Both teams just had a week off. Both teams are 3-4, trying to gain ground in their respective divisions. Will the Cowboys or Tennessee Titans find momentum after the bye week?
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their 'gut feelings' about the Monday Night Football matchup at AT&T Stadium:
Lindsay Draper: It's time for the sense of urgency now more than ever. And this choice is an easy one for me, because everything is playing into the Cowboys' favor for primetime on Monday night. The Titans are coming off their third straight loss, with Marcus Mariota finally getting some progress from an elbow injury in Week One. Tennessee's offense lacks strength running or passing the ball and is ranked 30th and 31st in the league in almost every major scoring category. Dallas, on the other hand, is rested, coming off a bye week with brand new star power on offense that even impressed Dak Prescott in practice this week (hey, Amari). This game should continue the Cowboys' streak of being undefeated at home this season, and this win is one that will make or break the momentum for the second half of the season, in my opinion. After facing Tennessee, it's Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington, then New Orleans. Not an easy stretch coming up. This is a must-win.
David Helman: If this game was on the road, I'd be a little more worried – but it's not. We've seen how much better the Cowboys are at AT&T Stadium this season, and this is a pretty ugly Tennessee team they're hosting on Monday night. This Titans offense is even worse than the Cowboys', and they didn't add a Pro Bowl receiver during their bye week. Speaking of Pro Bowl receivers, I doubt Amari Cooper is going to blow up this week, but I think he's going to make an immediate difference – especially when it comes to opening up space for Cole Beasley and Ezekiel Elliott. That should be enough to get the Cowboys a couple of touchdowns. On the flip side, this Tennessee offense just doesn't scare me. If the Dallas linebackers can account for Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis, I can't imagine Tennessee scoring more than 17 points. I think it all adds up to a solid but ugly Cowboys win – something like 20-10.
Mickey Spagnola: In honor of Gil Brandt heading into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, this has everything to do with one of those Tom Landry "feel" things he used to describe some of his decisions. And nothing to do with the Cowboys playing at AT&T Stadium where the Cowboys have won all three of their games played there this year. And certainly nothing to do with a fan base expected to fill the place with 3-4 skepticism. But just got a "feeling" from watching the little bit of practice we're allowed to watch and being in the locker room afterward that the 3-4 Titans are about to walk into a hornet's nest, this team seemingly invigorated by the bye, the acquisition of Amari Cooper and promoting Marc Colombo to offensive line coach. So, here is my walk out on a limb: Cowboys 30, Titans 16.
Rob Phillips: My gut says the Cowboys will improve to 4-0 at home this season – not because of their previous success at AT&T Stadium, but based on the decisions they made for the present and future. The offensive line is a proud group that needed a shake-up, and I think they'll respond this week with that "nasty attitude" Colombo wants as new line coach. The bye week helped running back Elliott heal up a little bit, and I expect he'll play well behind them. Everything you hear about new receiver Cooper is he's got a professional, serious approach to the job, and the Cowboys need to make some plays downfield against a Titans defense that has been solid overall this season but gave up two deep passing touchdowns against the Chargers. Defensively, Dallas is playing as well as any team at home, giving up an average of 10 points a game. I believe you'll see a complete performance Monday from a recharged group.
Nick Eatman: There are lots of reasons why picking the Cowboys make sense. I like the fact they are coming off a bye week. I know the Titans are as well, but for the Cowboys, the off week has given them time to make some necessary changes that will help. I think Cooper will make just a slight help this week, but that might be enough. Another thing helping this team will be the offensive line change. Can Colombo help in one week? Yes, in this case, I think he can. This offensive line has been challenged. Paul Alexander just got fired because this group is playing below standards. The players can say all they want to that it's the scheme, or technique, or just poor communication with their coach. All of that might be true, but let's not forget those five guys aren't playing their best football, at least not together. So they'll have something to prove as well, and they'll want to play well for Colombo. My prediction is the first play of the game will have everyone chuckling about the O-Line not looking better at all – maybe a sack, or tackle for loss or even a penalty. And then after that, they will come close to dominating the game. Big week for Zeke, maybe 150 total yards and I think the Cowboys win this one somewhat comfortably, 27-16.
Bryan Broaddus: Everyone is focusing on the addition of Cooper but I am taking a different path. This offensive line has struggled. They've lacked consistency, but more importantly they've lost direction. That changed at the beginning of this week when Paul Alexander was removed as their position coach and replaced by Colombo. Will this be the move that turns this unit around? I am willing to bet on it. Colombo brings a mean, nasty demeanor to the job. He was a hard-nosed player and I expect that will carry over to his line. This line needs to recapture that toughness, but more importantly they need that direction. The Cowboys win this one up front and it allows them to win the game, 23-13.