The Atlanta Falcons (+9) are coming off a thrilling win against the New Orleans Saints in week 9. It took the last-minute heroics of Matt Ryan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Younghoe Koo to pull it off as the defense blew an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys (-9) struggled to protect Dak Prescott against a Denver Broncos team that no longer had Von Miller on the field as they lost their home game 30 - 16.
Atlanta sits at 4-4 and is on the outer edges of the playoff talk while Dallas is 6-2 and still atop a very weak NFC East division. Despite the loss to the Broncos, the Cowboys are still in contention for home field advantage throughout the playoffs and taking down the Falcons will be an important part of that effort. The Falcons need this win to get above .500 for the first time since 2017 and to keep their footing as the current 7th seed in the playoffs.
The Falcons defense looks completely outmatched by a very potent Cowboys offense. Dak Prescott has a stout offensive line, though the availability of star left tackle Tyron Smith could swing this matchup slightly. However, Atlanta has few answers for the smorgasbord of weapons Dallas has. The backfield of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard is dangerous on the ground and in the air. CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Dalton Schultz headline a passing game that few secondaries can keep up with. Second-year corner A.J. Terrell is turning into a star for Atlanta, but he can’t cover five guys by himself. The Atlanta pass rush is almost non-existent as well.
The Falcons offense is their only real hope. They’ve struggled against good pass rushing teams and they’ll be without star receiver Calvin Ridley for the game. Matt Ryan has had a strong season under Arthur Smith’s new scheme and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts has had moments of brilliance in the first eight games. No other weapon on offense has stood out more than Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been dangerous as a runner and a receiver and is easily one of the most valuable free agent signings of the 2021 season across the entire NFL landscape. Dallas has an improved defense under former Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn, but their ability to get to the passer has fallen off without Demarcus Lawrence on the field. This defense has given up 28 or more in four of their eight games this year, including 30 last week to the Denver Broncos.
NFL games can always go off script but this one feels like it’s going to be a shootout. Dak Prescott has the weapons to easily overwhelm this Falcons defense. Likewise, the Dallas defense can’t get to the passer consistently, which gives Matt Ryan the minimal time he needs in the pocket to put points on the board.
The Cowboys are heavily favored playing at home as the DraftKings Sportbook has Dallas winning by two scores.
Score prediction: Falcons 28, Cowboys 38
Bold prediction: Matt Ryan throws for over 300 yards, four TDs but it’s still not enough
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Falcons vs. Cowboys Week 10
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Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.