ARLINGTON, Texas – With the Cowboys looking to win a franchise-best nine straight games, coupled with the news of Tony Romo being a backup for the first time in 10 years, there was a growing perception this might be the game that gets overlooked.
For a while, the Cowboys struggled with the Ravens but in the end, they were too strong and cruised to 9-1 with a 27-17 victory.
On Friday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman:I feel pretty good about my overall prediction for this game. It was hard-fought. The Cowboys had to work for their rushing yards, but they ultimately got to 118 – right there with the 115 I predicted. I also predicted the Baltimore passing game would have its share of wins against this Dallas defense. But honestly, I expected this to be a knockdown, drag out fight all the way until the final whistle. It was anything but. After tying the game, 10-10, just before halftime, the Cowboys utterly dominated this game. They outscored the Ravens, 17-7, after halftime, scoring on all five possessions of the second half. Elliott exerted his will, particularly in the third quarter, and finished with 127 all-purpose yards on the day. With that kind of support, all Dak Prescott had to do was hit the open man – and he did, time and time again. This was a physical game, but it was also a thorough beating of a division leader. The Cowboys are for real, if you didn't already know.
Nick Eatman: This will go down as one of my better ones. My 27-14 prediction was rather close and the way they pulled away in the second half was something I also figured would occur. Getting the sack by Jack Crawford was a little gravy on top. But all in all, it was so impressive the way the Cowboys fought off the distractions from the week and then fought off the Ravens, too. The Baltimore offense couldn't hold up but that defense was as advertised and even played without two key starters. Finally, the Cowboys have defeated the Ravens in a regular-season game and to have nine straight victories, a franchise record, just makes this win even sweeter. This is a really good football team here in Dallas because throughout a four-quarter period, the Cowboys just find a way to figure it out. Sure, there will be struggles early on but by the end, the talent just prevails and rises to the top, which is exactly where the Cowboys rank among the rest of the league.
Rob Phillips: My biggest question entering the game was whether the Ravens could score enough points to hang with the Cowboys' offense. Baltimore entered Sunday averaging 20 per game, and the Cowboys had scored at least 30 in three of their previous four. The Dallas defense didn't necessarily make a bunch of highlight-reel plays, but they got off the field in key situations – the Ravens were 3-of-9 on third down – and allowed only 17 points, the third-fewest total of the season. Give the Ravens credit – their No. 1-ranked defense made things tough on Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott early, but the offensive line and the running game took over in the second half once again. And Prescott was remarkably efficient yet again, completing 23 of his final 26 passes. It's just tough for defenses to match this offense's toughness for four quarters.
For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Friday, click here.