Both of these teams played on Thursday last week, so they’ve each had the normal week-long recovery process. This is a must-win game for the Vikings to remain alive in the NFC North, while the Cowboys have a bit more cushion where a win would give them a legitimate chance at clinching a playoff spot this week. Cowboys Blitz writers share their predictions on this Week 13 matchup below.
Dallas Cowboys (10-1) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5)
Thursday, December 1, 7:25 p.m. CST
U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis Minnesota
Bobby: I don’t know that I can pick against Dallas anymore. They continue to pass every test posed to them. Minnesota may be the best defense they’ve played, but Baltimore wasn’t much of a slouch. I think Dallas’ offense will be less explosive than in previous weeks, but I’m not going to doubt Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott’s ability to keep this offense steadily moving, no matter the opponent. What I will doubt is Minnesota’s putrid offense and it’s complete inability to match even half of its stellar defense. Cowboys 24, Vikings 10
Jonah: The only way a team can beat Dallas is if they force them to play catch up in a track-meet style of a game. In fact, the Pittsburgh Steelers were a minute away from doing just that a couple of weeks ago. The problem the Minnesota Vikings have is that they play to the exact style the Cowboys want to play, which does not bode well for the men in purple. Minnesota relies on their defense to keep them in games, but they simply do not have the firepower on offense to keep up with this Cowboys unit. Compare their lackluster quarterback play, abysmal running game, lack of playmakers on the outside, and poor offensive line to Dallas who is almost the opposite in each of those areas this season. Earlier in the season, I said that if a team stacked the box against Ezekiel Elliott and forced Dak Prescott to throw the ball, they would have a good chance to win the game, but that is just not the case anymore. This team has proven to burn teams who stack the box both in the run and pass game, as the Cowboys are undoubtedly the best play-action team in the NFL. With that being said, I am confident that Dallas steamrolls Minnesota en route to a 11-1 record. Cowboys 38, Vikings 13
Laurie: This week is the perfect return game for Barry Church, the co-leader (with Sean Lee) of the rally to the ball crew, with Sam Bradford passing short and safe exclusively. The pass rush, in dire need of a spark, will have ample opportunity to boost their confidence against a Vikings offensive line that’s not so much injury-plagued as it is facing an epidemic. Keep a close eye on #57 flying about the field, if Damien Wilson can add the break pedal to his violent speed, strength and intent, Dallas may strike gold with Justin Durant missing. For the offense, Dez Bryant against Xavier Rhodes may be the marquee matchup, but this meeting sees the the Cowboys’ diverse weapons meet a deep and talented Minnesota back-end. Decision making from Prescott and the line of scrimmage showdown will decide whether this tussle is tense, or another run-til-you-stop-us knotch for Dallas. Cowboys 23, Vikings 13
Cami: I don’t believe this is the best overall defense that the Cowboys have seen so far this season, but I do think the Vikings possess a top-notch pass defense. The good part about that, is that Dallas is a run-first team. Minnesota has a vulnerable defensive front four. If the Cowboys offense can keep it to short down and distances, they’ll have no problem moving the ball down the field at their own will. I’m curious to see which Sam Bradford shows up on the opposite side. They’ve had players mention this week that they feel like they can attack the Dallas secondary, which I can’t disagree with, but will they be aggressive enough? Can Bradford get it there? The Cowboys defense is the only part that worries me going forward, and that’s both from a pass rush standpoint as well as a pass defense standpoint. Both look well below average, and could come back to bite them in the playoffs. I don’t have much faith in the Vikings offense, so my gut feeling says the Cowboys will control the time of possession. When this Bradford offense becomes desperate in the second half, you’ll probably see a sack or two finally show up. Cowboys 27, Vikings 20