The Dallas Cowboys head into Week 2 with more questions than answers after a Week 1 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams. Adding to the sting of defeat, the Cowboys left Los Angeles with injuries to Leighton Vander Esch and Blake Jarwin. That being said, there’s plenty of time to rebound, and the Falcons provide a good opportunity to get a win. Here are a few keys for the Cowboys vs. the Falcons in Week 2.
Cowboys vs. Falcons Week 2: Dallas must challenge a weak Falcons pass defense
In Week 1, the Atlanta Falcons were torched through the air, allowing Russell Wilson to go 31-35 for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Wilson has weapons, but he doesn’t have the weapons the Cowboys have at their disposal. The plan should be to throw early and often. One of the primary weapons for the Seahawks was Chris Carson, who recorded six receptions for 45 yards and two touchdowns. D.K Metcalf was also able to spread the field and get open on some deeper throws.
The Cowboys have two RBs that can be utilized in the screen game effectively. Additionally, the Cowboys have Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb available as well. It will be a “pick your poison” type of situation for the Falcons passing defense.
I’m not betting on the Falcons being able to make the necessary adjustments to stop a Cowboys passing attack that is, on paper, more dangerous than that of the Seahawks. Of course, it’s all theoretical, but the Cowboys should be able to recreate the Seahawks’ success in the air. The Cowboys vs. Falcons in Week 2 could be a high scoring affair.
Focus on limiting Julio Jones on first down
This may be asking a lot of the Dallas secondary, but it will be important come Sunday. It’s well known the Falcons are going to throw the football. In 2019, the Falcons ranked first in the league in pass attempts per game at 42.8 pass attempts per game.
Well, not many things changed for the Falcons for the beginning of 2020. The Falcons lead the league in passing attempts finishing with 54 in Week 1 against the Seahawks. The Falcons had three receivers cross the 100-yard mark on Sunday and still lost the game. With arguably the best WR in the game on their side, the Falcons will continue to do just that against Dallas on Sunday.
Especially on first down, the Falcons targeted Jones six times, resulting in five receptions for 122 of his 157 yards on the day. In fact, this isn’t just a trend starting in 2020. In 2019, Jones was targeted 65 times on first down leading to 42 receptions and 639 yards, his highest totals in both categories for any down. Specifically, on first down and 10, Jones had 56 targets leading to 35 receptions and 592 yards. His 35 receptions on first and ten are more than double any other down and distance.
Additionally, his 592 yards are almost triple his yardage from any other down and distance. Jones will get his yardage, but if the Cowboys can limit him on first down, it may severely hamper one part of the Falcons primary gameplan early on.