It’s a big game for the Dallas Cowboys. A win over the Minnesota Vikings, a team with an 8-1 record that is tied for the best in the NFL, will get them back on track and build confidence. But a loss, piled on top of the defeat in Green Bay, would be a very worrisome trend for a team that has big ambitions in 2022.
The Cowboys were able to beat the Vikings last year in Minnesota, and that was with Cooper Rush at quarterback. But this appears to be a different Vikings team, one that somehow just finds a way to keep winning. Even so, the Cowboys are favored in this game by 1.5-points according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
There is a long history between these teams, and they had one of the most memorable games in playoff history in the Hail Mary game. You can check out a recap of that famous game, and here is the actual Drew Pearson play.
No. 15: Roger Staubach’s Hail Mary TD pass to Drew Pearson (Dec. 28, 1975) @dallascowboys #NFL100— NFL (@NFL) September 21, 2019
: NFL 100 Greatest Plays on @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/2kpIZL8hmC
Was that offensive pass interference? We’ll never tell.
The two teams have met 26 times in the regular season with the Cowboys holding a 14-12 advantage. They have also met seven times in the playoffs with the Cowboys leading 4-3. Dallas has also won four of the last five times they have played.
Kirk Cousins has a terrible record against the Cowboys. In stints with Washington and Minnesota, he is 2-8 versus Dallas. But it hasn’t always been his fault as he possesses a 101.6 average rating when playing the Cowboys.
As discussed earlier, the Cowboys are coming off a loss. But over the past two seasons, Dallas is 6-1 when playing after a loss. Mike McCarthy seems to be able to get this team focused if they lose a game. McCarthy is 52-36-1 (.590) after a loss in his career.
Both of these teams are among the better in the league at turnover margin. The Vikings are second at +8 and the Cowboys are fourth at +6. The Cowboys and the Vikings both have eight fumble takeaways, that is tied for third in the NFL.
Dak Prescott has two starts versus Minnesota and has a 1-1 record in those games. He has thrown for 536 yards with four TDs and one INT. He has a 62.5 completion percentage in those games.
The Cowboys may want to ride the hot player even if Ezekiel Elliott returns. Tony Pollard will be gunning for his fourth consecutive game with over 100 yards from scrimmage in this game.
The Vikings are seventh in passing offense, but only 23rd in rushing offense, even with Dalvin Cook. The Vikings just do not run the ball as much as other teams do, something the Cowboys have to be hoping continues.
The Vikings defense gives up a lot of yards, ranking 29th in pass defense and 16th in rushing defense. They do a little better holding down the score where they rank 14th at 21.2 points per game, and the turnovers they create are a big part of that.
If you’re looking for one area the Cowboys might have a big advantage, look no further than kicker. Brett Maher has hit on 88.2% of his field goal attempts, while Vikings kicker Greg Joseph has only converted 72.2%. Joseph has also missed four extra point attempts while Maher has missed one.