By DaVince “Dino” Wright
Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys
Sunday – January 2 – 3:25 p.m.
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, TX
Records Before the Game
Arizona Cardinals (10-5, 7-1 Away)
Dallas Cowboys (11-4, 5-2 Home)
Dallas has clinched the NFC East this and is gearing up for the playoffs. In the Cowboys last game at home, they thrashed the Washington Football Team 56-14. The offense was clicking on all cylinders like a fine turned Maserati on the German Autobahn. Dallas is on a 4-game win streak with wins over Washington at home, New York Giants, Washington on the road and New Orleans. Their last loss was on Thanksgiving Day to the Raiders at home (a game they should’ve won). A win at home this week will bring them closer to that elusive number 1 spot in the NFC. Let’s take a look at this week’s NFC match up against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.
The Cowboys Game Plan
The Dallas Cowboys offense looked great against Washington. The run game was established early by Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard. The offensive line came out and beat up the Washington defensive front. The Dallas offensive line has played better over the past five games and is ready for the playoffs. Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore will need to be the mastermind to keep the Cowboys solid in the run and passing game.
Since the return of starting quarterback Kylar Murray, the Cardinals are 1-3 in their last four games. Murray has shown rust in the passing game. His favorite target on the outside is wide out Christian Kirk. Dallas’s cornerback Trevon Diggs will likely get the assignment of covering him. The Cardinals offense is dangerous. Don’t let their struggles fool you. Running back James Conner (heel) is a game-time decision. If he returns he’ll share time with Chase Edmonds who is serviceable when pressed into action. The Cardinals defense will have their hands full. They have a better sack rate and percentage than Dallas. they’ll be without J.J. Watt and DE Jordan Phillips on the defensive line.
Quarterback Dak Prescott will be the key for the Dallas offense. He doesn’t need to carry the team, but leading the team is his job. Establishing the run will be at the top of the list for Dallas. The Cowboys tight ends have been the x-factor for Dallas all season. Dalton Shultz and Sean McKeon will be ready to make big plays in the middle of the field. Pass blocking from the tight end before leaking out will be a huge factor in the middle of field especially on passing downs. Dallas’ defense will need to apply pressure to Arizona’s quarterback Kyler Murray. He struggles with the 2-safety high look from defenses. He can’t get the ball down field. The Dallas defense will need to apply pressure to him early and often and keep him contained because we all know of his speed and shiftiness as a ball carrier.
ESPN has the Cowboys with a 57.2% chance of winning at home. This will NOT be a easy win for Dallas. The Cardinals offense can score in bunches. Their defense is solid and can create turnovers easily. The key for a Cowboy win will be solid defensive plays all game long. I’m taking Dallas by 10!
Cowboys – 31
Cardinals – 21