The Cowboys have only beaten one time this year with a winning record. And there are many doubters who aren’t ready to buy the hype on this year’s team, despite the 5-3 record, based off a relative weak schedule to start the season.
But it changes Sunday night as the 6-3 Vikings come to town. That’s exactly where the Cowboys hope to be at the of the weekend.
The DallasCowboys.com staff gives their ‘gut feeling’ for this prime time matchup at AT&T Stadium.
Rob Phillips: These two teams combined for 32 points three years ago. The Vikings’ personnel hasn’t changed much since. Neither has their production. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ defense is right with them in terms of points allowed per game (just over 17). They’re getting closer and closer to reaching their high standard of play. For those reasons, I don’t expect a track meet Sunday night. The difference will be Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ run game. You can expect Minnesota to be locked in against Elliott after uncharacteristically allowing a 91-yard touchdown to Kansas City last week – the longest ever by a Mike Zimmer team. But Elliott and the offensive line is finding their groove in the run game, and if they can be efficient enough to keep the Vikings’ pass rush off balance, I think the Cowboys get to 6-3 in a fairly low-scoring game.
Nick Eatman: I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me, but I just don’t know if I’m really sold on the Vikings. I guess I’m not really sold on the Cowboys either. Both teams seem kind of identical to me. And both of them could be without their top receiver – depending on Cooper’s status this weekend. I think if Amari Cooper doesn’t play, it changes everything. We’ve seen how different they are at receiver without him. But assuming he can play, I think the Cowboys will win this game. They’ll put a huge emphasis on stopping Dalvin Cook and I think this pass rush can get home without having to blitz a lot. I see two more interceptions this week – and let’s go with Chido and Xavier again. I see the offense putting up some points with Randall Cobb having his best game of the season. And Brett Maher will out-kick Bailey as the Cowboys get the W, 34-23.
Mickey Spagnola: So my gut tells me the Vikings will blitz a lot on third downs, and they are pretty good at that if their 28 sacks in nine games is any reflection. That usually means a lot of single-safety-high coverages and even zero coverages, meaning those not blitzing will be in man coverages. And if the Vikings cheat, they certainly will cheat to Amari Cooper’s side. That means, looking at you Michael Gallup. The second-year wide receiver has been pretty good against man coverage, especially beating those DBs deep. The Cowboys will Gallup along with Michael to a victory.
David Helman: It honestly feels as simple to me as whether or not Amari Cooper can play. These teams are quite similar to each other, with stout defenses and a pair of offenses that lean heavily on the running game. I think both defenses can limit the offenses -- for the most part, at least. So if Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott don’t take over this game? That’d be the better passing attack. The Vikings don’t have Adam Thielen, which puts them in a bind if they’re going to exploit the Dallas secondary. Meanwhile, if Cooper suits up, I think there are plays to be made against Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes. I assume Cooper is going to play, and he’s going to help Dak Prescott throw for 250 and two touchdowns. It’s going to be stressful, but I don’t trust Kirk Cousins to keep pace. Cowboys escape with a win – something like 24-20.