Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys “Under the Radar” Players
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Pollard, RB
Atlanta Falcons: Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR/KR
After going for at least 60 yards from scrimmage in a five-game stretch from Week 2-6, two of those contributing 100-plus yards, Tony Pollard has seemed to hit a bit of a slowdown. In his last two games, he has just 70 total yards from scrimmage.
Over the last two weeks, Pollard has 11 carries and two receptions. Ezekiel Elliott had that many touches last week alone. I am not sure why the usage of Pollard has tailed off, but when the Cowboys’ offense saw great success, his speed and elusiveness played a key part in it.
After a poor offensive showing last week, I think Kellen Moore gets Pollard back into the mix with his burst in the run game and spreads the Falcons’ defense sideline to sideline. The Falcons are in the bottom-third of the league in run defense giving up 123 rushing yards per game.
They also allow the 6th most receptions two running backs this season. This matchup pairs well with Pollard averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 8.7 yards per catch.
Pollard should be fresh and his counterpart, Elliott, is a bit banged up with a knee injury sustained last weekend. While Elliott is expected to play, I think we see Pollard take on more of the load due to preserving Elliott and getting this offense back on track. I like Pollard to give us 80+ total yards and find the end zone for the first time this season.
As for Atlanta, everyone knows about their star rookie tight end, Kyle Pitts. There is no denying the outright monster he is and how much the Falcons utilize him. He leads them in targets, receiving yards, yards per catch, and yards per game. He isn’t what I would call “under the radar” in this matchup as their key offensive weapon.
The secondary attack is where the Cowboys’ defense needs to step up. With Calvin Ridley out due to mental health, I expect the Falcons to look to Cordarrelle Patterson to continue his career revival. Patterson is a Swiss Army Knife being utilized as a running back, receiver, and kick returner.
Patterson is splitting time with other back, Mike Davis, but is leading them in total yards. He also comes in second for receiving yards. With the Cowboys looking to lock down Kyle Pitts, via help from the defensive backs in the passing game, the linebacking group will be tasked with putting a lid on Patterson.
Micah Parsons seems to really be blossoming playing sideline to sideline and this skillset could be put to one of its’ best tests yet in an effort to limit Patterson’s effectiveness. If the Cowboys can keep Patterson from getting loose in the running and passing game, they can force the Falcons to play offense with one hand tied behind their back.