Prepare for a nailbiter, as the Atlanta Falcons opened as slight 3.0-point favorites over the Dallas Cowboys in their Week 11 matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm EST on November 18th.
Dallas’s offense relies on their ability to run the ball. But it hasn’t gotten them very far, as they only score 20.1 points per game. Without their success on the ground, though, it would be even less. Led by Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys total 133.4 yards per game on the ground.
Dak Prescott hasn’t been bad for Dallas, throwing for 1,930 yards and 11 TDs, but the offense is most dangerous when Elliott has the football. The RB has rushed for 831 yards (2nd) and four touchdowns this season, with 151 of those yards coming last week against the Eagles. Getting Elliott the football early and often will be pivotal on Sunday.
But even if Dallas’s offense falters, their defense is good enough to make up for it. The Cowboys only allow 19.0 points per game, the third-fewest in the league.
This defense prides themselves on stopping the run. Dallas only spots their opponent 96.7 rushing yards per game (8th). But considering the minimal points scored against them, opposing teams obviously aren’t having their way through the air, either.
Dallas’s defense has their work cut out for them this week against an Atlanta offense that is scoring points at will. Thanks to a lethal aerial attack, the Falcons are scoring 27.1 points per game (eighth). Matt Ryan has been exceptional for Atlanta this year, passing for 3,015 yards (3rd) with a 21:3 TD to INT ratio, good for a 113.2 passer rating.
Ryan wouldn’t want all the credit, though, as Julio Jones and the rest of his receivers have been great. His favorite target has brought in 67 passes for 1,040 receiving yards (1st) and two touchdowns this season. The success Ryan has had through the air has masked Atlanta’s average rushing attack. Led by Tevin Coleman, who has totaled 442 rushing yards, the Falcons average a reasonable 4.0 yards per carry (24th in the NFL). They haven’t been horrible on the ground, but this offense relies on the brilliance of Ryan.
The Falcons defense doesn’t deliver much help. They’re allowing a godawful 28.2 PPG, the fourth-most in the NFL. This is the result of them not being able to stop anything. Atlanta gives up 294.4 passing yards per game (30th) and 119.9 rushing (21st). It seems there will be plenty of touchdowns to go around for both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott this week.
The last meeting between these two came on November 12th, 2017, when Atlanta walked all over Dallas 27-7. The Falcons served as the favorite in that game, too, laying 3.5 points.