Week 1 certainly didn’t turn out like the Dallas Cowboys had planned. Not only did they lose their game, but they lost their starting quarterback to injury. But the NFL is a cruel sport and the games continue on no matter the state of your team. This can either lead to a continuation of misery, or the turning around of momentum in your favor. The Cowboys without Dak Prescott are hard to believe in, but they still have to play the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. While the Bengals played better than the Cowboys in most respects last week, they still lost. So you have two teams that are very desperate to get things going in their direction.
Let’s take a look at the matchup and some fast facts around Week 2.
Dallas Cowboys (0-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Regular Season Series Record: Dallas leads the series 9-4
Last Meeting: Dallas 30 at Cincinnati 7, Dec. 13, 2020
Last Meeting in Dallas: Dallas 28 - Cincinnati 14, Oct. 9, 2016
Series Streak: Dallas has won four straight dating back to 2008
The Cowboys are currently 8-point underdogs in this game according to DraftKings. And they are at home. That represents how little the public believes in this team as constructed for Week 2.
Head coach Mike McCarthy is certainly under the gun. He was feeling heat even before the season started and with his team laying an egg in Week 1, the temperature is going up. But historically McCarthy has done well in these situations.
In his 15-year head coaching career, Mike McCarthy is 5-1 the week following a season-opening loss, including 2-0 with Dallas
In McCarthy’s first two seasons with Dallas, the Cowboys have responded from season opening losses with wins in Week 2 (40-39; vs. Atlanta, 9/20/20) and (20-17; at LA Chargers, 9/19/21).
Granted, he will be facing this game with Cooper Rush under center instead of Dak Prescott, but the coach has still managed to bounce-back after inital setbacks, and he needs it more than ever this week. And the Cowboys have had a lot of success against the AFC in the past half-decade.
Since 2016, Dallas has the third-most receptions (603) and the fourth-highest rushing average (4.55 yards-per-carry) and completion percentage (66.1%) against the AFC among NFC opponents
Every season is different, but we’re looking for rays of sunshine among the clouds. And there are a few bright spots on the Cowboys roster.
Micah Parsons is one-of-five players in NFL history to have 15.0 sacks in his first 17 games as a pro, joining John Abraham (15.5), Joey Bosa (15.0), Jevon Kearse (15.0) and Aldon Smith (15.0).
Dalton Schultz led all NFL tight ends in Week 1 with seven receptions against zone coverage for 62 yards.
As for the Bengals, they had a tough Week 1 because star quarterback Joe Burrow threw four interceptions. They battled back in their game against Pittsburgh but lost in overtime after a couple of special teams blunders. The Bengals were two of five in the redzone for converting TDs last week, and the Cowboys defense did a fantastic job of holding the Buccaneers out of the endzone last Sunday night.
The Cowboys will have to go to battle with Cooper Rush, but just last year he showed that he could lead the team to victory. He is looking to set a Cowboys record this week
With 300 passing yards on Sunday, Cooper Rush would become the first Cowboys quarterback and fourth player in NFL history with 300-plus yards through the air in the first two starts of his career.
The Cowboys don’t have a long history of games with the Bengals, only facing off with them 13 times. Among those games:
A 28-point win by Dallas (11/4/73) - biggest Cowboys win
A 26-point loss by Dallas (12/8/85) - biggest Cowboys loss
A 6-1 Cowboys record at home, 3-3 on the road
Four consecutive home victories for Dallas
The Cowboys tend to play the Bengals well at home, but those were different teams. Even the most recent game in 2020 was a different look for both sides. The Cowboys were without Dak Prescott, but had Andy Dalton who led the team to a win. The Bengals were without Joe Burrow and were routed 30-7.
Joe Burrow will be playing this week, and the Cowboys will see old friend La’el Collins. But all eyes will be on Cooper Rush. As he goes, so goes this game in all likelihood. Let’s hope he can pull another Minnesota Vikings game from last season and get Dallas back on track.