As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to play the undefeated Falcons in Atlanta tonight at 8:20 pm ET (7:20 pm CT), here's one reason for Cowboys fans to feel good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: If the Cowboys' plan is to keep Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense on the sideline as long as possible, the game sets up for them to do so. Atlanta's defense is soft against the run, and the absence of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who's out with an ankle injury, makes it even easier to run against them in the middle of the field. At its best, this Cowboys offense is a balanced one, and if they can have some success early in the run game and establish that balance, they could be in a position to dictate the terms of the game with their very good defense.
Cause for concern: The problem, of course, with that strategy is that starting running back DeMarco Murray remains out with a foot injury and the running game hasn't shown an ability to do much of anything behind backups Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner. So there's a chance, especially when you factor in their season-long offensive line struggles, that they can't get that run game going even against Atlanta's susceptible defense. The Cowboys have the weapons for a passing-game shootout, but it's not necessarily a wise way to go against Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones.