Coming off a bye week, The Dallas Cowboys are 16-7 since 1990. These stats can be misleading depending on the teams they play after the bye week. The Baltimore Ravens are a tough AFC team with a top ten defense. Dallas is currently towards the bottom in the 2012 season offensively. This could spell disaster depending on what Dallas team shows up this week. With two weeks to prepare for the Ravens, the Cowboys have a few things they need to get accomplished if they are going to pull out a win in Baltimore, Maryland today.
Dallas has a few keys to win this game especially since Baltimore is currently 20-1 at home but it is any given Sunday and that is why they play the games.
In order for the Cowboys to win they need to do the following:
The Cowboys need to get the offense rolling, quick, efficiently and with a touchdown. To date, kicker Dan Bailey, is the leading scorer on the team with 21 points. As good as Bailey is, Dallas cannot rely on field goal kicking to win against the Ravens at home. Scoring in the red zone, especially touchdowns, is a must. The Ravens defense is on the older side of the NFL scale and the longer they are on the field the better off Dallas will be offensively. Keeping veterans like Ray Lewis on the sidelines only benefits the offense and gives them the ability to move the ball down the field.
The Cowboys defense needs to put pressure on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in a hurry. The faster you disrupt Flacco the more mistakes he will make as well as keeping field position in the Cowboys favor. Three and outs are going to be very important in this game for the simple reason that if it is left up to Dallas to win the game defensively they need to be refreshed and ready.
Finally, Dallas needs to keep the momentum in their favor. Playing on the road is difficult and the Baltimore fans are loud and angry fans and once momentum shifts to the Ravens they do play a big factor in disrupting the away teams. Dallas needs to focus on not getting penalties that are momentum shifters (i.e. false starts, pass interference).
As optimistic and simple as this sounds, the Ravens will pull out a win against the Cowboys. Whether it be referred to as the “Massacre in Baltimore” for the Cowboys or whether it is a close game, the Cowboys aren’t ready and mentally prepared to face a team like the Baltimore Ravens.