Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 3, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 25:   Morris Claiborne #24 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are trying to save their season against the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons. And while Rob Ryan is so confident that he's calling his shot (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram), this team did spoil another unbeaten NFC South team's perfect season when they beat the Saints late in 2009. 

I do believe they have a good shot at pulling it off, but I'm still not sure I totally trust the mistake-prone Cowboys right now. Here's my final preview of Sunday night's game, along with a prediction.


What Dallas Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition: Play desperate and utilize your top-of-the-line receivers. 

What Dallas Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition: Stop Julio Jones and Roddy White, and the rest should take care of itself.

How Dallas Can Lose: by getting beat by Matt Ryan and that passing attack. 


5 Most Important Non-Quarterbacks: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Miles Austin

Carr and Claiborne will be in charge of stopping Jones and White. Ware is always one of the key cogs and the pass-rush leader. Witten and Austin will be featured in the passing game yet again. They all have to play well if Dallas wants to upset the unbeaten Falcons. 


Injury Analysis, Cowboys Edition

Out: Dan Connor (neck), Phil Costa (ankle), Matt Johnson (hamstring), Sean Lissemore (ankle), DeMarco Murray (foot)

Questionable: Dez Bryant (hip), Kevin Ogletree (hamstring)

Probable: Dwayne Harris (neck), Jason Hatcher (shin), Felix Jones (knee) 

Dallas is getting real thin at linebacker and is definitely banged up in the receiving corps. Bryant and Ogletree should be OK, but not having Connor could hurt with Sean Lee already out. We'll see how much Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez benefit for the Falcons.


Injury analysis Falcons edition

Out: Kevin Cone (groin), Garrett Reynolds (back), Sean Weatherspoon (ankle)

Questionable: Jonathan Babineaux (knee), Vance Walker (illness)

Probable: Matt Bryant (back), D.J. Davis (hamstring), Harry Douglas (ankle, knee), Roddy White (back)

Weatherspoon has been the best linebacker the Falcons have in coverage, which means Witten could be in for another very big day.  


B/R NFC East Blog Prediction

This is a very winnable game for the Cowboys, who are hopefully desperate. But I feel as though all of the air came out of them when they lost that heart-breaker against the Giants, and following that up in Atlanta in prime time will be tough. I'm not feeling particularly confident, but I'm giving the Falcons a close victory.

Falcons 27, Cowboys 24


NFL.com Injury Report