It’s a tough matchup because both teams are coming off games which left them questioning just how good is the sum of their parts…
Questions of faith abound for both the ‘Boys and the Ravens…not of a spiritual nature, of course, but of a tactical and personnel nature.
The last time the Dallas Cowboys took the field, quarterback Tony Romo threw five interceptions and they were beaten soundly by the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. That 34-18 defeat is a distant memory now for the Cowboys (2-2), who had a bye week to shake off the loss and get healthy for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
“We had a week to recoup, refresh, regroup,” Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said after Monday’s practice. “I felt like we were refreshed, guys had a sense of urgency.”
The Ravens are looking to hand the Cowboys their third-straight loss coming off a bye. Dallas is 0-1 after the bye week under Head Coach Jason Garrett, who is in his second full season as the team’s coach. Historically, the Cowboys are 16-7 following the bye week, which is the second-best mark in the NFL since the bye week was instituted in 1990.
This year’s bye week came at a much-needed time for the Cowboys, who used the extra rest to get a couple of critical players back on the field. Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff is expected to play Sunday after missing the first four games with a high ankle sprain, and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer has returned to practice after sitting out the Week 4 game with a pectoral injury.
The good news for the Ravens is that they are also healthy heading into the game. Baltimore had only two players listed on the injury report going into last week’s game and did not report any new injuries after the game.
Here’s how the AccuScore computer sees this matchup on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 1:00 P.M. EST ~~
“The Baltimore Ravens are a solid favorite with a 68% chance to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Ray Rice is projected for 61 rushing yards and a 39% chance of having at least 1 rushing TD. In the 32% of simulations where Dallas Cowboys wins, Tony Romo averages 1.98 TD passes vs 0.62 interceptions, while in losses he has a ratio of 1.46 TDs to 1.2 interceptions. DeMarco Murray averages 58 rushing yards and 0.42 rushing TDs when Dallas Cowboys win and 36 yards and 0.19 TDs in losses. The Baltimore Ravens have a 67% chance of forcing more turnovers than they commit. Positive turnover margin helps them win 80% of the time.”
I love AccuScore computer simulations (and no, they don’t use “Madden”!!!).
Dallas (2-2) went into its bye week reeling after Tony Romo matched a career worst with five interceptions in a 34-18 home loss to Chicago on Oct. 1. Romo and receiver Dez Bryant seemed out of sync and the Bears returned two of the picks for touchdowns.
“This has to be a wakeup call for us,” Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten said. The Cowboys, one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams with an average of 16.3 points, return from their bye only one-half game back of Philadelphia and New York in the division.
Like the Cowboys, Baltimore (4-1) didn’t look particularly sharp in its last game, but still managed to beat Kansas City 9-6 last Sunday.
The Ravens failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 43 regular-season games and the defense allowed 214 rushing yards, its most since Oct. 5, 1997, against Pittsburgh. Despite the struggles, the offense got two key first downs to chew up the final 4:24 of clock and the defense stepped up when it mattered, keeping the Chiefs out of the end zone.
“There are a lot of things we’re not pleased with,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re chasing our A-game every week. We want to have our A stuff. It’s like a pitcher, we want to have our best stuff every week. We didn’t have our best stuff.”