The Landry Hat staff of contributors give their predictions for the Week Ten matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
October 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and players celebrate after a defensive stop during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
This Sunday afternoon, the 7-1 Dallas Cowboys will take on the 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Landry Hat’s staff of contributors has gathered together this week to give their predictions for the Week Ten matchup.
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Prediction: I’m having a hard time deciding how dialed in the team will be going into this one.
All is going right for Dallas after seven consecutive wins. At the same time the Steelers are in desperate need to end their three game slide and stay in the AFC playoff conversation.
The Cowboys have been following their new identity to a tee…dominate on the ground while controlling the ball, shut down the opponents’ run, and avoid giving up big plays.
Dallas should continue to win the rushing battle on both sides of the ball this week. It’ll be hard to hold down star receiver Antonio Brown, yet Pittsburgh has lost 3 of his 4 best games (85+ yards receiving).
One would think Dallas is due for a sloppy game and loss of focus. As much as I’m tempted to predict it on Sunday, this match-up fits the Cowboys style of play too well.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 26, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Prediction: Next to the San Francisco 49ers, the team I respect and envy most is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why?
Because the franchise, like the Cowboys, is historic. The team is a pillar in the NFL, a model team on how to be successful decade after decade. But most of all, they have one more Super Bowl Championship than the Dallas Cowboys — leading the NFL with six titles.
That bugs me; it will always bug me because I don’t think three championships in the 90’s exceeded the number I thought they could collect. (That’s another story.)
But something is different now. The Cowboys are 7-1, easily the hottest, most talked about squad entering Week 10.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are in a slump. The team is in a three-game losing streak. The last time the Steelers won was over a month ago. The last time the Cowboys lost was early September.
Yes, it’s true, the Steelers have had much more success than the Cowboys over the decades. But…
Something is changing.
Last summer, I wrote a piece about the changing of the guard at the quarterback spot. Not only has Dak Prescott come to claim the number one quarterback spot, he has emerged as a young prospect capable of carrying the torch from old timers like Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger, whom he will play against at his own home.
Prescott is doing now what Big Ben did long ago as a rookie. The season has been about Prescott’s potential as the leading man in Dallas. This game will show the nation why Prescott is a leading candidate to carry the NFL spotlight for many years to come.
The Cowboys take advantage of a wounded Steelers offense. The defense will be jumpy and aggressive. Weather conditions and stadium noise will be a factor, but count on kicker Dan Bailey to drill some three pointers.
Zeke Elliott collects another 100-yard game. Dak Attack hits nine different receivers. The referees will blow another call on Dez Bryant. The Cowboys defense causes a turnover or two. Mark Sanchez goes in and the world recalls the butt fumble (again).
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 23
Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) scrambles and scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The Cowboys are on a seven-game winning streak and are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now. But they will also once again be without two of their starters in the defensive secondary, strong safety Barry Church and cornerback Morris Claiborne. Those missing pieces could certainly hurt Dallas against a potent aerial attack in Pittsburgh.
I really do think the game will come down to the health and play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who struggled against the Baltimore Ravens last week (down 21-0 into the fourth quarter) as both teams were coming off a bye. And the exact health of Big Ben’s knee, following surgery to fix a torn meniscus earlier this season, is still in question.
In the end, I’ve learned not to bet against this young Cowboys team, especially considering the play of rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
I think it will be a close game, but I give the slight edge to Dallas.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Oct 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates his third quarter touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: This is a big one, they don’t get much bigger for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a rivalry that goes back over 35 years spans Super Bowls, and it’s also a game the Pittsburgh Steelers need much more than the Cowboys. Throw in that Pittsburgh is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Ravens and it could spell disaster for the Cowboys on Sunday. That’s the way it feels.
However, these Dallas Cowboys are a different breed. Nothing seems to rattle them, not the crowd, the opponent or the situation. It won’t be easy to win this game, but the formula remains the same.
Run the ball with rookie Ezekiel Elliott and control the game with the offensive line. Pittsburgh’s defense has been challenged a few times this season, and each time they got throttled. Jay Ajayi lit them up for over 200 yards and LeGarrette Blount ran for 127 yards against them, Zeke should have no issues.
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But it won’t be on offense where the Cowboys win this game, it will be on the defense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is back and getting healthier, the passing game for the Steelers should scare the bejesus out of the Cowboys and Le’Veon Bell is due for a monster game. Dallas’ defense has played well this year, but this game will really test Rod Marinelli’s unit.
If they can limit the damage and force the Pittsburgh to punt twice in each half, they will win this game. The Cowboys haven’t allowed any opponent to score 24 points, or allowed a 100-yard rusher or receiver on the season.
Expect a few of those streaks to end this week, but fortunately, Dallas has the ability to score with the Steelers and keep their defense off the field.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 23
Oct 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (88) celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown with runnign back Ezekiel Elliott (21) against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: The Dallas Cowboys secondary has exceeded all expectations through the first half of the season. They have held superstar receivers Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery, and Jordy Nelson in check- none of them amassing 100 receiving yards or scoring a touchdown.
The Cowboys defensive backs have their work cut out for them this week, facing a master of route running in Antonio Brown. The unfortunate part is that Dallas will be without their left corner Mo Claiborne and without starting strong safety Barry Church for this matchup.
If the Cowboys can somehow find a way to contain Antonio Brown with a depleted secondary, they will have earned the right to be named among the elite defensive backfields in the NFL.
The Cowboys have the number one rushing offense in the league. And a majority of their bigger games have been when facing a 3-4 defense.
When the offensive line only has three defensive linemen in front of them, it makes it easy for a couple of blockers to get to the second level. And the big uglies can easily clear out linebackers which makes it extremely easy for rookie superstar Ezekiel Elliott to chew up yards and pull out his famous “feed me” celebration.
I expect the Steelers to be game planning for stopping the run, as every team that Dallas has faced to this point has done. But I’m not convinced that they can stop the dynamic rushing attack all game.
I predict that the Cowboys will run for 170 yards and throw for 250 yards on the day, making it the seventh consecutive game where Dallas has put up 400 or more yards of offense.
Terrance Williams will make several big plays after the catch and rack up over 100 yards receiving.
Dez Bryant will catch at least one touchdown pass.
Ezekiel Elliott will break the 100 yard mark on the ground and will bust loose for at least one big gain in the passing game.
Brandon Carr records a fourth quarter interception to seal the game.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Nov 6, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: The Dallas Cowboys are heading into this Week Ten matchup firing on all cylinders.
Rookie Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will look to out duel veteran Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger which will be a difficult task. Big Ben could still be suffering from an injury that left him hobbled and unsteady in Week Nine.
Prescott should be a solid bet to out perform the Steelers struggling offense, well with the help the Dallas’s starting running back, Ezekiel Elliott. As a rookie, Elliott has lived up to all the hype as he continues to be the NFL’s leading rusher.
Zeke should out perform Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell as the Cowboys offensive line will make it more effective for Dallas to run the ball than Pittsburgh.
Both defenses will struggle stopping the run so this could be a fairly high scoring matchup. The team who puts together the longest drives and has the most consistency on offense will win this game.
And right now, the Cowboys have been doing that all season. Expect the Steelers to score some points but the Cowboys will pull out a win in Pittsburgh.