The Ezekiel Elliott drama continued yesterday with news that his appeal for an emergency injunction was denied. This means he will be forced to serve his six-game suspension. I’m pretty sure most Dallas fans are upset he won’t be playing this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, as am I, but let’s take of look at how our Cowboys will fare sans Zeke.
The Falcons are ranked 18th in their run defense. Last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars racked up 201 yards on Atlanta beating them 13-7. Cowboys are ranked 2nd in the league in rushing yards per game (148), but that doesn’t really mater now since our starting running back won’t be contributing this weekend. It will have to fall to veterans Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, and Darren McFadden to pick up the slack in Zeke’s absence. Coach Jason Garret has not specified how he is going to incorporate the three different running backs during the game, but I suspect most of the snaps are going to go to the six year veteran Morris.
Another fact to remember is that Dallas is really good at controlling the clock. They’re ranked 10th in the NFL in time of possession averaging 30 minutes and 46 seconds with the ball per game. Atlanta is ranked 23rd at 28 minutes and 44 seconds. If Dallas can keep the ball and run down the clock, this game will go our way.
The Falcons do pretty well in terms of yards per play. They’re currently ranked 2nd in the NFL averaging 6.17 yards per play, and 4th in rushing and passing yards per play (4.63 & 7.25). The thing to remember is that Dallas’ defense has picked it up this season. DeMarcus Lawrence is 2nd in the NFL in sacks this season at 10.5, and gargantuan David Irving (6’7, 273lbs) has been contributing to the defense since he came back from his suspension. The defense knows what’s on the line and you can bet they’ll be gunning for quarterback Matt Ryan.
This will be a close game but at least now we will be able to see how Dallas will fare without Zeke. I’m predicting a Dallas win 21-17. Go Cowboys!
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