On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys hit the road to take on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
The Cowboys are finding their stride on the offense and continue to merge the run and passing threats within the ball distribution.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Game Preview
This is a must-win game for the Cowboys, not only because they are favored to win by 10.5 points in this matchup, but because it can be a win that helps them later in NFC playoff seeding.
The Cowboys can win this game by keeping self-inflicted wounds to a minimum, especially in the form of penalties, which have been a notorious pattern for them in all three road losses this season.
As for the Panthers, they are struggling to stay healthy after an early Week 7 bye. The team hasn’t built the team around Bryce Young yet, and the offense has struggled. Just this week, head coach Frank Reich has taken over play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Thomas Brown.
Plus, the injury bug has significantly impacted the depth of the tight end room on the offensive side of the ball.
As for the defense, the secondary could see a significant drop-off, with CJ Henderson and Jaycee Horn ruled out for the game.
Cowboys-Panthers Stats From Inside Edge
- The Cowboys have run 21.2% offensive plays in the red zone this season — best in the NFL.
- Panthers have allowed their opponent to run 17.5% of plays in the red zone this season — third-worst in the NFL.
Analysis: The Cowboys struggled in the red zone early this season. However, with the emergence of CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson, this seems to be an issue of the past.
If the team can find a way to get Tony Pollard more involved overall, this could also add more impact in the red zone.
- Chuba Hubbard (CAR) has broken 13 tackles this season — tied for eighth-most of qualified RBs.
- The Cowboys have broken 14 tackles this season — second-fewest in the NFL.
Analysis: Tackling has been an emphasis for DC Dan Quinn this season, and it has boded well for the unit this season. Considering the linebackers are a young unit with Damone Clark and Markquese Bell, this trend should continue well beyond this game.
- Dak Prescott (DAL) has not turned the ball when pressured by the defense since Week 7 — tied for best of qualified QBs.
- The Panthers have pressured opposing QBs on just 16.9% of passing plays since Week 7 — third-worst in the NFL.
Analysis: Dak Prescott continues to play his best football, considering the offensive line has been building continuity. His play should end the old narrative about last season’s turnovers. He has been taking significant strides this year as he has used his legs more, becoming more mobile like he did early in his NFL career.
- The Panthers have gone three and out on 29% of their drives since Week 7 — fifth-worst in the NFL.
- The Cowboys have forced three and outs on 42.4% of opponent drives since Week 7 — second-best in the NFL.
Analysis: The Cowboys defense is coming off last week’s game, holding the Giants defense to 0 of 12 in third-down attempts. Another emphasis Quinn has made for his unit has been to force opposing quarterbacks into third and long situations. They can generate difficulty on third downs if they create big plays and keep Young behind the sticks.
- Panthers WRs have just 109.0 receiving yards per game since Week 7 — fifth-worst in the NFL.
- The Cowboys have averaged just 88.3 receiving yards per game allowed to WRs since Week 7 — second-best in the NFL.
Analysis: Adam Thielen has four touchdowns so far this season, only one less than Lamb, who has five after last week. If the Cowboys’ secondary can minimize Thielen’s play in the red zone, they can keep scoring opportunities low in this matchup.
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