(Editor's Note: This week, another contribution from guest writer TIm Walsh)
This week the Dallas Cowboys take on the Baltimore Ravens who are 4-1 on the season and are atop the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens have won three straight, their only loss coming against the Philadelphia Eagles, week 2 in Philly. The Ravens have played in close games all year long.
These guys are used to being all smiles. What can the Cowboys do about that?
A Look Back (Previous 3 Games):
Week 3: The Ravens were able to edge out the New England Patriots 31-30 on a last second field goal.
Week 4: Baltimore defeated the Cleveland Browns 23-16, in a game that came down to a last second Hail Mary for Brandon Weeden and the Browns.
Week 5: Last week, they were able to sneak by the Kansas City Chiefs 9-6, in what was a poorly played game by both teams.
The bottom line is they know how to win.
The first thing you think of when you here the Baltimore Ravens is defense. Led by Ray Lewis, they have one of the strongest defenses in the league, tied for 2nd in points allowed in the AFC. Although, they are continuing to get the job done, they have sorely missed last year’s defensive player of the year, Terrell Suggs, as he has been recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that he suffered back in April. Baltimore ranks 23rd in opponents passing yards, and 20th in opponents rushing yards, stats they are not used to seeing. They have given up yards early in the season, but have been able to limit the scoring. They are tough, but have shown some holes, something the Cowboys will look to take advantage of.
This year we have seen the potential of Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. Although, their biggest offensive weapon is still RB Ray Rice, their passing game and newly implemented no huddle offense has proven to work in the first quarter of the season. They are in the upper half of the NFL offensive rankings including points scored, passing yards, and rushing yards. The combination of Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith has evolved to become a dynamic duo and a true threat that teams must prepare for on a weekly basis. Their passing game and offense of the Baltimore Ravens haven’t been their strong suit in the last few seasons, but they seem to be coming into their own this year. When the offense clicks on all cylinders, Baltimore may be one of the toughest teams in the league.
Now you’re thinking, how do the Cowboys beat them? There’s no specific game plan, but first and foremost they have to clean up the turnovers that we saw from last game against the Chicago Bears. The Baltimore Ravens will capitalize on mistakes, and create points off of turnovers. The Cowboys have the pieces in place for a strong defense; so limiting Joe Flacco and Ray Rice is not out of the question. Last week for example, the Kansas City Chiefs held the Ravens offense to just three field goals, and no touchdowns. The Cowboys offense will have a tough matchup especially on the ground with Demarco Murray, but we have seen teams rack up yards offensively; the key is turning those yards into points. The Dallas Cowboys have a chance for a statement win against the Baltimore Ravens this week, and look to send a message to the league.
Stay tuned later today for our Insider's Report with Ravens 101!
Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.