Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings Gut Prediction
Prediction: Cowboys 33, Vikings 29
This game is going to have something weird happen in it. It’s on Halloween night and it sends some shivers down my spine. For some reason, I think we are in for some weird stuff. Could be a safety, punt return touchdown, kickoff return touchdown, who knows, but it leads to an odd score and a fun one. This is also a game the Cowboys prove themselves to the national audience.
The Cowboys should be able to move the ball on the Vikings’ defense. As I stated earlier, they are mostly middle of the pack in most major statistical categories. They are the 16th best defense in total yards (358ypg), 12th best in passing yards allowed (230ypg), 26th best in rushing yards allowed (128ypg), and 13th best in points per game allowed (22.8ppg).
Kellen Moore will look to run the ball early and establish the ground attack against a bottom-tier rush defense and neutralize the crowd. The Vikings lead the league sacks with 21 and in creating pressure on 32% of opponent’s dropbacks. The ground game should slow this pass rush down and open up the play-action passing game for Dak Prescott to attack.
I like the offense to find success in the screen game to Zeke and Pollard along with some tight end screens to Dalton Schultz which have been wonderfully executed to this point so far. The Vikings are pretty healthy overall on defense, aside from one cornerback, and I don’t see a ton of glaring weak players to pick on, but across the board, I like the Cowboys’ wide receivers against the cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland, Cameron Dantzler, and Mackensie Alexander.
The Cowboys would be best suited to get out to a lead quickly and play extraordinarily aggressively in the first half. I’m talking about the continued fourth-down aggressiveness and stealing a possession with a fake punt or surprise onside kick. The Cowboys need to come out of the gates hot and eliminate home-field advantage as early as possible.
The Vikings will want to help Kirk Cousins by getting Dalvin Cook going on the ground early. If the Cowboys can get to an early lead and force more predictable play calling, this defense should thrive on Sunday night. I like the Cowboys in a matchup of Kirk Cousins versus an opportunistic secondary paired with a defensive line knowing they can only worry about pressure.
This game is going to stay close and be a bit unnerving for the Cowboys but that’s what Halloween is all about anyway. It is going to be a spooky movie that ends up with the good guy coming out on top at the end. The Cowboys leave their old ways of primetime collapses behind them and continue what feels like a special season.