5 daring predictions, together with how we may see a repeat efficiency from a Vikings rookie receiver in opposition to Dallas.
Jefferson will “Moss” the Cowboys
Keep in mind when Randy Moss destroyed the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 1998? We could also be a few days early on this matchup, however there’s a terrific likelihood that Justin Jefferson may have an analogous efficiency in opposition to Dallas on Sunday afternoon.
Jefferson is coming off the most effective total video games of his younger profession on Monday night time as he caught eight passes for 135 yards in Minnesota’s win over the Chicago Bears.
On this sport, the Vikings nearly appeared to shift their philosophy that if Dalvin Cook will get stopped, it will likely be Jefferson who will make defenses pay for switching their give attention to the backfield.
Since getting into the beginning lineup in Week 3, Jefferson has averaged 6.eight targets a sport. Though he obtained 10 targets on Monday night time, Minnesota won’t throw the ball as a lot in opposition to Dallas with Prepare dinner additionally projected to have an enormous day.
However this received’t cease Jefferson from dismantling a Cowboys protection that has allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season — second-most behind the Atlanta Falcons.
Notice that it solely took Moss three receptions to gather 163 yards and three touchdowns in his breakout sport again in 1998. Even when Jefferson will get the identical quantity, he ought to be in for an enormous afternoon.
A well being replace of some key gamers.
As closing preparations conclude for this battle on the highway, the Cowboys have a couple of gamers on their line of defense whose availability was up within the air as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory have been designated as questionable.
Lawrence has discovered his groove these days and is reminding everybody that he’s nonetheless one of many league’s finest edge rushers. Over the past 5 video games, he’s registered 23 tackles (six tackles for loss within the final three video games), 10 pressures, six hurries, three sacks, 4 quarterback hits, and two pressured fumbles. This all coming after not recording a single sack or hit on the quarterback within the first 4 video games.
Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t appear involved about his finest pass-rusher lacking Sunday’s sport, saying that every thing factors to him enjoying regardless of battling an sickness.
Cowboys designated DE DeMarcus Lawrence (sickness) and DE Randy Gregory (sickness) as questionable Sunday to play vs. Vikings. Mike McCarthy expressed hope that each shall be obtainable. Gregory a restricted participant at the moment
C Tyler Biadasz (hamstring) dominated out. Joe Looney to begin.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 20, 2020
The Cowboys shall be with out heart Tyler Biadasz who continues to be battling a hamstring damage suffered in pregame warmups in Week 9 in opposition to the Steelers. Fortunately, the Cowboys have insurance coverage on the place as veteran Joe Looney will make his second consecutive begin after coming back from an MCL Sprain suffered in Week Four in opposition to the Cleveland Browns
Figuring out the keys to victory.
The Cowboys will win if…
The Cowboys seemingly discovered their id a couple of weeks in the past however the Vikings will take a look at their dedication to enjoying as a blue-collar squad. Mike McCarthy and Co. should decide to enjoying a complementary model of soccer that permits the offense to assist the protection and particular groups with their efforts. With Andy Dalton put in because the Cowboys’ QB1, the staff wants a strong effort on the bottom from Elliott and Tony Pollard to stop the Vikings from promoting out with an all-out blitz assault on the veteran quarterback. If the Cowboys are in a position to run the ball early, it’ll allow Dalton to take advantage of some favorable match-ups on the skin within the passing sport. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup ought to win their one-on-one match-ups however Dalton will want sufficient time to focus on them on downfield throws. If the Cowboys join on three or extra explosives (20-plus yards), the Vikings might want to take away defenders out of the field and concede some speeding yards to Elliott and Pollard.
Defensively, the Cowboys should play their most bodily sport of the yr to decelerate the Vikings’ working sport. The line of defense should management the road of scrimmage whereas staying of their assigned gaps to stop No.33 from squirting via a seam. Jaylon Smith and LVE should personal the tackle-to-tackle field and maintain Prepare dinner from attending to the second degree. It will take a look at the general self-discipline of the entrance seven however a coordinated effort may also help the Cowboys put the sport again onto Cousins’ shoulders. Regardless of the Vikings’ success throwing the ball in latest week, the much-maligned quarterback struggled with turnovers early within the season and he’s liable to important errors within the clutch. If the Cowboys could make the Vikings throw on apparent passing downs, the turnovers may are available in bunches.
Film room: 3 bold predictions for Cowboys-Vikings, including Randy Gregory’s first sack of the season – John Owning, Dallas Morning News
Three daring predictions, together with how issues will go down within the rookie receiver battle.
Lamb will outgain Jefferson in showcase of prime rookies
Two of the NFL’s finest rookie receivers shall be on the sphere this Sunday for the Cowboys and Vikings.
Each receivers have put collectively excellent rookie season to this point, and it wouldn’t be shocking if both had an enormous day Sunday; nevertheless, I believe the most definitely sport script ought to lend itself extra to Lamb producing moderately Jefferson.
Whereas I count on the sport to be comparatively shut, I believe Minnesota shall be enjoying with a lead a lot of the sport, permitting them to stay to their most well-liked run-heavy sport script, which can restrict Jefferson’s alternatives. This implies the Cowboys would doubtless be enjoying from behind, which can result in a passing-heavy script from the Cowboys offense. In idea, this could result in extra alternatives within the passing sport for Lamb than his rookie up to date on the alternative sideline.
As well as, Lamb has a juicy matchup in opposition to Minnesota’s slot cornerback Jeff Gladney, who has allowed the ninth-most receiving yards (252) and tied for essentially the most touchdowns (three) in slot protection amongst CBs this season.
Weekly Cowboys notes, together with how issues may get ugly on the bottom.
3. Stopping the run.
No staff within the NFC permits extra speeding yards per sport than the Cowboys’ 157. The Vikings have the NFL’s fifth-best speeding assault, averaging 153.6 yards per sport. Minnesota star working again Dalvin Cook, who had 183 all-purpose yards and a landing final yr in opposition to the Cowboys, is main the NFL in speeding with 954 yards in eight video games. He additionally has an NFL-best 12 speeding touchdowns.
If that wasn’t dangerous sufficient, the Vikings have an analogous run scheme to the Cleveland Browns, who’re coached by Kevin Stefanski, Minnesota’s offensive coordinator final season. Towards the Browns in Week 4, the Cowboys allowed 307 speeding yards.
“I really feel like we’re a distinct staff,” Lawrence stated when requested in regards to the Vikings doubtlessly having an analogous end result Sunday. “We’re enjoying completely totally different, power is completely totally different and this is not going to be a repeat of the Browns sport. I really feel like our ft are beneath us, we’re beginning to play with extra of a soccer IQ and perceive extra of what our coaches need from us and we’re going on the market and enjoying onerous.”
Intestine emotions for at the moment’s sport.
David Helman: The Cowboys deserve a number of reward for the best way they performed in opposition to Pittsburgh, they usually have been praised a lot. However let’s not get it twisted: they misplaced, and that is now a 2-7 staff that has misplaced four-straight video games. Enjoying higher in defeat isn’t sufficient to persuade me that they’ve turned a nook. I’ve stated it lots this week, however this sport actually looks like a litmus take a look at for the remainder of the season. The Vikings are a strong however flawed staff that can be clawing to stay alive within the playoff hunt. If the Cowboys are literally rounding into a greater staff, they need to be capable to maintain this sport shut – or perhaps even win it. Sadly, I don’t see that second half taking place. I believe Minnesota has a slight edge at quarterback, and a particular edge with Dalvin Cook and their working sport. I believe Andy Dalton goes to play nicely and spark the offense to its finest effort since Dak Prescott obtained harm – one thing like 256 yards and two touchdowns. However I’m giving the sting to the Vikings, who will grind out a 27-21 win, largely because of Prepare dinner.
Closing ideas on how the Vikings can carve out their fourth straight win.
Emphasis on containing Elliott | By @pcraigers
Since getting into the NFL because the fourth total decide of the 2016 NFL Draft, Elliott has been one of many hardest working backs to sort out. Elliott has been credited with 89 damaged tackles, in keeping with Sportradar, which ranks sixth within the NFL.
That elusiveness has helped Elliott complete 5,977 speeding yards, which leads the NFL since 2016 by greater than 1,000 yards (Todd Gurley II is subsequent at 4,882). Elliott’s complete contains 3,202 yards earlier than contact and a pair of,775 after contact.
Elliott led the NFL in every of his first three seasons in speeding yards per sport with 108.7 as a rookie, 98.Three in 2017 and 95.6 in 2018. Enjoying this season with out a few of his previous working mates on the Dallas offensive line, Elliott is averaging 63.6 yards per sport in 2020.
In keeping with Sportradar, Elliott has totaled 161 rushes which have gained 10 or extra yards throughout his NFL profession. That quantity is 34 greater than Gurley’s 127, which rank second since 2016. The 161 additionally contains 35 runs of 20 or extra yards, which additionally leads the NFL in that span.
Elliott has been restricted to 13 runs of 10-plus yards and simply considered one of 20-plus this season, however the Vikings nonetheless imagine he poses an incredible risk.
“He’s explosive. He’s highly effective. He’s obtained nice imaginative and prescient. And he runs with a low pad degree,” Vikings Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson stated Thursday. “He has the power to run via the primary sort out, and that’s what makes him so harmful. He likes to stretch the ball after which put his foot within the floor after which reduce downhill full-speed. I believe that’s what makes him a particular working again.”
Like everybody else on this staff, Zeke is impacted by Dak’s absence and the banged up offensive line.
Expert predictions for Cowboys-Vikings: Will Andy Dalton, defensive improvement put Dallas over the top at Minnesota? – Staff, Dallas Morning News
Some weekly predictions.
So the Cowboys imagine they’ve turned the nook from a defensive standpoint, particularly after the trouble in opposition to the Steelers earlier than the bye week. Now with Andy Dalton anticipated again, no style buds and all, that is one other take a look at for this Cowboys staff to see if it could possibly get again within the NFC East race. Not taking place. Vikings are on a roll.
Vikings 31, Cowboys 17.
It’s nearly unanimous within the favor of the Vikings, however that is one anomaly.
Simply when Vikings followers thought the schedule was most secure, they run right into a … surprisingly aggressive Dallas staff? Was the Pittsburgh sport an entire mirage, or an indication of a nook being turned? Regardless, Andy Dalton brings the offense again as much as 3/Four pace, Zeke Elliott ought to discover at the very least a couple of working lanes and the Dallas protection tries to show its shutdown of the Steelers’ run sport means Dalvin Prepare dinner will work for his yards Sunday afternoon.
Cowboys 20, Vikings 16.
Is it potential that this one comes right down to the wire?
It’s fairly simple to say that the sport will come right down to the play of the quarterbacks. Within the fashionable NFL that’s only one step up from, “whoever scores essentially the most factors will win.” However Dalton and Kirk Cousins are each large x-factors who’re able to massive swings in both course.
We noticed Good Dalton when he stepped in for an injured Dak Prescott and helped Dallas keep solvent and get a division win over the Giants. However when Zack Martin obtained harm rapidly within the following sport, the offense crumbled and Andy was as a lot as fault for that as anybody.
Cousins has additionally been a blended bag this yr. His 11 interceptions to this point in 2020 is second-most within the league behind Carson Wentz, however solely a kind of was thrown because the bye week. And surprise-surprise, the Vikings haven’t misplaced any video games since he stopped giving the ball away.
Dallas and Minnesota aren’t that totally different of their total staff rankings. Nonetheless driving the stats that Prescott put up earlier this yr, the Cowboys’ offense is ranked eighth total and the Vikings are proper behind them in ninth place. Defensively, Dallas is 23rd and Minnesota 24th in yards allowed per sport.
The Cowboys can have an additional week of relaxation and prep from the bye whereas the Vikings simply performed final Monday night time. Even when Minnesota is the higher staff, is it shut sufficient for these components to swing issues Dallas’ method?
Examine to see if the sport is being televised in your space courtesy of the coverage map from 506 sports.
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