The Falcons knocking off the Saints was a very pleasant surprise. It showed how tough the Falcons can be, and more than that, it showed that they can beat a good team with a few dents in their armor.
While that win was great—and yes, I regret not predicting a win—the Cowboys are a different challenge. They are missing a couple of key starters, but they still have a pretty terrific team, and most importantly they have a top-end quarterback. The Falcons have surprised us more than once this season and won’t be taken lightly by Dallas, but this will be their stiffest challenge yet. If they win here, the only game I’ll be willing to dismiss their chances in is that January road tilt with Buffalo, and I would very much like to have all of my assumptions about this team’s ceiling blown up for good.
Here’s some of The Falcoholic staff weighing in on expectations for today, and our score predictions. Let’s hear yours.
Falcons 31 - Cowboys 34
I’m just not optimistic about the Atlanta defense being able to do anything to stop Dallas from scoring. That said, Dan Quinn’s “new” defense in Dallas is now missing both of their best pass rushers in Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory. Their secondary is frequently in man-coverage and Trevon Diggs is a boom-or-bust corner. Yes, he has a ton of interceptions, but he’s also given up a lot of big plays as well. Anthony Brown isn’t any better. I see a prime opportunity for Kyle Pitts to have another big game and Patterson may see favorable matchups no matter where he lines up. I think we’re in for a shootout, but the home team gets the nod here. - David Walker
Falcons 28 - Cowboys 34
Last week, I predicted a Falcons loss and was pleasantly surprised, as I noted above. Let’s hope I’m doing it again this week.
Even without Randy Gregory and Tyron Smith, the Cowboys are very good, and they are unlikely to be sluggish two weeks in a row after that loss to Denver. Atlanta can take advantage of absences and have the offense to hang with Dallas all day, but actually knocking them off on the road will likely require some last minute heroics. Is that part and parcel of who these Falcons are under Arthur Smith, or have they just gotten good at hanging tough and taking advantage of shaky opponents? We’ll have a better answer for that after this one, and I’ll keep hoping even if I’m not expecting. - Dave Choate
Falcons 31 - Cowboys 37
Considering my correct pick rate this year must be well below .500, expect the Falcons to narrowly win a low-scoring slug fest. Can the Falcons keep up with a severely depleted Cowboys team? Absolutely, at least for a bit. But even missing Gregory, Smith, Lawrence, and having some uneven coaching, I think the Falcons need way too much luck to pull in this win. The roster disparity is too much. Plus not only is Dallas motivated after getting beaten up by the Broncos (?), Dan Quinn has certainly had this game circled all year. The only hope is Dallas is cooling off and Atlanta hits at the right time... but that feels way too unlikely. The Dallas offense is too good and that should win it. - Matt Chambers