
The match ups are certainly favorable.
The Cowboys will welcome back SS Barry Church in this game, who was playing some inspired football prior to his arm injury. Often criticized for his range in coverage skills, Church had the clutch interception of Kirk Cousins in the end zone back in a week 2 road win.
Cousins, throwing against a Dallas defense without Church on the field, put up 449 passing yards on Thanksgiving in a loss to the Cowboys – facing little pressure from the much-maligned Cowboys front four.
The Vikings have seen Sam Bradford sacked 26 times this season. In six consecutive games prior to Thanksgiving in Detroit, Bradford was sacked at least twice, and threw two interceptions during that stretch.
QB who still plays at about the level we would expect from an Eagles player former Eagles quarterback also threw the game-ending interception against the Lions, a direct result of the pressure he’s faced paired with some of the poor decision making he’s displayed.
The strength of the Cowboys defensive line is on the interior, with defensive tackles David Irving, Terrell McClain, Cedric Thornton, and rookie Maliek Collins all rotating meaningful snaps and playing well. If they can get in the face of Bradford consistently, he will be much more susceptible to toss a pass that is caught by a player wearing the better color rush uniform.
Lastly, it appears that Mark Nzeocha will find his way back to the active roster for this game with Justin Durant out. This would make the Cowboys linebackers squad Sean Lee (who’s intercepted Bradford before), Damien Wilson (who played his college football at Minnesota), and Nzeocha – who recorded an interception back in the Cowboys’ preseason opener against the LA Rams.
The Cowboys defense is going to be flying around tonight, making the plays that Cowboys Nation have seen all season long from this scrappy unit in front of a national audience. At some point, they’re going to steal the ball away and give Prescott and Elliott an extra possession.
Everything will be awesome. See our Inside The Star Staff Game Picks right here!
Do you see the Cowboys defense finally forcing a turnover against the Vikings? Let us know! Comment below with who you think will come up with the big play, or email me any feedback at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!