The Landry Hat staff of contributors give their predictions for the Week 11 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens.
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Jan 25, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Team Irvin head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys and Team Carter head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens shake hands after the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
This Sunday, the 8-1 Dallas Cowboys will take on the 5-4 Baltimore Raven at AT&T Stadium. The Landry Hat’s staff of contributors has gathered together this week to give their predictions for the Week 11 matchup.
Note: If you are interested in reading more of a particular contributor’s work on the site, simply click on their name.
Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) rushes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Dallas won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: It’s been an emotional week. Coming off a 35-30 thriller over the Pittsburgh Steelers was followed up by a masterful speech by Tony Romo.
Now the Cowboys face off against one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Every team has that game where schemes and play calls don’t go their way. Some call this a “trap” game. While I wouldn’t call a 5-4 Baltimore Ravens a donut game, I think the men in purple have a ton to fight for considering their narrow lead in the AFC North.
Sure, this game is in Dallas. But something tells me quarterback Dak Prescott plays like a rookie — in other words, his age. And because this is America’s Team, a little drama is expected in the storyline. Prescott struggles a bit, and the Tony Romo mumbles start. How about that for some drama?
With the strong Ravens defense, I see this game feeling more like Week 1 when the Cowboys lost to the Giants by one point. Dallas was stagnant then. The pass timing was off. The running game was off. The holes for Ezekiel Elliott to run through weren’t popping open to Zeke’s liking.
Having said that, I still feel the Cowboys will find a way to win out the afternoon.
Quarterback Joe Flacco will find his rhythm against a banged up secondary. The only saving grace I’ll ink here is Byron Jones in the secondary. He can spin the game, change the momentum, and become the difference maker.
The problem is this: The Cowboys only have one Jones in the defense.
All said and done, offensive coordinator Scott lineman finds a way to nurse the football, chewing the clock, and creating misery for the Ravens antsy offense.
9-1 baby. 9-1.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 20, Baltimore Ravens 17
Nov 22, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts after throwing an interception in the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: In my opinion, this matchup is a bit of a mirage. On the surface, the 5-4 Baltimore Ravens appear to be a real threat to beat the 8-1 Dallas Cowboys this Sunday at AT&T Stadium. The Ravens possess the league’s top defense, ranking first in total defense, first in rushing defense and third in passing defense. And their offense has been good enough to have them sitting stop the AFC North division.
Despite the Cowboys’ eight game winning streak, there is a sense it has to end at some point. Just like the Cincinnati Bengals, the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles before them, the Ravens are the new flavor of the week chosen to slay the beast that America’s Team has become.
But when you begin to dig deeper into the Ravens’ record, you start to see a team that is really struggling to find themselves. Outside of last week’s 28-7 trumping of the winless Cleveland Browns, Baltimore has had all of their contests determined by an average of under five points per game this season.
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And despite having the league’s top defense, they have yet to actually defeat an opponent that is currently ranked higher that 13th offensively. That being the team the Cowboys just defeated in the 4-5 Pittsburgh Steelers.
After winning three straight games to start the season, against the 4-5 Buffalo Bills, 0-10 Browns and the 2-7 Jacksonville Jaguars, the Ravens would lose their next four contests prior to their Week Eight bye.
Baltimore’s last two victories came against those aforementioned winless Browns and a Steelers’ team where the Ravens “D” took advantage of a less than 100% quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was coming off of knee surgery.
My point is: The Cowboys have faced stiffer opponents than the Ravens and have come out victorious. I predict the same will happen this Sunday.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 27, Baltimore Ravens 19
Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) gets introduced prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: “The Dallas Cowboys are in for their biggest challenge yet. No really, this (insert team name here) is their biggest test on the season.”
Let’s make this the sixth consecutive week we’ve heard this line of thinking. And yet, this might be the week people are proved correct. Up until this point, the Cowboys haven’t really been challenged against a defense like the Baltimore Ravens.
Other teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles appeared to be more pretenders than contenders to stopping this Dallas offensive juggernaut. Baltimore brings a big, strong defense and we will find out what if the unstoppable force can move the unbreakable wall.
However, it won’t just be about the Ravens’ defense, because their offense also brings explosiveness that will challenge Dallas’ defense. Wide receivers Mike Wallace and Steve Smith bring a veteran savvy that can stress the Cowboys’ secondary.
Other than that, though, the Ravens don’t excel on offense. The Cowboys should be able to score enough points and get just enough stops against an inconsistent Ravens offense to earn their first ever win over the Baltimore Ravens. I don’t expect the Cowboys to collect their eighth straight game of over 400 yards of total offense, but they will win their ninth straight game.
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys 27, Baltimore Ravens 23 (anyone sensing a pattern here?)
Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4) talk with NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya after the game against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Dallas won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: The Dallas Cowboys will be walking into Sunday’s game with a chance to sweep the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens statistically are one of the best teams on the defensive side of the ball.
The Ravens may have held teams to the least amount of points per game in the NFL however their schedule is somewhat to blame for that. The Ravens have played the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns (twice), Washington Redskins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Oakland Raiders. None of those teams have a remotely similar running game to the one in Big D.
The Steelers have struggled to utilize Le’Veon Bell as effectively as they can and the Steelers offensive line falls way behind of Dallas in terms of efficiency and protection. The Ravens are encountering an opponent like they have never seen before and that could be somewhat shocking for Baltimore.
The Cowboys will have an edge in terms of matchups as Ravens top cornerback Jimmy Smith is likely to miss this matchup. That would force the Ravens to bring in some safety help against Dez Bryant and could give Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott some solid running lanes. Elvis Dumervil will probably miss this game as well which will affect the Ravens pass rush.
If the Ravens cannot get after Dak Prescott this game will not even be close. In the history of the Ravens franchise they have never been defeated by the Cowboys, that ends this weekend as Dallas sweeps the AFC North.