Dallas Cowboys vs Baltimore Ravens: 10 Random Thoughts

Key matchups, players to watch for, and expected situations/outcomes for the Week 11 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season is upon us, and the Dallas Cowboys (8-1) are hosting the AFC North division leader Baltimore Ravens (5-4).

1. This matchup will mark the second time this year that the Cowboys and their top ranked rushing attack will face off against the NFL’s number one ranked rush defense (Green Bay Packers and now the Ravens). The battle between the Cowboys offensive line and the Ravens front 7 will be a key determining factor in the game’s outcome.

2. Baltimore’s defense has the lowest third down conversion percentage allowed in the NFL. The key to the Cowboys being able to convert on those key third downs would be staying out of third and long; in other words Dallas needs to consistently gain positive yardage on first and second down to avoid obvious passing situations on third.

3. The Ravens pass offense has been far from stellar from a production standpoint, but they have weapons that are capable of torching the injury depleted Cowboys secondary. Wide receivers Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman are all explosive athletes that can take any play to the house if Dallas defenders are out of position. It will be a tougher test for the home team than it looks on paper.

4. The Baltimore Ravens are the only franchise in the NFL that the Dallas Cowboys have never defeated. While this year’s team isn’t responsible for that, you can rest assured that they are aware of that and will be focused on erasing the existence of this fact.

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5. The Cowboys have gained 400 or more yards of offense in seven consecutive games, which is a franchise record. It would be thrilling to see that streak continue against a formidable foe such as the Ravens. The NFL’s longest streak of 400 yard offensive performances was set by the 1982-83 San Diego Chargers with 11 straight.

6. It seems like Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is beginning to knock the rust off after being suspended for the first four games of the season this year. Dallas needs Lawrence to have a dominant second half of the season as a pass rusher in similar fashion to what he was able to do last year.

7. With Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith likely out with a back injury, expect Dez Bryant to be too much for Baltimore corner Shareece Wright to handle. Dez should have a big game for the second consecutive week which will help open up running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott.

8. Tyron Smith, Dallas’ starting left tackle, is going to have his hands full with the Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs. Suggs is a rare combination of size and quickness. He is skilled in how he attacks a blocker, utilizing a plethora of pass rush moves. That will be a fun battle to watch.

9. The Cowboys have yet to score a defensive or special teams touchdown this season. Could this be the game that they finally bust one loose?

10. This will be the first time that the Cowboys face a current division leader this season. A win for Dallas would help silence the critics that have claimed that “they haven’t played anyone”.

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