The Minnesota Vikings (6-3) will travel to Dallas this weekend to face the Cowboys (5-3) in a big showdown Sunday night. This match is essential for both teams in their quest for a place for the playoffs. Dallas has just won a brilliant victory against the New York Giants Monday night. Minnesota have lost three points in Kansas City last weekend.
The story of this game could very well consist of better repair preforms. The Vikings have the league's top scorer, Dalvin Cook, and Dallas has his own star, Ezekiel Elliott. The Vikings and Cowboys rank third and fourth in the number of yards per game, both averaging more than 145 yards per game.
Both teams also have very strong defenses. The Vikings only allowed 17.6 points per game, the league's fourth best result, and limit their opponents to 95 rushing yards per game, making it the eighth best result in the league. Dallas is only one place behind the Vikings in points per game, allowing only 17.8. They also allowed 221 passing yards per game, seventh best in the NFL.
It sounds like a good game, so before Dallas and Minnesota face each other, check out our three predictions for the game.
1. The Dallas defense keeps Violation midfielder Dalvin Cook within 95 yards of the win.
At the beginning of the season, one of the recurring themes of the Dallas defense was the impossibility of stopping the race. No match comes to my mind more than the clash with the Green Bay Packers, where Aaron Jones ran the Cowboys with 107 yards and four touchdowns. However, since their clash with the Packers, the Cowboys' defense has not allowed a half-offensive to record more than 50 rushing yards in a game.
Dallas battled some of the league's most talented runners in this sequence at Le'Veon Bell, Jordan Howard and Saquon Barkley. This week's Dallas defense will be tested more than it has been all season. Dalvin Cook arrives in town and the best rush of the NFL has had a great season.
Cook has accumulated at least 95 yards in six of the Vikings' nine games and has scored 110 points five times. In Week 2 against Green Bay, Cook racked up 154 yards in 20 races, and more recently, in Week 7 against Detroit, he has amassed 142 yards in 25 races.
The former Florida State Seminole is the engine that makes the Vikings attack. When Cook rushes over 95 meters, Minnesota is 5-1. The plan is clear, if you want to beat the Vikings, you have to hold Cook. Easier to say than to do, but the Dallas defense will do it this Sunday.
The Cowboys are likely to get Leighton Vander Esch back in defense, which will be a huge addition to stop the race. With Michael Bennett added on the defensive front, Dallas has clearly enough talent to stop a talented running back. Last week, they were great against Saquon Barkley, thanks to the great day of DeMarcus Lawrence. If Dallas wants to win this game, he needs a big day on number 90 Sunday.
The key for the Cowboys is that if they can limit Cook, they put the ball in the hands of Kirk Cousins. Cousins has had no success against Dallas in his career, registering a 1-6 record against the Cowboys. Cook will not be completely stopped on Sunday, but the Dallas defense will do everything in its power to contain it and keep it below the 95-meter mark for the fourth time this season.
2. Ezekiel Elliott steals the show, accumulating 125 yards with two touchdowns.
Despite all the talk about Dalvin Cook, the Cowboys still have the best football running back from their side, Ezekiel Elliott. Last week against New York, Elliott totally dominated, rushing for an easy 139-yard pass. For the past two weeks, the Dallas offensive line has been outstanding in the run and has allowed Zeke to play two games for 100 yards in a row.
Ezekiel Elliott was dominant Monday night, as was the offensive line, but he made some great runs that earned him tight fouls. pic.twitter.com/lQeZGmjfXd
– Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) November 6, 2019
Sunday will be no different and Elliott will show the world on television which is the real best ball in football. Despite all the rumors that Elliott would have a "retreating year," he still racked up more than 100 yards in five of the Cowboys' eight games, and during a game against Green Bay where he did not play. had not done, he did not enter the team so early in such a big hole.
Minnesota have only allowed two 100-yard races so far this season, and that number will increase Sunday. Yes, the Vikings' defense has scored quite a few points this year, allowing opposing teams to reach an average of only 95 rushing yards, but they have not faced such a talented runner as Elliott. When Minnesota played against the Giants, Saquon Barkley was absent. When they faced Aaron Jones, he traveled over 100 meters. Last weekend, Damien Williams of the Kansas City Chiefs also played 125 games against them.
Jones and Williams are strong backs, but not nearly as close to Ezekiel Elliott's level. Sunday Elliott will control the game in the first game, leading to more than 125 yards, two touchdowns and, ultimately, a Cowboy victory.
3. Dallas wins the battle of the halves, 28-24.
If you divide these two teams by position, you will find that they are tied. Both teams rely on the game being run to be the catalyst for their attack. Both teams have very talented offensive and defensive lines, and both have strong side leads.
The place where Dallas has the advantage is at the quarter point. Say what you want about Kirk Cousins this season and his 16 touchdowns to three interceptions, but simply, he just can not beat the Dallas Cowboys. The Cousins 1-6 record will go to 1-7 after Sunday, he will be clearly outperformed by Prescott. Late in the afternoon or late evening, Cousins has a career record of 9-23. When the lights shine, it is not usually the case of cousins.
The Vikings' defense has enough talent not to allow Prescott to have a memorable day, but he will do what the Cousins will not do: take care of football. In the battle of the half-offensives, Ezekiel Elliott will clearly advance Dalvin Cook. Dallas will arrive at the Cousins to register two bags, but especially will force him to an expensive turn-over late in the game. Dan Bailey will also miss a big goal on the field just before the half that would have given Minnesota the lead.
The Cowboys will continue to roll, pushing their winning streak to three in a row.