Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys Prediction, Storylines: Trouble ahead for Dak and company?

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys look to get back on track in NFL Week 10 against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.

After a shocking loss to the Broncos in Week 9, the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys look to get back on track against a surprising 4-4 Atlanta Falcons club that enters Sunday’s action as the NFC’s seventh seed. The Cowboys are four games clear of the rest of the NFC East in the loss column, while the Falcons are in third place in the NFC South, two games back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What can we expect to see in the Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys matchup in Week 10?

Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys storylines

FOX is sending the Falcons vs. Cowboys to most of America, which is never a surprise when the Cowboys are involved. Will we be treated to the expected two-score Dallas win, or is another surprise in store?

Can the Dallas Cowboys regain their swagger?

Jerry Jones is a one-man headline generator, so it was inevitable that he’d have something notable to say after the Broncos waxed the Cowboys in Week 9. Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that the Cowboys weren’t ready for the Denver game after being “internally overconfident” in the week heading up to the game.

“That’s as flat as any team I’ve seen,” Jones added. “We basically played what seemed to be lackadaisical.” That’s a reflection of coaching, certainly, so it’s on Mike McCarthy to have the Cowboys ready to go against an Atlanta team that has won three out of four.

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“It’s a new week. It’s a new opponent,” wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “Obviously, it’s going to be tough to win again because this is the NFL. You just have to be on our P’s and Q’s, trust in our preparation, and go out there and play. We know what we have; we feel like we have a special group. We feel like we shouldn’t lose any games. So, I think with that confidence, just getting our swagger back for this week, I think we should be okay.”

The Cowboys are in Game 3 of a seven-game stretch against playoff contenders, with trips to Kansas City and New Orleans still looming, along with a home Thanksgiving date with the Raiders.

Are the Atlanta Falcons for real?

After losing three of their first four games, 2021 looked like another lost season for Atlanta. But they’ve lost just once since — and that was by 6 points to the Panthers.

Matt Ryan has thrown for 13 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his last six starts. Rookie Kyle Pitts is third among all NFL tight ends with 546 receiving yards.

The Falcons protect the passer and pick up third downs better than most. With a 14-team playoff field and the NFL’s 13th-easiest remaining strength of schedule, there’s no reason to believe the Falcons don’t stick around for the duration.

But there’s a hard ceiling when you’re a team that allows 27.5 points per game, is out-gained by 22.5 yards per game, and ranks last in sack rate (3.9%). The Falcons are 31st in DVOA — which seems a bit harsh, considering the Lions, Jaguars, Jets, and Texans are all in the league. We’ll find out a lot more about Atlanta on Sunday.

Did the Broncos provide the blueprint to beating the Cowboys?

A result like the Broncos’ 30-16 victory over the Cowboys makes the rest of the league stand up and take notice. How did Denver hold Dallas scoreless for the game’s first 56 minutes and limit Dak Prescott and the high-flying Cowboys offense to 290 yards?

By loading up against the run and trusting its talented secondary to handle the Cowboys’ banged-up wide receivers. The Broncos sprinkled an occasional blitz (8 of 43 dropbacks) into a game plan that relied heavily on getting pressure with just four. It worked, as Denver got pressure on 30.2% of its dropbacks. That was all the help the Broncos’ back end of Patrick Surtain, Ronald Darby, and Kyle Fuller needed.

“This is a copycat league,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “I just told the team, so get ready. I hope they do, too. Vic [Fangio] played us very aggressive. That’s good to hear him beating his own drum. Their linebacker depth, their linebackers are 3 yards; the safeties were up. In that case, you make their corners tackle. They played us aggressive. They went for it. I think you want that from the other team.”

Falcons vs. Cowboys betting line and game prediction

Based on any available metric, the Cowboys are by far the better team. And we expect them to reestablish a little home dominance against a Falcons team that has just one victory against teams with winning records.

Falcons vs. Cowboys prediction: Cowboys 35, Falcons 20

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