Life without Dak Prescott continues on Monday night for the Dallas Cowboys, when they host the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are actually 1.5-point road favorites with an over/under of 55 points.
Despite losing Prescott to an anklel injury in the middle of the game last week, the Cowboys were able to squeak out a victory over the winless Giants. The win pushed Dallas to 2-3 on the season, which is somehow good enough to sit atop the NFC East. The rest of the division is a combined 2-12-1.
Based largely on the play of the other teams, the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat in their divisiont. However, Mike McCarthy would love nothing more than to beat Arizona on Monday and Washington next week to move above .500.
The Cardinals are 3-2, which is only good enough for third place in the NFC West. A convincing 30-10 win over the Jets last week kept Arizona from losing three in a row, following defeats to the Lions and Panthers.
While the Cardinals have shown plenty of promise, the jury is still out on Kliff Kingsbury’s team. Games against the Cowboys and Seahawks the next two weeks should tell us a lot about whether the Cardinals have enough horses to stay in the playoff race all season.
The Kyler Murray Hour
After winning Rookie of the Year in 2019, Kyler Murray has continued to be one of the most dynamic and exciting players in the NFL. With DeAndre Hopkins in the fold, he has an elite wide receiver in his prime to throw to. Murray has also rushed for five touchdowns, and looks dangerous every time he escapes the pocket.
Youthful mistakes and turnovers continue to plague the dynamic QB however. Murray has thrown at least one interception in four of five games this season, and the one game he didn’t might have been his worst game of the season. That speaks to inconsistency for the second-year quarterback.
The good news is that the Dallas defense has been atrocious this season. The Cowboys are giving up 36 points per game, which is the most in the NFL. After holding the Rams to 20 points in Week 1, the Cowboys have given a minimum of 34 points in four straight games. They couldn’t even slow down Daniel Jones last week, so Murray figures to be a huge challenge.
Big Red is Back
With Prescott out, Dallas is officially Andy Dalton’s team. The offseason signing is proving genius as Dalton might be the best backup quarterback in the league. He was nine of 11 for 111 yards off the bench last week, helping the Cowboys come from behind to beat the Giants.
Dalton also has plenty of help around him, as Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb have all been productive this year. Plus, the running game continues to flourish with Ezekiel Elliott, and a solid offensive line.
The Arizona defense has been much better than expected this season. While the schedule has been favorable, the Cards are yielding just over 20 points per game. The question for this week is how they will adjust to losing Chandler Jones to a season-ending injury. Even when Jones did play, the Cardinals have been subpar at pressuring quarterbacks and creating turnovers.
Light It Up
As with most games that the Cowboys have played this year, there should be plenty of points scored on Monday night. If Murray can avoid turnovers, he should run circles around the Dallas defense. Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if Dalton has a good game as well, with the receiving talent the Cowboys have around him. The Cowboys have played four straight games in which both teams have scored at least 30 points, so bet on this game going way over 55 points.