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Dallas Cowboys Week 6 opponent preview: Arizona Cardinals

The Cowboys face a tough Cardinals defense, and do so without their starting quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals v New York Jets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Last week, the worst possible injury for the Dallas Cowboys happened with quarterback Dak Prescott going down and now lost for the season. The Cowboys will now be depending on backup quarterback Andy Dalton to take on a Cardinals defense that ranks fifth in total defense. They will also have to keep up with a balanced offense led by second-year quarterback Kyler Murray. Time to take a look at the Cowboys’ week six opponent.

Arizona Cardinals

2019 Record: 5-10-1

Last Meeting: 09/25/2017 Cowboys 28, Cardinals 17

Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury

Key Additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, LB Devon Kennard, DL Jordan Phillips

Key Losses: RB David Johnson, WR Pharoh Cooper, WR Damiere Byrd, DL Rodney Gunter

Washington Football Team v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Biggest strengths and weaknesses

Once again the Dallas Cowboys are going up against an offense that has the ability to beat you through the air and on the ground in the Arizona Cardinals. Led by dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray, this Cardinals offense is going to give the dysfunctional Cowboys defense a lot of problems. Murray’s ability to threaten defenses and keep plays alive with his legs, along with two speedy running backs in Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds and their ability to get to the second level of the defense quickly, is going to be a problem. They will use that running game to good effect, and they will also mix in a play-action passing game, that is their biggest strength.

If you had to find a weakness on this offense it would be their offensive line. Most of the yardage that Murray is able to pick up with his legs is caused by breakdowns in blocking along their offensive line. The Cowboys are going to have to get pressure but stay in their gaps to make sure that Murray doesn’t beat them with his legs and keep drives alive.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

The defense of the Arizona Cardinals is ranked among the top ten defenses in the league. They have a strong secondary that has the ability to get teams off the field with cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, Dre Kirkpatrick on the outside covering receivers, and safety Budda Baker manning the middle of the field. This will be quarterback Andy Dalton’s first big test going against this group.

The Cowboys have caught a break as the Cardinals best pass rusher, Chandler Jones, went down with a pectoral injury last week. He’s out for the year so Dalton will have a little more time to find open receivers. That injury will also give running back Ezekiel Elliott an easier time running against a defense that has allowed an average of 4.5 yards per carry with Jones on the field.

X-Factors

On offense, the biggest x-factor that will determine the Cardinals success will be their ability to establish the running game and use their play-action passing game.

On defense, it will be containing the Cowboys running game and getting some sort of pass rush without Jones on the field.

Prediction

Cardinals 28, Cowboys 26