The Dallas Cowboys will try once again to win back to back games for the first time this season. Both Dallas and their opponent, the Atlanta Falcons will enter the game with identical 4-5 records. It’s very close to a must-win situation for both teams and bout teams will be playing with desperation. Here are my five keys to victory for the Dallas Cowboys.
1. Dak Prescott must avoid flashbacks of 2017
A little over a year ago Dallas was sitting pretty at 5-3 and then they made a trip to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Dak Prescott was battered and beaten that day including being sacked eight times. Dak really struggled the remainder of that season and the first part of this year. The past couple of games have been better for Dak and it’s key for him to focus on the present and not allow his thoughts to wander back to what happened on that same field one year ago.
2. Continue to use Amari Cooper
Amari Cooper has played two games with Dallas and he’s had a major impact on the offense. Cooper has been the leading receiver for Dallas the last two weeks, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of his impact. Of his 11 catches, all but one of those has resulted in a first down. Before Amari Cooper, the Cowboys were converting only 31 percent of their third downs, which was near the bottom of the league. With Cooper, the past two games Dallas has converted 48 percent of their third downs. Dallas must keep Cooper involved in the offense early and often on Sunday.
3. Feed Zeke
Ezekiel Elliott had a huge game in Philadelphia last week. He totaled 186 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Falcons allowed Cleveland Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb to total 209 yards and two touchdowns last week. Atlanta’s Defense has struggled most the season and Zeke should be in line for a huge game. If he fails to have a big game the Cowboys will likely struggle to win the game.
4. Brett Maher must make his kicks
Brett Maher has had an up and down season. After missing his first kick of the season, he rebounded to make his next 16 straight. He has now missed three of his last five. Every point is going to be critical on Sunday and Dallas is going to need Maher to make every FG and XP on Sunday.
5. The defense must accept their toughest challenge.
The Dallas Defense has been good this season. The question is how good are they. While their numbers are impressive, they haven’t faced an offense that ranks in the top 12. That will change on Sunday. Atlanta ranks 10th and their offense has been extremely explosive at home. They are averaging 32 points a game at home. Dallas has a young and talented defense, but Sunday will be their stiffest test yet. If they can hold Atlanta under 20 points they will not only prove they have a playoff caliber defense. They will also likely head home with a much-needed victory
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