New Orleans, Louisiana 2020-11-22 04:24:09 –
The Vikings are playing better these days, especially behind the NFL’s main rusher, Dalvin Cook.
The Cowboys also seem to be playing well, but they haven’t won the game for over a month and have been 0-4 since Dak Prescott fell.
Can they change the course of Minnesota? Find out what the Cowboys and Vikings need to win.
The Viking wins when …
Vikings is an old school football team built around dominant running games and breathtaking defenses under Mike Zimmer. The team got off to a slow start in 2020, but the team is beginning to settle into their role with many young people and newcomers. Unfortunately, the Dalvin Cook Show determines the success of the unit. Viking’s RB1 leads the league in rushyards per game, and his natural fit as a one-shot runner is a nightmare to defend the team’s zone-based scheme. If he gets into the rhythm early on, he sets up a run-centric game plan table that allows the Vikings to direct conditions from the opening kick. In addition, Cook’s success on the ground will help Kirk Cousins make a big play in the pass game and pinpoint it to surrounding Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. It would be a long day for the Cowboys if one of the Viking pass catchers exceeded the 100-yard mark and Cook split the defense between tackles.
Defensively, the Vikings make a coordinated effort to slow down Ezekiel Elliott. Zimmer loads eight or nine defenders into the box, challenges Andy Dalton, and plays enough to win the pass game. If the young secondary leaves the ball in front of the defense, the Vikings continue to control the game and wait for the Cowboys to make a fatal mistake. This approach has worked for teams in the last few weeks, and Zimmer will see if the Cowboys have enough discipline to play clean games with strong teams.
The Cowboys win if …
The Cowboys seem to have found their identity a few weeks ago, but the Vikings test their commitment to play as a blue-collar team. Mike McCarthy and Co. must promise to play a complementary style of football that allows the attack to support the efforts of the defensive and special teams. With Andy Dalton installed as the Cowboys QB1, the team needs to work hard from Elliott and Tony Pollard to ensure that the Vikings aren’t sold out in a full-blown electric shock attack on veteran quarterbacks. If the Cowboys can run the ball faster, Dalton can take advantage of some lucrative matches outside the pass game. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup should win a one-on-one match, but Dalton needs enough time to target them with a downfield throw. If the Cowboys connect with more than two explosives (more than 20 yards), the Viking must remove the defender from the box and give up the hurrying yards to Elliott and Pollard.
Defensively, the Cowboys need to play the most physical game of the year to slow down the Viking running game. The line of defense must control the line of scrimmage while staying in the assigned gap to prevent No. 33 from spewing out of the seam. Jaron Smith and LVE must own a tackle-to-tackle box to prevent Cook from reaching the second level. This tests the overall discipline of Front Seven, but coordinated efforts can help the Cowboys bring the game back to their cousin’s shoulders. Despite the Viking’s success in throwing the ball last week, a very malicious quarterback suffers a turnover early in the season and he is prone to making serious clutch mistakes. Turnovers can be bundled if the Cowboys can get the Vikings to throw obvious deliveries.
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