The Dallas Cowboys (6-3) travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings (8-1) at 4:25 pm (EST) at U.S. Bank Stadium. Dallas is a 1.5-point favorite and given a 56.6% chance to win according to ESPN’s FPI. With that let’s take a look at what to expect from Dallas vs. Minnesota.
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a tough 31-28 OT loss. Dallas held a 14-point lead before the Packers rallied to stun the Cowboys in overtime. Dallas now has a tough task against a Vikings team who just won the game of the year beating the Bills. Dallas needs a win big time after losing to the Packers. A win for Dallas would put them at 7-4, giving them a big quality win (though some would say it was a classic let down by the Vikings). A loss would put the Cowboys on a two-game losing streak, dropping them to 6-4. It would raise questions about how good this team is, losing another big game.
What To Watch
What I’ll be watching on Sunday is the Dallas defense. This year the Cowboys’ defense has allowed 349.8 yards of total offense with 206.7 passing and 143.1 rushing. Last week against the Packers they gave up 415 yards of total offense (208 passing and 207 rushing) with 20 first downs and allowed them to hold the ball for 35:55 minutes. They cannot afford for the Vikings to do this as they are typically inconsistent offensively.
Even with consistency issues they still average 372.4 yards of total offense with 265.4 passing and 107.0 rushing. The Vikings also average 25.1 points per game. Dallas will have their hands full with a loaded offense (as was showcased last week) with Jefferson, Thielen, Hockenson, and Cook. Dallas will need to find ways to stop this high-octane offense, especially one that just took down the Bills. If they can find a way to get pressure consistently and keep Minnesota from doing what they do in the fourth quarter, they will have a great shot at winning this game.
The biggest question I have is can Dallas’s offense step up in the big game? The Cowboys are facing a defense that gives up a lot of yards but is good at not allowing a ton of points in return with 21.2 per game. The Vikings allow 400.2 yards of total offense with 281.9 passing and 118.3 rushing. The Cowboys will need to find ways to have players outside of Lamb, Pollard, and Prescott to have big games. With Elliot listed as questionable they’ll need to rely on the others to step up offensively on Sunday.
The Cowboys have also struggled in key situations like third-down where they have a 37.17% conversion rate (25th in the league). If they cannot find a way to take advantage of third down, it could spell trouble. They must find ways to keep drives alive against a good Vikings defense. If not, they could end up in a bad situation in a tough road environment.
The Dallas Cowboys currently have five players listed on their injury list.
- Anthony Brown (CB) – Concussion
- Quinton Bohanna (DT) – Illness
- Ezekiel Elliot (RB) – Knee
- DeMarcus Lawrence (DE) – Foot
- Anthony Barr (LB) – Hamstring
Brown, Barr, and Elliott were all limited participants at Thursday’s practice. There was no status on their availability for Sunday’s game. Lawrence didn’t practice on Wednesday and Bohanna missed Thursday’s practice.
The Vikings are coming off their biggest win in years. Minnesota beat the Buffalo Bills 33-30 in OT in the game of the year. The Vikings are riding high after the win sitting at 8-1 tied for first place in the NFC with the Eagles (who hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over them). A win for the Vikings would put them at 9-1, continuing their fantastic start to the season. A loss would drop them to 8-2 and would likely be the result of a classic letdown. The Vikings look to continue to build upon their lead in the NFC in which they hold a 4.5 game lead over the Green Bay Packers.
What To Watch
The Vikings defense will be the focus of my attention Sunday afternoon. The Vikings defense was a beast last Sunday getting four turnovers in their win over Buffalo. The Vikings are in second in the league in turnovers per game with two. This has been huge for them this season, from helping them get back into games or sealing victories, it doesn’t matter, they just take the ball away from people and don’t give it back as they own a +0.9 turnover margin per game.
They do allow a lot of yards per game, allowing 400.2 yards of total offense, but hold teams to 21.2 points per game where they rank 14th in the league. Their opponent in Dallas ranks 11th in points per game with 23.4. Thankfully Dallas is a semi-limited offense with only Lamb, Pollard, and Prescott (Elliot is currently questionable and has struggled a lot this year). If they can shut down Lamb and Pollard and force someone else to step up it’ll give them their best chance at shutting down the Cowboys’ offense and winning the game.
Can Minnesota replicate their fourth quarter offensive efforts against Buffalo for a full four quarters? If they can even do this for two or three quarters teams will be in trouble, let alone a full four quarters. Their offense has been hit or miss all season long. They are fantastic on opening drives, typically scoring right away, but then cool off and don’t do anything for a prolonged period of time.
For an offense this loaded they really should be more consistent. If they can find a way to do this more consistently, their 8-1 record could get much higher and they could be looking at a potential postseason run. If not, then we’ll likely keep getting the Viking team that shows up big time in the fourth quarter for another clutch game winning drive.
The Minnesota Vikings currently have five players on their injury list.
- Za’Darius Smith (LB) – Knee
- Justin Jefferson (WR) – Toe
- Dalvin Tomlinson (DT) – Calf
- Christian Darrisaw (OT) – Concussion
- Akayleb Evans (CB) – Concussion
Smith, Jefferson, and Darrisaw were all limited participants at practice on Thursday. Tomlinson and Evans both did not participate at practice on Thursday. All of their statuses for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys is currently unknown at the moment.
My bold prediction for the game will be that the Vikings will win by more than eight points. That’s right. The Viking will finally win a game that isn’t by one score since week one against the Packers. The Vikings and their fans have been waiting for this and it’ll happen. Dallas is just outmatched in this game on offense. The Vikings are riding on the momentum from their win and it will carry over into this week propelling them to another big win to get to 9-1.
The following betting lines are according to ESPN’s Pick Center.
- Dallas: -1.5
- Minnesota: +1.5
- Dallas: -125
- Minnesota: +110
Where To Watch
Dallas vs. Minnesota will air on CBS at 4:25 pm (EST). Commentating the game will be Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analyst), and Tracy Wolfson (sideline). Streaming services that have CBS are Hulu (with live TV), fubo TV, Sling TV, DirectTV Stream, Paramount Plus (formally known as CBS All Access), and Youtube TV.
Unfortunately, for the Cowboys their losing streak will extend to two games. The Vikings will come out hot looking to keep their momentum going from last week. They’ll take an early 10-3 lead before stalling like they normally do. Out of the half they’ll take off and begin to run away with the game a bit. Dallas’ defense will struggle, and their offense won’t be able to match the fire power of the Vikings. In the end the talent gap between the two is just too great. Minnesota wins 34-17.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE