Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, September 27, 2015, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Opening Line: Atlanta -1 1/2
Current Line: Atlanta -1 1/2
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 44
Opening Money Line: Falcons -125 / Cowboys +105
Current Money Line: Falcons -125 / Cowboys +105
Although the Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 with wins over NFC East division rivals the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the victories were highly costly. Receiver Dez Bryant broke hit foot against the Giants and quarterback Tony Romo broke his collarbone against the Eagles. Both are out indefinitely.
Dallas hosts the Atlanta Falcons Sunday. The Falcons are also 2-0 with victories over the Eagles and Giants as well. Dallas leads the series 16-9 against Atlanta. The Falcons won the last meeting 19-13 in Atlanta in 2012.
Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn. The Falcons beat the Eagles 26-24 in the first game. Atlanta led that game 20-3 at halftime but held on for the two point win. The Falcons traveled to the Giants last week. Atlanta trailed 20-10 going into the fourth but rallied with two fourth quarter touchdowns to win 24-20. The Falcons were 2 point underdogs against the Giants and the total was 49.5. Atlanta is 2-0 ATS and both games went under.
Dallas is coached by Jason Garrett. Dallas beat the Giants at home 27-26 in week one, despite giving up 17 points off turnovers and trailing 23-13 in the fourth quarter. Last week, the Cowboys traveled to the Eagles. The Cowboys held the Eagles to 226 total yards and held possession for over 40 minutes. Dallas would win 20-10. Dallas was a 7 point underdog against Philadelphia and the total was 53.5. The Cowboys are 1-1 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.
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Atlanta is outscoring teams 25-22 this season. The Falcons average 399 yards per game on offense, including 318 passing and 81 rushing yards. Atlanta is in the top five in both total offense and passing. On defense, the Falcons are allowing 394 total yards per game including 314 passing and 80 rushing yards per game. Atlanta is #29 in total defense and #27 in pass defense. The Falcons are #9 in rushing. Atlanta is 15/31 on third down conversions and hasn’t attempted a fourth down conversion. Opponents are 14/31 on third and fourth down conversions. The Falcons have forced 2 sacks and allowed 3 this season. The Falcons are +1 in turnovers.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 66.3% of his passes for 661 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Running back Tevin Coleman is out until mid-October with broken ribs. He has 29 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Devonta Freeman will take over as the feature back. He has 22 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, along with 7 catches for 63 yards. Terron Ward is the only other running back on the roster. Fullback Patrick DiMarco could get some carries.
Receiver Julio Jones has 22 catches for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Tight end Jacob Tamme has 7 catches for 96 yards. Leonard Hankerson has 8 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Roddy White has 4 catches for 84 yards. Devin Hester is out with a toe injury. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report.
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Dallas is outscoring teams 24-18 this season. The Cowboys are #5 in points allowed. Dallas averages 398 total yards per game on offense including 303 passing and 95 rushing yards. The Cowboys are in the top six in total and passing offense. Dallas is allowing 258 yards per game on defense, including 205 passing and 53 rushing yards. The Cowboys are #2 in total defense and #1 in rush defense. Even the pass defense is #9. The Cowboys are 10/23 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 9/26. Dallas has forced 3 sacks and allowed 2 this season. The Cowboys are -2 in turnovers.
Romo had thrown for 551 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and rushed for 11 yards before the injury. Brandon Weeden came in against the Eagles and was a perfect 7/7 for 73 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 7 yards. The Cowboys promoted Kellen Moore from the practice squad and traded for Matt Cassel from the Buffalo Bills. Weeden will start for the time being and Cassel will serve as the back-up until Romo returns. It will likely be at at least week nine before he is back.
Running back Joseph Randle has 34 carries for 116 yards, along with 4 catches for 56 yards. Darren McFadden has 16 carries for 47 yards, along with 3 catches for 40 yards. Lance Dunbar has 11 catches for 115 yards.
Bryant could be back as soon as week seven. Terrance Williams has 9 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jason Witten has missed one game in his likely Hall of Fame career and has played in 189 straight games since missing a game in his rookie year in 2003 with a broken jaw. That streak was in jeopardy as Witten sprained both his ankles against the Eagles, but he is listed as probable. He has 15 catches for 116 yards with 2 touchdowns. Cole Beasley has 8 catches for 63 yards. Tight end James Hanna is probable with a knee injury. Tight end Gavin Escobar has 4 catches for 24 yards and a touchdowns. Nine defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Dallas looks to focus more on the rushing game without Romo and Bryant. Weeden is not a very good quarterback and I could see Cassel taking over as the starter once he learns the offense. Dallas has done really well on defense, and I think they can pull off the mild upset at home in what should be a low scoring game.
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