DALLAS COWBOYS (2-2)
at BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-1)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Baltimore -3˝, Total: 44
Baltimore seeks a fourth straight victory on Sunday afternoon when Dallas pays a visit to Charm City.
Dallas had a bye week after Tony Romo’s five-interception Monday Night Football disaster against the Bears, but things won’t be easier playing on the road at Baltimore. The bye week should help, but Romo has thrown 2 TD and 7 INT over his past three games as the Cowboys offense has been as dysfunctional as ever. Baltimore’s new no-huddle attack has been slowed the past two games, managing just 32 points against two weak defenses (Cleveland and Kansas City). The Ravens defense has managed only nine sacks this year while playing without reigning defensive player of the year OLB Terrell Suggs (Achilles).
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Although Tony Romo is getting all the blame, his Dallas team hasn't figured out how to run the football, averaging a comical 42.7 rushing yards per game since Week 2. DeMarco Murray, who averaged 5.5 YPC last season, is down to 3.9 YPC this year. Romo has spread the wealth in the passing game between his top three receivers (Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Kevin Ogletree) and TE Jason Witten. Austin has been the most consistent, but Bryant (9 TD in 2011) has zero touchdowns in 2012, Ogletree has just nine catches over the past three weeks and Witten is tied for the league lead in dropped passes with five. The Cowboys secondary continues to be the strength of the football team leading the league with 169.5 passing YPG allowed, despite giving up 267 to Chicago in the last game. Dallas has shored up its run defense in the past two weeks, allowing just 168 yards on 53 carries (3.2 YPC).
Joe Flacco is coming off a season-low 187 passing yards in last week's ugly 9-6 win at Kansas City. However, he has been outstanding in three home games this season, throwing for 1,037 yards (346 YPG), 6 TD and 2 INT. WR Anquan Boldin started the season off slow, but he has strung together two great games, compiling 213 yards on 13 catches. Despite a subpar air attack against the Chiefs, RB Ray Rice had his best rushing performance last week, gaining 102 yards on 6.0 YPC. The Ravens have now rushed for more than 100 yards in all five games this season. Defensively, Baltimore's run-stop unit gave up 214 yards last week, but the Chiefs carried the ball 50 times, gaining just 4.3 yards per attempt. For the season, Baltimore ranks sixth in the league by allowing just 3.5 YPC.