By: Greg Rector
Minnesota Vikings vs Dallas Cowboys
This week’s Sunday Night Football match up sees the 6-3 Vikings visit AT&T Stadium to play the 5-3 Dallas Cowboys.
This game will come down to identical keys for both sides. Will Cook run wild and open up the Vikings play-action game to Stefon Diggs? Or will it be Elliott doing so for the Cowboys? Which front seven can limit the opponent from doing what makes both teams offenses go?
The Vikings are coming off a tough loss in Kansas City, and do not want to fall further behind the NFC North-leading Packers. Meanwhile, the Cowboys return home where they have been good so far. Notice I didn’t use very before good? That’s due to of course to their propensity to not start games well with the one exception against Philadelphia. That’s going to be the biggest key in my opinion. Give this Vikings offense life and you’re going to be down in a hurry. The Vikings though have had no success on the road. They haven’t been brutal, but are a different team away from home.
Kirk Cousins, has a horrible prime time record, losing more than 75% of the games played under the bright lights. His stats take a huge nosedive in these games. Put him under pressure, and he becomes a mistake-prone QB. The Cowboys defense has to be sharks smelling blood in the water. In order to do that though, first and foremost must be stopping Dalvin Cook. Coming off an outstanding effort against Saquon Barkley, on Monday night, a repeat performance is necessary. The other major threat is Stefon Diggs. The Cowboys secondary must limit his yards after the catch. No one can fly as fast as Tyreek Hill, but Diggs is definitely just one notch down from Hill.
On the offensive side of the game, the Vikings are facing the same kind of task as last week. Who to cover and when? The Cowboys have used everyone so keying in on any one of Prescott’s targets, means you are going to leave someone open who can do damage in the passing game. They also must deal with the Cowboys offensive line, a much better unit than they have played against so far. Lose the battle in the trenches, and they are in trouble. I don’t see the Cowboys striking quickly against a good Vikings secondary, so Prescott will need to be patient, and take what’s given to him. The script, as usual, is let the big boys wear down the Vikings front seven by running Zeke, and then find the open receiver’s as needed to keep moving the chains.
If the Cowboys dictate the game the way they are capable of, they will make the Vikings road woes continue. 35% of the time teams lose both back to back road games, and I see that happening to the Vikings Sunday night. If it was an afternoon start, I would have it as a three point game, but with Cousins being awful at night, I have the Cowboys winning this one by a touchdown.
Prediction Dallas 27 Minnesota 20
You can find me on Twitter @GregCowboys