If the Cowboys want to win on Sunday, they'll have to get their ground game going aginst Bengals. The Bengals have the 14th-ranked run defense, allowing 97.5 yards per game so far this year, while the Cowboys have the 2nd-ranked rushing offense, averaging 149 yard per game. How the teams match up on the ground may go a long way toward determining who will emerge with the victory on Sunday.
Our panel of experts likes the Bengals for the win on Sunday, but their record at accurately picking Cowboys games isn't that impressive. Only two of our panelists have correctly predicted the outcome of each Cowboys game this season. Here's what our panel of experts expects to happen on Sunday.
Sam Farmer, LA Times (4-0)
||Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing, but he's facing a Bengals defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher or a touchdown on the ground. Still, the Cowboys hang on.|
David Steele, Sporting News (4-0)
||The Cowboys can’t pretend they’re just fine without Dez Bryant. The momentum Ezekiel Elliott is building helps a lot, but they need that to continue. Asking their defense to contain A.J. Green and Co. is a tall order. The Cowboys’ home field skid is over, but that doesn’t make them a lock there yet.|
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (3-1)
||The faceoff that will determine this football game is the Cowboys' ground attack vs. the Bengals' run D. Cincy has allowed just one 100-yard rusher since the beginning of 2015. Hopefully they don't give Ezekiel Elliott the Le'Veon Bell treatment. (Each of the Steeler back's past two seasons have ended with injuries in games against Cincy.) Can Dak Prescott expose the Bengals deep? He's thrown the intermediate stuff well; it's not all none-yard outs and 5-yard ins with Prescott. But the deep ball? Expect Andy Dalton and A.J. Green to connect on at least one of those.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (3-1)
||The Bengals will have had 10 days off before this game. That helps. The Cowboys are 3-1 and Dak Prescott isn’t turning the ball over. But I think this is a game where the Bengals choke off the run and make him beat them. He won’t. Bengals take it.|
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (3-1)
||I’m impressed with what Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have done as rookies, but I think Bengals coach Marvin Lewis will have some things for them they haven’t seen before, and the Bengals will steal a win in Dallas.|
Chris Simms, Bleacher Report (3-1)
||Dak Prescott might be in for a true rookie awakening. His offensive line won't overpower Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins and all those Cincy stars. They'll scrap just to find room for Ezekiel Elliott. And Prescott will need to drop back and beat the best secondary he's ever seen. Andy Dalton won't have as tough a time on the other end. Dallas' defense is simple: Dalton doesn't have to be Aaron Rodgers to pick the unit apart.|
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (2-2)
||Cincy could get a sizable boost with season debut of tight end Tyer Eifert, but it seems less likely as the week goes on. And ’Gals’ stout defensive front could pose a serious challenge to Dallas’ workhorse rookie back Ezekiel Elliott. And yet! Just a hunch, but Cowboys are too good a team to be getting points at home here, even a single point. Upset!|
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (2-2)
||Say what you want about the Bengals against the NFL’s top quarterbacks, but they do not lose against rookie QBs. The last four rookie signal callers to go up against Cincinnati — Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Geno Smith and Nick Foles — all lost. Dak Prescott has been incredible, but this Bengals team is built to travel and win games like this up front. The Zeke & Dak Show will hit a wall Sunday.|
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (1-3)
||The extra time to prepare for the Dallas offense will help the Bengals, who found their footing last Thursday night. 3-2 is still a pretty good start for Dallas.|
63% of the experts and algorithms tallied by NFLPickwatch.com favor the Bengals over the Cowboys on Sunday. The Cowboys seem to do better when they are underdogs, will this be one of those games?