Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys: Final Thoughts


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Not many predicted the Atlanta Falcons to be 2-0 when faced with games against the Eagles and Giants, but here they are, unbeaten entering Week 3. They now head to AT&T Stadium to take on the 2-0 Dallas Cowboys, but there will be no Tony Romo or Dez Bryant. Here are my final thoughts.

Make Brandon Weeden play

As I wrote earlier in the week, the Falcons need to put the game in the hands of backup quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden is no slouch, but he’s also no Tony Romo. Take away the run game early and put up points on offense and the former Cleveland Brown will be forced to throw the football often.

There will also be no safety net of Dez Bryant, although Jason Witten looks likely to suit up after looking a doubt early in the week. The Cowboys will look to run the football behind a dominant offensive line, and it’s down to the defense to take this away early and impose its will.

Run the football

The Cowboys enter this game with the league’s top-ranked run defense, having allowed just 106 yards over two games. So what? Run the football. Coach Quinn has stressed the point of achieving balance on offense, and it’s something they need to stay committed to. It will be tough work against a strong front-seven and without rookie Tevin Coleman—who is out with a ribs injury—but it’s important not to be one-dimensional.

Devonta Freeman will lead the way, and he’ll need to play well on all three downs. His ability to be used as a receiver will make him a key component of the Falcons’ offense in Texas.

Finish, finish, finish

Quinn made a big-letters promise in preseason that the Falcons would be a finishing team. And so far, they have been just that. Despite being on the back foot for almost all of the second half in Week 1 as the Eagles dismantled the Falcons’ big first-half lead, the defense came through in crunch time with a game-winning pick.

Last week, the Giants owned a 10-point lead and had the football on the Atlanta 8-yard line. A Kroy Biermann strip sack and a 91-yard drive by Matt Ryan later and the Falcons are in business. Late in the fourth, Ryan again marched the team down the field before handing it to Freeman to punch in the 1-yard, game-winning touchdown.

Even without their stars, Dallas will pose a strong threat in this game, and Atlanta will likely need to win it in the fourth quarter. Win in the fourth quarter and the Falcons will win the game.

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