Atlanta Falcons: Defensive line is key to victory against Cowboys


The Atlanta Falcons face their third straight NFC East opponent this week when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Many feel the Falcons should win this game given the injuries to the Cowboys’ starting quarterback Tony Romo and star receiver Dez Bryant.

Although the Cowboys will be missing their top two players, this will not be an easy task for the Falcons. The biggest thing pundits around the nation are failing to account for is that Dallas has by far the best offensive line in the NFL. The battle between the defensive and offensive linemen rarely gets the attention they deserve.

In order for the Falcons to get a win in Dallas, the defensive line must put together a stellar performance. Vic Beasley Jr. will be facing arguably the best left tackle in the league in All-Pro Tyron Smith. They have another All-Pro lineman in second-year guard Zack Martin to go along with center Travis Frederick, guard Ronald Leary, and tackle Doug Free which makes for an intimidating starting lineup. Dan Quinn will have his defensive lineman fired up for this one and I’m sure there will be a deep rotation to keep the players fresh.

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I expect the Cowboys to run the ball early and often. Ra’Shede Hageman and Paul Soliai will be relied upon heavily to stop the run. If the Falcons can force the Cowboys into third-and-long often, look for the pass rush to come.

Beasley will have to use his speed in order to get around the mammoth and ultra-athletic Smith, however Beasley has yet to shy away from a challenge and he should be excited for this game. The rookie has a very quick spin move that could get him to the quarterback if he is able to bait Smith into an outside move.

Additionally, if Kroy Biermann can cause some disruption as he did last week the Falcons should be able to fair well against the Cowboys line by keeping a fresh rotation of players in the game. Expect Grady Jarrett and O’Brien Schofield to play a lot in this game as well.

In order for the Falcons to win this game, the defensive line will need to play well. They need to make it hard for the Cowboys to run the ball in order to force Brandon Weeden into beating them with his arm. What are your thoughts about battle in the trenches?

Next: Why Devonta Freeman will have a big game against Cowboys