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Cardinals @ Cowboys - 2020 Preview

Setting the Stage
Monday night (8:15 pm EDT at AT&T Stadium).

"Pokes are 2 & 5, and, in their previous game, lost starting QB Dac Prescott for the season. Losses were to Rams, Seattle and Cleveland. They beat Atlanta and the Giants. Cards will be without sackmeister Chandler Jones for the duration of the season.

Dallas ranks #1 in the league in Passing Yards and Total Yards, but only 22nd in rushing yards. Vs. the Jets, the Cards had problems "staying out of the penalty box."


Most Recent Dallas Game
Dallas beat a substandard Giant team in what was a see-saw affair marked by impressive defensive game-changing plays and even a gadget plaiy featuring Prescott on the TD receiving end of a flea flicker.

After Dallas opened the scoring in the 1Q with a FG, the Giants opened up a 17-point lead early in the 2Q off a 3-yd Engram run, a 46 yd Fackrell interception return and a55 yd Gano FG.

Dallas wiped out the lead midway in the 2Q on a 3-yd Elliott runa and aa 29-yd fumble recovery by Brown.

The teams traded the lead back and forth - well into the 4th quarter, with the Giants tying the score 34 - 34 with less than 2:00 to play, only to have Dallas move into FG range so that Zuerlein could boot home the game-winner from 34-yds out with zero-seconds on the clock.

For the Cowboys, the victory capped one of those "we'll take it" nail-biters, but was a bitter-sweet win due to the loss of QB Dac Prescott..

First Quarter

11:20 Dallas (Zuerlein 24 yd FG)- Dallas 3 - Giants 0

6:53 Giants (Engram 3 yd run) ...Giant 7 - Dallas 3

5:48 Giants (Fackrell 46 yd Int ret) - Giants 14 - Dallas 3

Second Quarter

13:30 Giants (Gano 55 yd FG) Giants 17 - Dallas 3

6:31 Dallas (Elliott 3 yd run) Giants 17 - Dallas 10

5:00 Dallas (A Brown 29 yd fumble rec) Giants 17 - Dallas 17

0.51 Giants (Gano - 50 yd FG) - Giant 20 - Dallas 17

0.16 Dallas - (Prescott - 11 yd flea flcker from C Wilson - Dallas 24 - Giants 20

Third Quarter

9:25 Giants =(Gano 28 yd FG) - Dallas 24 - Giants 23

5:03 Dallas (Elliott 12 yd run) Dallas 31 - Giants 23

Fourth Quarter

11:09 Giants - (FG Gano - 28 yds) - Dallas 31 - Giants 26

08:46 Giants - (Freeman - 4 yd run - 2 XP) ) - Giants 34 - Dallas 31

01:56 Dallas - (Zuerlein - 40 yd FG) - Giants 34 - Dallas 34

0:00 Dallas (Zuerlein - 34 yd FG) - Dallas 37 - Giants 34


Dallas Offense

Quarterbacks
QB ...14 Dalton..07 .DiNucci...03 Gilbert

Running Backs
RB....21 Elliott...20 Pollard..34 Dowdle...

Wide Receivers
WR... 13 Gallup...85 N Brown.
WR...19 Cooper...11 C Wilson
WR...88 Lamb...17 Turner

Tight Ends
TE...86 Schultz...80...B Bell...89 Jarwin (I)...84 McKeon

Offensive Line
LT....77 T Smith
LG...52 C Williams.......66 McGovern
OC..73 Looney....63 Biadasz
RG..70 Z Martin...69 Knight
RT...78 Steele
....64 Senat

Dallas Defense

Defensive Line
LDE.
..58 A Smith...90 Lawrence...56 Anae...
RDE ..92 Armstrong...97 Griffin
DT...98 Crawford...
Gallimore
DT....95 Poe...72 T Hill...99 A Woods

Linebackers
LLB...57 Gifford...59 March
MLB...48 J Thomas...53 R Smith...
RLB...54 J Smith

Secondary
CB...27 Diggs...29 Goodman
CB...26 J Lewis...41 R Robinson...32 S Smith
SS....23 D Thompson...37 D Wilson
FS....25 Woods...28 Worley

Special Teams
P.......06 C Jones
K.....02 Zuerlein
LS...91 Ladoucer

Statistics

Stat..............................Dallas....Opponents........Cards........Opponents

1st Downs......................147..................121...................128..............110

Offensive Yds...............2440................2022.................1977............1733

Rushing Yards...............533.................779....................705...........621

Rush Yds Per Play........4.2....................4.7.....................4.8............4.5

Passing Yds................1907..................1243................1272...........1112

Pass Yds Per Play......8.4.....................7.5.......................7.2............7.3

Intercepted................4..........................1................................6................1

Sacks...........................10.....................11.........................14.............8

TDs...............................20....................20.......................16..............11

Turnover Ratio.............-8................................................-4

Time of Possession.....26:10...........33:49....................29:29........30:30

Player Stats

Passing

Murray 126 for 181 1299 yds, 69.6% 8 TDs, 6 INT, 8 sacks...90.9 Rating

Dalton 9 of 12 111 yds 75.0% 0 TDs 0 INTS 5 Sacks 103.1 Rating

Rushing

Murray 41 for 296, 7.2 YPA 5 TDs

Drake 85 for 314...3.7 YPA...2 TD

Elliott 89 for 364 4.1 YPA 5 TDs

Receiving

Hopkins 45 for 528, 2 TDs

Edmonds 18 for 129 2 TDs

Fitzgerald 18 for 123 0 TD

Cooper 39 for 424 1 TD

Lamb 29 for 433 2 TD

Elliott 24 for 173 1 TD

Tackles -

Hicks 42

Campbell 41

Baker 38

Banjo 19

J Smith 53

J Thomas 38

Woods 32

Diggs 29

Cardinals Depth Chart

Quarterbacks
01 Murray, 15 Streveler, 07 Hundley

Running Back
41 Drake, 29 Edmonds, xx Ward 26 Benjamin

Wide Receivers
WR - 11 Fitzgerald...17 Isabella
WR - 13 Kirk....19 KS Johnson
WR - 10 Hopkins 16 Sherfield

Tight Ends
TE - 82 Arnold 81 Daniels 80 J Thomas


Offensive Line
LT- ...74 Humphries...79 Jones....66 Miles
LG - 67 Pugh 73 Garcia
OC- 52 Cole 65 Galliard
RG- 64 Sweezy. Murray
RT - 68 Beechum 71 J Murray

Defensive Interior Line
DT 94 Z Allen 95 Fotu
NT - 98 Peters, 92 Lawrence
DT - 97 Phillips 92 Blackson

Linebackers
OLB - 45 Gardeck...49 Fitts
ILB - ..59 Campbell 48 Simmons 47 Z Turner
ILB - 58 Hicks 51 Vallejo
OLB - 42 Kennard 43 Reddick

Defensive Backs
CB - 21 P Peterson...27 K Peterson
CB - 20 Kirkpatrick 33 Murphy Jr
S - 38 Banjo...28 C Washington
S - 32 Baker...35 D Thompson .
40 Tillman*


Matchup: Dallas Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Expectations are that Dalton will capably manage the Dallas offense but that Dallas will shift emphaisis to a high-efficiency "short game."He'll have a capable group of receivers (most notably, Cooper, Lamb and Elliott) to work with.

Cards have had their challenges shutting down receivers on short inside routes - especially on 3rd downs. (Don't know much about the Dallas TE's and have to assume the Cardinal LBs and safeties will continue doing what they're doing).

With C Jones out for the season, the Cardinal pass rush figures to be kind of "a group thing" (although Gardeck has made the coaches sit up and take notice).

Cards are starting to get healthy at safety, and will probably feature Baker and D Thompson at SS and FS respectively with Murphy remaining in the slot. Secondary play last week was a significant improvement over the week befre

Key Matchups - Cooper vs. Kirkpatrick. Lamb vs. P Peterson...LBs & Safeties vs. Dallas TE's. Gardeck vs. T Smith


Matchup: Dallas Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Forget the numbers - Elliott (364 yds) is a pro bowl talent and dangerous whenever he touches the ball.

Key Matchups
Elliott vs. Hicks and Campbell. Jets OL vs. Cards Front 7.


Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Dallas Pass Defense
As a young QB, Kyler Murray is predictably "unpredictable" - At the very least, other teams may have figured him out and he'll have to make re-adjustments to their re-ajustments

Hopkins has been better than advertised. (He's targeted the most and catches the most). The underused Murray-to-Fitzgerald hookup started to make its presence felt vs. the Jets. Kirk seems comfortable in a #3WR role. Isabella represents a long-threat good for one or two chunk receptions and whose threat to go deep is used to frighten opposing secondaries. Surprise of the season may turn out to be the Cards's TE (Arnold).

Card OL has had its ups and downs - at best, it has done a workmalike job of keepting Murray free from oppression. At worst, it's turned the Cardinal QB into a "catch me if you can" escape-artist who appears a bit challenged in the decision-making dept..

Key Matchups:
Diggs vs. Hopkins... A. Smithj vs. Humphries.... .Fitz vs. J Lewis....Arnold vs. Woods.....


Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Dallas Run Defense
Drake seems to be suffering from "David Johnson Disease" (i.e. just when you begin to count on him... he "disappears")...But then again, he's shown he can pick up crunch-time short yardage when called upon. In his backup role, Chase Edmonds is steadily developing into a better-than average passing-down RB."

Key Matchups
Drake vs. Thomas....Edmonds vs. Woods...Dallas Front 7 vs. Card OL.

Special Teams

Dallas Special Teams
K
     .02 Zuerlein
P .....06 C Jones
LS    91 Ladoucer
KR   20 Pollard
PR   88 Lamb

Cardinals Special Teams
P - ...02 Lee
K- ....05 Gonzalez
H - ...02 Lee
LS - 46 Brewer
KR -29 Edmonds
PR - 17 Isabella


Matchup Jets Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Dallas gets good usage from Zuerlein (who'se 8 for 9 in FG attempts). Their punter (C Jones) is averaging 42.9 yds per punt. Although Lamb and Pollard are breakaway threats, they haven't shown much thus far.

Same can be said about Isabella and Edmonds. Gonzalez and Lee are solid if not spectacular in the kicking and punting games.

Key Matchups
The Dallas and Arizona ST units appear to be mirror-images of each other. We'd rate the matchup as a "wash."


Last Word
Two teams - two stars (Prescott and C Jones) out for the season. Dalton for Prescott offers a ready-made recipe for a short-passing offense featuring Dalton behind center dishing off (via pass or handoff) to RB Ezekial Elliott and receivers CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper.

Cards will rely, in part on Dennis Gardeck to fill the shoes of Chandler Jones. Both teams should have an equal shot at winning this contest. Underrated factors - (1) miscues/turnovers (Dallas seems to thrive on big "take it to the house" defensive plays), (2) Resiliancy (check out how Dallas bounced back from a 17-point decificit to eventuall;u wind up on top. (3) Ability of coaching staffs to adapt to surprises (McCarthy is more seasoned at this than Kingsbury). (4) Run-stopping - Cards showed true grit stoning the Jets in 3rd & a yard situations. If they can display, the strength, talent and want-to vs. the Cowboys.

Verdict - This game could go either way.

 
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