The Dallas Cowboys return to their home field this week to face the Baltimore Ravens, which happens to be the one team in the NFL that the Cowboys have not beaten. Cowboys Blitz writers share their predictions on this Week 11 matchup below.
Dallas Cowboys (8-1) host Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Nov. 20, 12:00 p.m. CST
AT&T Stadium, Arlington Texas
Jonah: The only reason why the Baltimore Ravens are even considered to have a chance in this game is because of their top-ranked defense. I actually believe their defense is a bit overrated considering the teams they have played, but statistics are statistics. The recipe to defeating Dallas is to control Ezekiel Elliott and this offensive line, something only one team has been able to do so far this season. That team was the New York Giants in the first game of the year. They held Elliott to 51 yards on 20 carries for the game, which is somewhat of an anomaly at this point considering he has averaged 119 yards and a touchdown per game since then. Teams have tried to stack the box against Elliott, but it simply hasn’t worked. Until I see another team stop Elliott and this offensive line again, I cannot pick against Dallas. One problem the Cowboys could run into is wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. He is still a dynamic receiver who can change a game on any given play despite his age. With the injuries stacking up in the secondary, I expect Joe Flacco to have little trouble attacking this team vertically. However, the only hope Baltimore has is to make this an ugly, low-scoring affair that comes down to the last possession, which is not going to happen. With Jimmy Smith potentially out for Sunday’s game, Dez Bryant could be in for a pre-Thanksgiving feast. Cowboys 31, Ravens 17
Cami: Not only are the Ravens currently No.1 against the run, they also have the No.1 overall defense in the NFL. I know we saw what happened in Green Bay when Ezekiel Elliott went up against the No. 1 run defense at the time, but I believe this Baltimore team has a tougher defensive front who controls the line of scrimmage. If I were to pick one team remaining on the Cowboys schedule that I felt had the best chance to limit Elliott, it’d be the Ravens. However, which Joe Flacco will show up? Flacco has the ability to pick apart the ailing Dallas secondary if he has time. As Bryan Broaddus recently pointed out on DallasCowboys.com, the Ravens have been the most productive in the fourth quarter this season. This could be an ugly game that comes down to which team has the ball last, and i’m just not confident enough in the Dallas defense. As much as the Cowboys are appreciative of Dan Bailey, keep in mind that Justin Tucker has yet to miss a field goal this season. Ravens 30, Cowboys 24
Bobby: Baltimore’s chances of giving Dallas a difficult game will rely solely on its defense, and that will largely hinge on whether or not Ravens corner Jimmy Smith plays. The fact is that Joe Flacco is having one of the worst season of his careers, currently sitting at a career-low 6.3 yards per attempt and 2.4 TD%. The Baltimore running game hasn’t been much better, averaging 3.5 yards per carry, which ranks 5th worst in the NFL. Pittsburgh effectively exploited Dallas’ injuries in the secondary last week, but the Ravens don’t have Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. For Baltimore to keep this competitive they will need to stop Ezekiel Elliott and take their chances with Dak Prescott throwing the ball. I do believe Baltimore will make it a long day for Ezekiel Elliott, but the 8-man fronts will provide opportunities for Dak Prescott that I think he will seize. Jimmy Smith, the Ravens’ best corner, is listed as doubtful with a back injury, but it’s unclear what exactly his chances are for playing. Regardless of whether Smith plays or not, the Ravens will not have him at 100%. Look for Dak Prescott to connect with Dez Bryant at least twice for scores on Sunday. Cowboys 24, Ravens 13
Laurie: So much of the Cowboys’ success this year has been built on consistent first down execution. If the Ravens’ stout front can halt the Cowboys on the ground, that equation changes and we’ll see Dak Prescott putting some air in the football early. Luckily that coincides with Baltimore’s top corner Jimmy Smith struggling with a back injury, meaning Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley could find room to go to work. Flipping the script, when Steve Smith Sr. lines up against rookie Anthony Brown expect physicality and plenty of words, with the future Hall of Famer a tall task for any member of Dallas’ thin secondary. Joe Flacco will welcome Marshal Yanda’s return with glee, but whether he can take advantage of the time in the pocket the Cowboys allow is the big question. Unfortunately for Dallas, there’s just a shade too much veteran talent scheming a Baltimore upset on Sunday. Cowboys 19, Ravens 23