The Cowboys entered each of the last few seasons as one of the more talented teams in the league. And each of those seasons, they have rendered disappointment. Whether injuries or untimely mistakes ruined their chances, Dallas just can’t seem to get over the hump.
Quarterback Tony Romo is coming off a five-interception performance in Week 4’s 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears. While the Ravens have shown vulnerability this season—allowing 379.8 yards per game—it is not the kind of defense you want to see to boost one’s confidence.
The Ravens—in a much different way—are looking for pick-me-up themselves, following last week’s 9-6 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
If not for Kansas City’s four costly turnovers and its crackpot commitment to quarterback Matt Cassel—who left the game with a concussion and has been ruled out for this week’s contest with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—the Ravens would be entering Sunday with a dreadful loss on their resume as well.
This matchup features plenty of playmakers, but also has the makings of a grind-it-out type of game.
Here is one bold prediction for each team in Sunday’s contest:
Jason Witten Records 10 Receptions, 100 Yards and 1 Touchdown
No one knew what to expect from Jason Witten this season with his spleen injury, but the veteran tight end seems like his old self and hasn’t missed a beat as one of Romo’s go-to receivers. His 33 targets and 21 receptions are both tied for the team lead with Dez Bryant.
Though in a loss, Witten’s 112 yards and one touchdown on 13 receptions could be a sign that Romo will be looking his way a lot more often as the season progresses.
As teams try to focus on Miles Austin and Bryant on the outside, Witten is left wide open in the middle of the field—nothing different from his entire career. Things won’t change this week against the Ravens.
While the Ravens are giving up an unusual amount of yards to the opposition, they are still only allowing 17.8 points per game, good for seventh in the NFL. What this says is that Baltimore is willing to let teams march up and down the field, but tightens up when it counts.
Witten should have plenty of space to work with on Sunday and Romo would do well to find him.
Torrey Smith Scores on 60-Yard Touchdown Reception
Torrey Smith is one of the more electrifying wide receivers in the NFL. He has used his great vertical speed to average 19.5 yards per reception, good for fourth in the entire league.
Quarterback Joe Flacco likes to spread the ball around, but has the big arm to hit his targets over the top.
Baltimore should pound the ball at a Cowboys defense that has allowed 108 rushing yards per game this season. This will keep the Dallas front seven pressing forward and on the field a lot, which could result in a lot of one-on-one matchups on the edge.
While Dallas cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Mike Jenkins and Morris Claiborne are very skilled, Smith is as good as they come getting behind the opposing defense.