The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFC South after winning back-to-back games against the Eagles at home (26-24) and the Giants on the road (24-20). In New York, and after trailing 20-10 at the end of the third period, QB Matt Ryan delivered an impressive fourth quarter performance, producing 14 unanswered points and taking his team to victory. The Falcons signal-caller has completed 66.3 percent of his throws for 661 yards (3rd in the league), with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Atlanta’s passing game has been outstanding so far and the Matt-Ryan-to-Julio-Jones formula seems to be working better than ever. Rookie RB Tevin Coleman will probably sit out this game with an injured rib, which means that RB Devonta Freeman should have a huge role against Dallas. Defensively, the Falcons are a completely different team under new head coach Dan Quinn and the numbers prove it. They are allowing only 80.0 rushing yards (9th in the league) and 22.0 points (13th in the league) per game, so far this season.
Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
With two victories against teams within their division, the Dallas Cowboys are atop of the NFC East. But the near future doesn’t look all that promising for them, having their two best players sidelined with injuries: QB Tony Romo is expected to miss 8 weeks with a broken collarbone, and WR Dez Bryant probably won’t return before Week 10, with a foot injury. Against the Eagles, backup QB Brandon Weeden completed 7 of 7 pass attempts, for 73 yards and a touchdown, and he will have the keys to this offense until Romo is ready to return. With running backs Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle sharing the carries, the ground game wasn’t as effective as expected, but it will have to improve immediately, as it is the only way of keeping Brandon Weeden more comfortable and easing the pressure off his arm. LB Sean Lee is the uncontested leader of a Dallas defensive unit that has been playing good football these first two weeks, conceding only 257.5 yards (3rd in the league) and 18.0 points (6th in the league) per game.
One has to respect the way this Cowboys team has been playing without their best players on the field, but it’s hard to believe that it will continue down the stretch, starting against a confident Atlanta Falcons side that has been firing on all cylinders. Atlanta has been averaging almost 400 yards per game on offense, and the Cowboys defense won’t be able to do it all, which means that effectively running the football and managing the game clock will be crucial for the Dallas Cowboys to remain undefeated.
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