Atlanta Falcons matchup preview: Dallas Cowboys

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Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is unable to catch a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) in the fourth quarter in the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

FB: The Cowboys are an intriguing team this year. What are your expectations for 2015?

SM: At this point, making the postseason is a must for this current incarnation of the Cowboys. Anything less will be considered a step backwards. And the loss of Murray and offensive line coach Bill Callahan this offseason will be seen as the primary reasons for the failure.

FB: Of course losing Murray is a major setback, especially to the Eagles. Murray stayed relatively healthy and was able to dominate behind one of the league’s best offensive lines. How well will the Cowboys’ run game perform without him?

SM: No one knows. I think it really hinges on how well Darren McFadden performs behind this offensive line and if he can stay healthy. If McFadden stumbles in any way during training camp or the preseason, expect Dallas to make a trade for a more established runner.

FB: Let’s look ahead to Week 3. On one side, we have one of the NFC’s premier teams looking to build on a strong, playoff year. On the other, we have a team hoping to bounce back after two awful seasons. This game will feature two top quarterbacks, two elite receivers and two potentially great run games.

What will the Cowboys need to do to beat the Falcons?

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SM: I think it’s a pretty fundamental formula. Run the ball. If the Cowboys can control the time of possession, and limit their defense’s time on the field, I believe they have a good chance to beat any NFL team.

FB: Flipping it over, what does Atlanta need to do to beat Dallas?

SM: I think quarterback Matt Ryan can find success attacking the Cowboys’ defensive secondary. If he can take advantage of those opportunities, I think the Falcons have a good chance of outscoring Dallas.

I’d like to thank Steven for his time to talk to us. It’s great to get the perspective from the other team, and we will hopefully speak with the guys at The Landry Hat in the week leading up to the game.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: Top 5 positional units