Cowboys vs Titans: Gut projection
Projection: Dallas Cowboys 27, Tennessee Titans 20
Something in my gut tells me that this one is going to be a little bit of a mundane game after the 40-34 shootout win over the Eagles last week. It is a short week against a physical team that will try to shorten the game. The Titans can’t afford to turn this into a shootout and hope to stick around.
Dallas has slowly improved their run defense a bit, now up to No. 22 in the league. While not great, it is serviceable when paired with the 10th-best pass defense and sixth-best scoring defense. That is the recipe right there. Slow down the ground game and make Tennessee throw the ball. Much easier said than done against Derrick Henry, though, as he currently sits with 1,429 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Dan Quinn has his hands full here.
On the flip side, the Cowboys offense is simply playing out of their minds right now. They are leading the league in scoring since Dak’s return from injury. And oddly enough, even after I hear how inaccurate he is, he is tied for the most accurate passer in the league. The interceptions are a problem, yes, but look at the bigger picture. He is mounting points at a rapid pace and winning games, the two main goals.
The Titans are a tale of the stories on defense. Their run defense allows just 80 yards per game, good enough for second in the NFL. Their passing defense gives up 279.6 yards through the air per game, bad enough for 31st in the NFL. The Cowboys passing offense is on fire with Prescott, Lamb, T.Y. Hilton, Michael Gallup, and more. They should be able to sling the ball around the yard a bit on Thursday night.
Prescott is finding his stride a bit and that continues this week. Micah Parsons has the athletic ability to match up with Derrick Henry and contain Malik Willis. The linebacking group of Anthony Barr and Damone Clark need to stand tall to limit four yard runs from springing into 40-yard runs.
Ultimately, the Cowboys are a more confident team playing much better football right now and stay on track this week to move to 12-4 entering the final week of the season and give themselves the choice of resting some players for the playoffs.