By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings have not played very well this season and a trip to face the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday could prove difficult.
The Vikings (1-6) are coming off a 44-31 blow out home loss to the Green Bay Packers and the Cowboys (4-4) are coming off a last second 31-30 road loss to the Detroit Lions.
The Cowboys sit atop the NFC East Division, despite a .500 record. They are 3-1 at home with wins over the New York Giants, St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins. The lone home loss came against the Denver Broncos.
Cowboys on Offense
The Cowboys rank 15th in the NFL in total offense with 341.9 yards per game. The passing game is the bread and butter of the Cowboys, which ranks eighth in the league with 261.3 yards per game while the rushing offense ranks 26th with 80.6 yards per game. As if the yardage wasn’t impressive enough, the Cowboys are fourth in the scoring in scoring with 28.8 points per game.
The Vikings need to get pressure on Tony Romo and force him to make plays under duress. He has a highly talented array of receivers including tight end Jason Witten and wide receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams.
Cowboys on Defense
The Cowboys defense has been pretty bad this season. They have allowed a league-high 422.5 total yards per game (20.9 more yards than the Vikings). Most of the damage to the Cowboys defense has been through the air. They are also last in passing yards allowed per game with 315.4 (27.5 more than the Vikings). The Cowboys run defense has been good in comparison to its pass defense, with 107.1 yards per game, which ranks 17th in the league.
The Cowboys defense has been gashed for yards, but they have been opportunistic. They are tied for second in the NFL with 19 takeaways, including 11 interceptions.
Cowboys Players to Watch
Wide receiver Dez Bryant: The 6-foot-2-inch, 222-pound fourth-year veteran leads the Cowboys in receptions (45), receiving yards (641) and receiving touchdowns (eight). He caught just three passes against the Lions on Sunday, but two went for touchdowns.
Linebacker Sean Lee: The 6-foot-2-inch, 234-pound fourth-year veteran leads the Cowboys in tackles (81) and interceptions (four). One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown. He had a 74-yard interception return (tackled on the four-yard line) against the Lions on Sunday.
Unless there is a miraculous turnaround this season, the Vikings are likely to be heavy underdogs in all but two games. Home games against the Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles save them with nine games to play. The Cowboys always have a solid, but underwhelming team. This year is no different. They are fortunate to be in the weakest division in football. The Vikings are going to have their hands full and likely will not be able to keep up with Romo, Bryant and the rest of the Cowboys passing offense. Adrian Peterson could be a factor for the Vikings offense, but the inability of the defense to stop the Cowboys will be too much to make up for and another loss is likely.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.