Cowboys in Broncos (4-4) (6-1)
When: MT at 11 am, Sunday.
where: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas).
Radio/TV: 850 AM, 94.1 FM/KDVR-31
Season: Sunshine and max 75 degrees.
Broncos-Cowboys Series: The Broncos are 8-4 in 12 regular-season games since 1973; In the last meeting at Sports Authority Field on September 17, 2017, Denver won 42–17.
QB Teddy Bridgewater vs CB Trayvon Diggs
Teddy Bridgewater has thrown five interceptions in eight games, but knows he has to be smart with Sunday football in order not to raise that tally against the NFL’s top cornerback.
Dallas’ Trayvon Diggs leads the NFL with seven interceptions and 11 passes defended. He had at least one pick in six of the Cowboys’ first seven games, and as one of Bridgewater’s training partners last offseason in Florida, the Broncos QB knows that Diggs “has a wide receiver playing corner.”
“I’ll probably have to go back and talk to our trainer (for tips),” Bridgewater joked. “(Like), ‘Hey, what are Trayvon’s weaknesses and what does he struggle with?’ .. He understands the routes, the concepts, the release, and tells a little bit that you try to use the routes. That’s really what makes him such an excellent player. He’s making plays on the ball like we’ve had in a while Not seen. “
Bridgewater remembers a younger Diggs sitting in the stands of the Vikings stadium, watching older brother Stephen (now with the Bills) catch passes from Bridgewater during the duo’s tenure from 2015–17.
Now, Bridgewater is called “Where’s Waldo?” Gotta play. All the time with Diggs on Sunday, while the underdog tries to keep pace with the Broncos Cowboys’ top-ranked offense. The Denver Wideouts are also up for the challenge, as Diggs will be tasked with covering Cortland Sutton and/or Jerry Judy.
Despite the Diggs’ dominance, the Cowboys secondary team remains a weak spot, as Dallas is ranked 28th in the league, with 278.1 average passing yards allowed.
“(Diggs) helps them go and it’s up to us to study them so that we understand where the weaknesses are, where we can go out and perform and have the most success,” Sutton said. “He’s a big part of his defense, but it’s up to us to make sure we prepare ourselves (for his instincts).”
Who has the edge?
Teddy Bridgewater has fully recovered from various ailments and Dak Prescott’s calf is also fine. With both starters healthy, Bridgewater needs to find a way to get Denver in rhythm, while Prescott (NFL-best 73.1 completion percentage) is an MVP candidate. Edge: Cowboys
The Broncos have the balance between Melvyn Gordon and Jevont Williams, but lack explosiveness and big plays almost all season. Dallas’ run game has been lukewarm, with All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott leading and Toni Pollard also a capable backup. Edge: Cowboys
The combination of Cortland Sutton, Jerry Judy and Tim Patrick should be able to handle a game, while second-year TE Albert Okwegbunam will fill in for Noah Fant (COVID list). The combo of CD Lamb and Amari Cooper is dangerous. Edge: Even
The Denver left tackle would be without starting Garrett Bowles (ankle), who is missing only the second game of his career. The Broncos are 30th in the sacks allowed on 25. Cowboys left tackle Tyrone Smith is battling an ankle injury, but his O-line is solid. Edge: Cowboys
Mike Purcell is back for the Broncos after missing last week, although a nose tackle will play out with a cast on his right thumb. Dremont Jones and Shelby Harris are coming off a solid game. Dallas D-Line is anchored by Osa Odighizuwa and Randy Gregory. Edge: Even
In the first game since the Von Miller era, Malik Reid and Jonathan Cooper would take the load out with the help of Stephen Weatherly/Aaron Patrick. Kenny Young / Justin Stranad and Baron Browning will be in. Rookie Micah Parsons is Dallas’ co-head tackler. Edge: Even
With Nickel Bryce Callahan on injured reserve, the role probably belongs to Nate Hearson, who filled in for Callahan against Washington. Beyond Trayvon Diggs, the Cowboys’ secondary has struggled this year, though fellow cornerman Anthony Brown has two picks. Edge: Even
Brandon McManus finally missed a field goal from 53 yards last week, but is still 13 for 14 this year. Denver’s poor Special Teams coverage has steadily improved over the past few weeks. Greg Zuerlein of Dallas has already missed six kicks this year. Edge: Even
tale of the tape
|total crime||338.3 (21st)||454.9 (First)|
|hasty offense||103.6 (20th)||152 (second)|
|pass offense||234.6 (18th)||302.9 (3rd)|
|points per game||19.6 (23rd)||32.1 (3rd)|
|total defense||325.8 (sixth)||366.4 (19th)|
|run defense||100.9 (Ninth)||88.3 (sixth)|
|pass defense||224.9 (10th)||278.1 (T-28th)|
|points allowed||17.1 (second)||23.1 (16th)|
*Week 8. Through
-2 — Turnover margin of the Broncos through eight games, which ranks 20th (the Cowboys, by contrast, are tied at +5 in sixth place).
58 – Penalties committed by the Cowboys, which is the third worst in football and averages 8.3/game.
5 — Teddy Bridgewater had at least a 70% completion rate for the number of games this year; If he achieves that point on Sunday, he will join Peyton Manning as the only Broncos QB with six such games in a season.
27-10 – Score the Cowboys’ victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XII, Denver’s first appearance in the big game. Craig Morton throws four interceptions as Tom Landry beat Red Miller.
6:20 – The Rams host the Titans in Von Miller’s Los Angeles debut on NBC as local time for Week 9 Sunday Night football games.
Line: Broncos +9.5
As the huge underdogs in Arlington, the Broncos may not be able to harass the Cowboys, but they can certainly cover this huge spread. Until the Denver defense burns out completely, the unit has the ability to keep the Broncos within shouting distance.
Prop bet: 49.5-point over/under
Bet below. The Broncos offense did not prove it could play four full quarters of quality football, even with Dak Prescott going for the Cowboys, enough to bring Denver’s total to 49.5. There will be no firepower. Also trust Prescott & Company under 30 on Denver Defense to do the work for it.
Fantasy Drama: RB Ezekiel Elliot
The linebacker has undergone a lot of shuffling, and the Broncos defense has yet to see a major back like Elliot’s. Remember when relative no-name D’Ernest Johnson went for 146 yards a few weeks ago in the Browns’ win over Denver? This run defense isn’t as good as its top 10 ranking might suggest, and look for Elliott to uncover it again.
Mark Kiszla, columnist: Cowboys 27, Broncos 20
Can Pat “Short of the Sticks” Shurmur devise a plan capable of scoring four TDs in one game? I wish it hadn’t happened yet in 2021.
Kyle Newman, Beat Writer: Cowboys 28, Broncos 20
Dak Prescott throws for three touchdowns of the first half, and the anemic Broncos offense gains no momentum until Javonte Williams’ big third-quarter TD runs into another very, very late performance.
Ryan O’Halloran, Beat Writer: Cowboys 34, Broncos 21
The Broncos hang hard, but offenses like them, who struggle to reach 20 points, are a poor match-up against a prolific Dallas offense. The Cowboys scored the final 14 points to drop the Broncos back down to .500.
Sean Keeler, columnist: Cowboys 31, Broncos 22
The Cowboys average 40 points per game at home. The Broncos average 21 per game on the road. Can Steady Teddy keep up the pace in the shootout? Maybe not.