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Right now the biggest concern with the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys is their 23rd ranked defense that has been letting opponents score over 24 points per game, but the good news is they have the number one offense in the league led by healthy Dak Prescott and his myriad of targets complemented by back tandem Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, a one-two punch that’s deadly.
Given the talent on this Minnesota Vikings roster, it is a bit surprising that they are only 3-3 but after their week long bye-rest quarterback Kirk Cousins gets to battle a defensively questionable Cowboys team, and the Vikings quarterback is ready to prove his team is postseason worthy, that is if dual-threat running back Dalvin Cook can stay healthy and productive.
These two NFC rivals have faced each other 32 other times (including 7 postseason games), with the Minnesota Vikings winning 15 of those games and the Dallas Cowboys winning 17 of the games.
The Cowboys are dealing with a lot of injury issues and their defense is taking much of that damage, and right now the fact that star cornerback Trevon Diggs (ankle) is listed as questionable doesn’t help the team against the pass, an area where they already struggle.
Dallas has a top-5 run defense right now but that is offset by a passing defense ranked just 28th in the league, so it’s their inability to stop enemy quarterbacks that’s got them struggling on that side of the ball after allowing opponents to throw for almost 300 yards per game.
That will not do against the Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins whose precision passing can carve a team-up, so Cowboys DC Dan Quinn had the best figure out a way to motivate his young defensive squad to show up on Sunday night.
Yes, Cowboys veteran quarterback Dak Prescott (calf) is key to this team’s offense, and the fact that he is listed as questionable for this one means that he will be playing with a banged-up leg so his mobility could be limited.
Turns out right now the Minnesota Vikings defense does better against the pass (ranked 12th) than it does against the run (ranked 26th) so it could have its hands full against Dallas’ two-headed rushing attack, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Vikings’ linebackers Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and Mackensie Alexander will have their hands full against that Dallas duo who have the Cowboys with the second most productive run game in the league (164.3 yds/gm), and one major key to a victory Sunday is somehow slowing them down.
It is not often a rookie makes an instant mark on his new NFL franchise, but Dallas star linebacker Micah Parsons is doing just that, the first-round draft pick (12th selection overall) a standout on defense for the Cowboys whose name keeps getting called.
So far this season Parsons has a terrific stats line, with 2.5 sacks and ten quarterback hits plus 2 passes defended and 31 total tackles, numbers that any NFL veteran would long to have let alone a first-year player like Micah.
The former Penn State standout is used to playing in big games, and every Sunday is now huge for the rookie Parsons, so look for him to shine in Sunday’s game as he attempts to do what few defenses have done in the past, which is tackle Vikings’ elusive running back Dalvin Cook.
Now in his tenth NFL season, Vikings veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins is having an extremely productive year, so far completing almost 70 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season.
His goal will be to carve up this questionable Cowboy’s secondary using the impressive targets he has at his disposal, wide receivers Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette plus his soft-handed tight end Christopher Herndon.
The X factor to this game and all Vikings matchups will be running back Dalvin Cook who can also catch the ball, so far this season hooking up with Cousins through the air 12 times for 73 yards but no visits to the end zone, something that could change on Sunday night.
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|Cowboys vs Vikings Information
|Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings
|U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN
|Sunday, October 31, 2021; 8:20 PM ET
|How to watch
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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