NOTE: With the COVID-19 situation in Baltimore, knowing exactly who will play is a guessing game. Given the length of time between many of the players being placed on the COVID list and the day of the game, we’re assuming many of them will be available for the contest, like Lamar Jackson. Obviously that could change.
Opponent Player(s) of the Week
The Ravens Running Game - Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Lamar Jackson
2020 Stats: 1,573 Rushing Yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 194 receiving yards, 0 receiving touchdown
When it comes to stopping the run, the Dallas Cowboys rank dead last in the league in getting the job done and we’ve seen how well they did against the number one ranked rushing attack at in the NFL, allowing the Cleveland Browns to gain 307 yards and three touchdowns. This game the Cowboys are facing the second ranked rushing team in the league and must stop this running game which includes quarterback Lamar Jackson as it’s leading rusher while the three running backs all split time in order to stay fresh and keep defenses on their heels.
It’s going to be tough, but with the Ravens dealing with a shorter week after facing their bitter rivals in the Pittsburgh Steelers, they may be a little banged up and worn out. Additionally, as noted above, the Ravens are dealing with COVID-19 that could alter who plays and how in-sync they are as a team. Meanwhile the Cowboys will have had a few more extra days to prepare and game plan how to stop this lethal rushing attack. Defensive tackles Antwaun Woods, Neville Gallimore, and Justin Hamilton are the key this week. If they can win inside then the Cowboys can slow down this rushing attack.
Cowboys Offensive X-Factor Players
Wide Receiver - CeeDee Lamb
If there’s one area of the Ravens defense that is shaky and can be attacked, it’s in the passing game and in the middle of the field. NFL stats shows that teams are completing around 71% of passes in the seven-yard range in the middle of the field. The Ravens linebackers don’t always excel in pass coverage. This is where CeeDee Lamb comes in as he has been one of the Cowboys main threats in the middle of the field. Depending on how the Ravens defense looks after their game against the Steelers, and if more players are put on the Covid-19 list, Lamb could be in for a big day.
We know the Ravens are going to be focused on stopping the running game with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard which will give Lamb more space to operate. Another factor will be quarterback Andy Dalton’s ability to throw the ball behind this depleted offensive line. But the Cowboys can negate the pass rush of the Ravens with quick passes to Amari Cooper, Dalton Schultz, and Lamb.
Cowboys Defensive X-Factor Players
Defensive Tackles - Antwaun Woods and Neville Gallimore
If this team is to have any chance of beating this physical Ravens team then they will need to match that physicality at the line of scrimmage on the defensive line. Woods and Gallimore will be the key to this game with the Cowboys needing to stop the run to have any chance of a victory. We’ve seen these two step up in the past and have great games. Woods is effective in affecting the running game while Gallimore is able to get pressure up the middle and disrupt the backfield.
That interior pressure is key to stopping this Ravens offense. That pressure will force the running backs out to bounce runs outside and into the waiting arms of defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Aldon Smith.