The Cowboys travel to Minnesota and will look to advance to a 11-1 record and another step closer to the postseason. The Cowboys playoff scenarios begin this week with a Cowboys win over the Vikings and a Redskins loss or a Buccaneers loss. If either of those happen, the Cowboys will be the first team to clinch a playoff spot and they will be in the tournament.
First things first though, let’s talk about how the Cowboys will defeat the Vikings on Thursday Night Football.
Here’s what the Cowboys need to do to win the game:
- The Cowboys defense has a major strength along with a major weakness. They have a top-3 rush defense and a #31 pass defense. The Vikings have a bad offensive line and no running game, so the Cowboys should be able to do enough defensively to help with the cause.
- The offensive line will once again chip away at the opposing defense’s endurance, and by the time the 3rd quarter arrives, we hit the liver and do the knockout via the running game.
- Rod Marinelli could be the MVP of this game by the end. Marinelli is familiar with what Vikings OC Pat Shurmur will want to do in the passing game, after going against him while he was with the Eagles. I don’t expect the secondary to get exposed like they did against the Redskins.
- The Vikings secondary will be the best one we have played. That being said, it’ll be interesting to see what Scott Linehan does to get his guys open. Look for Dez Bryant to move around for favorable matchups. I expect Dak Prescott to get it done by spreading the ball out to everyone in this game.
- Tyron Smith will be in charge of blocking Everson Griffen, and word is Smith had a solid week of practice and ready to maul.
- This is the time of year Demarcus Lawrence starts to turn it on, I don’t know why, but if we’re going to get any sacks from Lawrence it should start this week and snowball for the rest of the year – hopefully. If not, get Ware for cheap in free agency and take #94 from Gregory. Obviously, looking ahead, but Ware would be a good rotational player and still has gas in the tank. Doooooo what? Yeah, watch, the reunion is coming.
- Run at Terrance Newman. One thing I remember about T-New was his tackling, although he has done better in recent years, I don’t see him trying to bring down Zeke. Run over these guys.
- A multiple sack game could come against the Vikings. Bradford is probably the least mobile QB they will face this year, so if they can’t get home this week, then we never will. Get it done!
- Ezekiel Elliott will want to put on a show, and have the proverbial torch passing from Adrian Peterson to Zeke. Feed Zeke.
- Barry Church will be a welcomed return to the lineup and it’ll make the dime packages more effective with him out there with Byron Jones.
- Speaking of Jones, he’ll need a solid game against Kyle Rudolph. Limit his catches in the redzone and get an INT.
Dak Prescott 250+ yards, 2 passing TD, 1 rushing TD
Ezekiel Elliott 125 yards 1 TD, 30 yards receiving
Lawrence, Collins, Davis, Crawford get sacks in this game
Sean Lee will lead in tackles
Defense will force 2 turnovers
With the season winding down, you start to look at the scoreboards. Here are other notable games to watch this weekend:
Giants @ Steelers – A Steelers win here would be good obviously, further giving the Cowboys a cushion in the East.
Redskins @ Cardinals – A Cardinals win would really put more pressure on the Redskins to make a wild card and give the Cowboys a playoff birth
Panthers @ Seahawks – A Panthers win would give the Cowboys more cushion and may speed up the odds of clinching homefield advantage. I know we could win at Seattle, but would rather play at home in Arlington.
Bucs @ Chargers – A Chargers win would help the Cowboys clinch a playoff birth.