TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 9: Dallas Cowboys At Atlanta Falcons

Dallas
Atlanta
New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles
Quarterbacks
Tony Romo is one of the most up-and-down quarterbacks in the league. In the Cowboys’ Week Eight loss to the Giants, Romo threw four interceptions as his team fell behind 23-0. However, he did not let the deficit stop him and he ended up throwing for 437 yards. Romo throws one of the easiest balls to catch in the league.
Winner Matt Ryan is a solid leader and an accurate passer. Ryan completed 22-of-29 passes for 262 yards with 3 TDs and 0 interceptions on the road against the Eagles and that was the key to the Falcons victory over Philadelphia. Ryan is ready to take the next step up, but that’s probably not going to happen until the Falcons win a postseason game.
Offense
The Cowboys have struggled to run the ball and they were held to 19 rushing yards against the Giants. That makes life difficult for Romo. He’s also got a No. 1 receiver in Dez Bryant that has top-of-the-line athletic ability but regularly makes mistakes that put the Cowboys in the hole. Tight end Jason Witten is in top form and could catch 10 passes in this game.
Winner The Falcons are thriving this season because they have a balanced attack. Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers can run the ball well and that keeps opposing defenses honest. That makes it very difficult to stop wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. Those two may be the best pair of receivers on any team in the league.
Defense
Winner The Cowboys are tough, physical and fast on the defensive end. It all begins with outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who is probably the best pass rusher in the league. Ware sets the tone for the Cowboys and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff is coming off a 5-tackles game against the Giants.
Winner The Falcons are smart, nasty and athletic as a defensive unit. However, they may have absorbed a big blow when linebacker Sean Weatherspoon injured his ankle against Philadelphia and had to come out of the game after making five tackles. Speedy pass rusher Kroy Biermann had a sack and seven tackles against the Eagles while free safety Thomas DeCoud had nine tackles and a sack.
Special Teams
The Cowboys are happy with their special teams play as placekicker has made 13-of-14 field goal attempts for the Cowboys this year. Brian Moorman dropped three of his four punts inside the 20 against the Giants.
Winner Matt Bryant is one of the most consistent kickers in the league. He has made 16-of-17 field goal attempts this season, including 3-of-3 against the Eagles. Matt Bosher is averaging 47.1 yards per punt and he has dropped 15-of-28 punts inside the opponents’ 20.

The Winner Is

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles
Winner Atlanta
4 out of 4

The Falcons are the only undefeated team in the NFL and they still are not getting the respect that you would expect for a team with that status. Look for them to take advantage of this national television game to once again show the rest of the NFL that they are for real. Ryan’s accuracy his big-play receivers may be too much for the Cowboys.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: (FILES)This undated file photo shows US baseball star Jackie Robinson as he signs a then-record contract to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in New York. Robinson has been chosen to receive posthumously the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a US civilian, 02 March 2005, for his accomplishments on the baseball diamond, as well as "his lifetime of breaking down barriers and his unending fight for justice," officials on Capitol Hill said in an earlier press release. US Senator John Kerry and US Representative Richard Neal, who co-sponsored legislation honoring Robinson, will be joined by the ballplayer's widow Rachel Robinson, US President George W. Bush and congressional leaders at the ceremony. Robinson broke baseball's "color line", becoming the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Officials in Congress said however that he is also being honored for his contributions to the broader struggle for civil rights. (Photo Credit: Mike Powell/Getty Images)
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  2. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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  3. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammates center Travis Frederick #72 and offensive guard La\'el Collins #71 after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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