Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview

The eyes of the Cowboy Nation will be squarely on Brandon Weeden this Sunday. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
The eyes of the Cowboy Nation will be squarely on Brandon Weeden this Sunday.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Zach Walker

Game Info
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sunday – September 27 – 12:00 pm CT
AT&T Stadium – Arlington

Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
WR Julio Jones – It’s simple: slow down Julio Jones and you’ve got a chance. But that’s been a pipe dream through two games. Two games, 22 catches for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The eyes of Matt Ryan are seemingly always on the number 11 jersey, carving through defenses. It’s about as dangerous of a duo in the league as can be measured, and they operate with hell of a lot of trust. Where it’ll seem that Ryan will chunk up a pass, then Jones will just blindly turn and catch it, and it’ll just deflate defense. It might be in the Cowboys’ best interest to employ some double coverage on Jones, especially on crucial downs and distances. Or they could just use the rolled up newspaper approach of sicking JJ Wilcox on him for a crash course in going across the middle.

Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
QB Brandon Weeden – Breaking News: Tony Romo won’t be playing for a while. Now that that is a reality, the current situation is, it’s Brandon Weeden’s game. And if any out there can’t remember how he looked against Arizona last year, the quick and polite way of summing up that game was, he played poorly. This is going to be only his second start as a Cowboy, and the second at home, against a non-divisional opponent. The parallels end there, however, because then, he had an established running game with an established running back, and he’s coming into this game with neither of those things. The best news is that Ron Leary is likely coming back, and that should drastically change the push in the run game. Another change is the way that the offense has looked through two games, though the running backs aren’t taking handoffs the entire time, they are getting the ball in their mitts through the passing game, which always seemed very comfortable for Weeden, who seemingly prefers the check down.

Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Falcons’ Linebackers – The game plan for the Falcons is going to be shut down the Cowboys’ running backs and force Brandon Weeden to beat them. The Falcons have a couple of good linebackers, former Cowboy Justin Durant and rookie rush linebacker Vic Beasley.

Which group will give the Falcons fits?
The Cowboys’ Defensive line – Although the Falcons’ do have a left tackle that has Hercules-blood circulating through him, Jake Matthews, the Falcons haven’t done much to put more quality linemen around Matt Ryan. Though they did sign Jake Long recently, but they don’t have the guns upfront to match with the Cowboys’ rushmen. Jeremy Mincey put that opening night bone-headed penalty way behind him with a great game against the Eagles, and Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence had their way too, with the Eagles. I just don’t see that trend changing this weekend.

What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
A re-establishment of the running game. Hopefully, they left that bull-stuff in Philadelphia, in terms of penalties and misbehaving. But, I believe in the Cowboys’ team. Their collective mentally, a sum of all of their desires, to be great and overcome adverse situations. This Cowboys’ team knows how to dig deep, find some fortitude, and keep the fight alive.

Prediction: Dallas 21 – Atlanta 20