Can Ravens Make Cowboys One-Dimensional?
Every week, the Ravens enter the game with the goal of making their opponent one-dimensional by shutting down the run game. This week, it's a whole different animal. The Cowboys offensive line is big, fast and talented with three first-round picks. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing (1,005 yards). But Baltimore's defense is also ranked atop the league, both overall and against the run. Whoever succeeds in imposing their will in the trenches will likely win Sunday's game.
Rattle The Rookie Quarterback
This is the second part of making the Cowboys one-dimensional. What's made Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott so successful is that, in part, he's had a strong run game to rely on. Prescott has been able to be patient, resulting in just two interceptions so far this season. The Ravens want to put the game on his shoulders, keep him guessing with their schemes and then get after him with their pass rushers, which could include a healthy outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Baltimore has the second-most interceptions in the league (11) this season.
Flacco May Need To Carry Offense
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco got on a roll in the second half of the Ravens' 28-7 win over the Cleveland Browns last Thursday night, in part, because of the use of the shotgun, no-huddle offense. The Ravens may not have the luxury of using that as much in Dallas since it's more difficult to operate with elevated crowd noise. Still, Baltimore may need Flacco to carry the offense considering Dallas ranks third in the NFL in rush defense (82.6 yards per game) and their pass defense is 21st (263.1 yards per game).
Two Of The Most Competitive WRs
Two players that seem to be cut from the same cloth are Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. They're both ultra-competitors who will stop at nothing to make plays for their team. Expect Smith to be especially jacked up as he's only three catches away from 1,000 for his career, which is a milestone that he jokingly said prompted him not to retire. Bryant has topped 100 yards in two of his three games since returning from a hairline knee fracture. He's still a big-play threat the Ravens need to put a lid on.
An Atmosphere Unlike Any Other
The Ravens haven't notched a road win since Sept. 25 in Jacksonville. Their other road victory was in Cleveland. AT&T Stadium in Dallas will be a much tougher place to play considering the Cowboys' rabid fan base and 8-1 record entering the game. Just the glitz and glamor of the stadium itself will also be a new experience for some of Baltimore's youngest players. The Ravens shut down Cowboys Stadium with a win in 2008. This will be the Ravens' first regular-season trip to A&T Stadium.