The Atlanta Falcons face the Dallas Cowboys for the second straight year. Dallas hasn’t beaten Atlanta in Atlanta since 2006. Coming into the game the Cowboys defense is one of the best units in the National Football League. They have a ton of talent and a bunch of guys that can make plays on that side of the ball. This won’t be an easy game for the Falcons by any means, but its a must win if they want to keep their wildcard hopes alive. Winning the division is out the picture, so this is a must-win for the Falcons. Beating teams like the Cowboys can go along way at the end of the season because everyone is fighting for the last playoff seed.
Tevin Coleman must be a huge factor today. The offense has to feature him in this game, and not just giving him carriers the Falcons must utilize him in the passing game as well. Everyone is going to be watching Ezekiel Elliot and how he’s going to perform versus our defense, so its a must that Coleman makes an impact on this game. The Cowboys are only giving up 96 yards a game on the ground this season, that’s great. The offense cannot get one dimensional in this game, because the Cowboys have some great pass rushers that can really get after the quarterback.
Matt Ryan cannot be forced to through 30-40 times in this game. The only way the Falcons can beat this Cowboys team is to establish a running game. You’re not going to be successful if the Cowboys know you’re throwing it every possession. Tevin Coleman should be huge today not only running the ball but receiving as well.
Calvin Ridley was passed over by the Dallas Cowboys in last years draft, and he’s going to make Jerry Jones and the Cowboys regret doing that. Expect a huge day from Ridley, possibly even multiple touchdowns and over 100 yards. I expect Ridley to be open in the zone coverage the Cowboys love to play. I believe if the Falcons have success throwing the ball then Ridley will be Ryan’s top target. The Cowboys will try and take Julio Jones away in this game, and he will see a lot of double and triple teams. Ridley has shown that he can beat one on one coverage, and he leads the team in touchdowns. Expect a huge day from the rookie.
This game will come down to who can control the line of scrimmage, and who can impose their will and run the ball. The team with the most rushing yards will win this game. I don’t think the Cowboys have the offensive firepower nor the quarterback to last in a shootout. This game will be won or lost in the trenches, and the Atlanta Falcons have to look to control the line of scrimmage as they did two weeks ago versus Washington. The offense is so dynamic when the Falcons can run because that sets up all of our play action.