By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens will match up against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Here’s the scouting report.
Dallas Cowboys record: 2-2-0 (3rd in the NFC East)
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a bye week after struggling against the Bears the week before. Tony Romo would throw five interceptions that would basically cost the team the game. Against a defense like Baltimore, a repeat of that performance could have similar ramifications. Baltimore ranks 4th in turnovers and has always had a knack for returning turnovers for touchdowns. Romo will have to keep mistakes to a minimum if he is to have any chance in this game.
The Cowboys have a deep pool of receivers that can hurt you at any time. Dez Bryant could have a big game against a secondary that has struggled stopping big time wide receivers. Look for the Cowboys to throw the ball early and often in order to take advantage of potential mismatches. But if they can’t get anything done through the air, they may rely on DeMarco Murray to get things going. Murray only has 237 yards and 1 touchdown on the season, but Dallas may have hope after watching Baltimore struggle against Jamaal Charles last week.
The Ravens have been extremely impressive on offense this year. The Dallas Cowboys’ defense may be just as impressive. Boasting the 4th ranked defense and 1st ranked pass defense, the Cowboys will look to shut down Baltimore’s high flying passing attack. Like many pocket passers, Flacco works best from within the pocket. Look for Dallas to make him feel uncomfortable and force him to move outside. DeMarcus Ware is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. If he can get pressure on Flacco, he may be able to force some turnovers.
The real issue for Dallas lies in the diversity of the Baltimore Ravens offense. They can beat you in so many different ways. If Flacco isn’t able to get things going on Sunday, Ray Rice could be the difference maker. Ranked 2nd in yards from the line of scrimmage, the quick running back can run for large chunks of yards at any time. The Ravens could counter the sack hungry Cowboys with draw plays and screens. If they are successful, it will force the Cowboys to play less aggressive and give Flacco extra time in the pocket.
Jason Garrett will be forever tied to John Harbaugh as the Ravens courted Garrett for the head coaching job that was left vacant after the firing of Brian Billick. Garrett would turn down the offer to remain the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. The Ravens will see a slightly familiar face on Sunday with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rob Ryan is the brother of current New York Jets head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Rob Ryan calls defensive plays similar to his brother and could play a huge role in the game.
The Cowboys have never defeated the Baltimore Ravens. The last time these two teams played, Baltimore upset the Cowboys in what would be the final home game for Dallas at Texas Stadium. Baltimore leads the series 3-0 with a point differential of 90-34.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.