Sunday, October 14, 2012
How you feeling? Cowboys-Ravens
By Dan Graziano
BALTIMORE -- As the Dallas Cowboys get set to take on the Ravens here at M&T Bank Stadium at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT), here's one reason for Cowboys fans to feel good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: The Cowboys aren't as bad as they looked two weeks ago in that Monday night loss to the Bears. But because they haven't played since, that's the impression the rest of the world has of them. Prior to the second half of that game, the Dallas defense was playing as well as any in the league. And especially with nose tackle Jay Ratliff expected back from injury for this one, there's no reason to believe it can't get back to that level against Joe Flacco and the Ravens. They also have a chance to get DeMarco Murray and the run game going against a Baltimore defense that's allowing 118.4 yards per game on the ground. The matchup isn't as prohibitive as a lot of people seem to believe it is.
Cause for concern: Ray Rice. The Baltimore running back is the key to the Ravens' offense, as both the run game and the passing game operate through him. He must be Dallas' primary concern, and he presents a tough task for star inside linebacker Sean Lee. If they have to bring safeties up to help play the run, they could leave themselves vulnerable to a downfield strike from speedy wide receiver Torrey Smith, but it may be a risk worth taking, especially given the faith they have in their cornerbacks. Stopping Rice is that important.