The (2-0) Dallas Cowboys will make the trip out to Glendale, Arizona to take on the (0-2) Arizona Cardinals. These are two teams on the opposite end of the NFL spectrum. The Cowboys are undefeated with aspirations of going go the SuperBowl. The Cardinals are winless with expectations of having one of the worst records in the league.
Last week Arizona lost to the New York Giants, 31-28. This was an epic collapse as the Cardinals were up 28-7 midway through the third quarter. The Giants scored 24 unanswered points to comeback and win the game. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones went 26/37 for 321 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The bright spot for Arizona was running back James Conner. Conner had 23 carries for 106 yards and one touchdown.
The Cowboys destroyed the New York Jets in their week two win, 30-10. The result of this game was never in question as Dallas dominated from start to finish. New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson threw three interceptions. Prescott went 31/38 for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
Cardinals Keys To Victory
Put Pressure on Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott has been pretty comfortable in the pocket so far this season. He has been pressure on less than 11% of his passes. The Cardinals front seven has been able to create pressure in the first two games. In their first game against the Washington Commanders, Arizona had six sacks.
In the second game, the Cardinals pressured Daniel Jones on 17.8% of his passes. If the Cardinals are able to pressure Prescott at the same rate in which they got to Commanders quarterback Sam Howell and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. It will go a long way in giving them a chance to pull off the upset.
Slow down Micah Parsons and Company
The Dallas Cowboys have only given up 10 points total in their first two games. A big part of their success on defense is the pressure that is created by the front seven. In their first game against the New York Giants, the Cowboys pressured Daniel Jones on 38.1% of his drop backs. That is an astounding amount of pressure that Jones was under.
In the second game of the season, Jets quarterback Zach Wilson was pressured on 26.5% of his drop backs. The Cardinals will not have a chance in this game if they allow their quarterback Joshua Dobbs to be pressured on more than 20% of his passes. They may have to keep a tight end or running back in on passing plays to help with pass protection. Arizona could also run lots of screen plays to slow down the pass rush.
Cowboys Keys To Victory
Make the Cardinals Pass the Rock
The Dallas Cowboys are heavily favored to win this game. The spread is currently Cowboys -12.5. This is a massive spread in the NFL, especially for the road team. One of the reasons they are expected to win by such a big margin is the play of their defense. For the Cowboys to defeat the Cardinals, they have to stop James Conner.
If Conner is not able to get going, this will make Arizona one-dimensional on offense. Once the Cardinals are in must pass situations they will be playing right into the Cowboys’ hands. This is where Micah Parsons and the rest of that defensive line can really go to work.
Attack the Cardinals Defense Downfield
The Cardinals are dealing with injuries to some of their most important players. The biggest name on the injury report for Arizona is all-pro safety Budda Baker. The Cowboys should take advantage of the young secondary for Arizona. Dallas will look to establish the run and then run play-action off of it.
So far this season Dak Prescott has passed the ball 13 times off of play-action. Dallas has gained 86 yards on those 13 plays. That is 6.6 yards per play. The Cowboys should run 10 to 15 play-action plays against the Cardinals. This will slow down the pass rush and cause the linebackers to react to the threat of the run. If it is successful deep passes will be open for Prescott.
The Cardinals defense will keep this game close in the first half. Then in the second half Dallas will pull away as the Cowboys offense starts to find a rhythm. The consistent pressure that the Cowboys front seven provides will make it a very tough game for Joshua Dobbs and the Cardinals offense. Cowboys will win this game, 28-10.