The Dallas Cowboys (10-4) return to action on Sunday as they travel to Florida to take on the Miami Dolphins (10-4). Before the two teams kick off this Christmas Eve matchup, here are three bold predictions for the game.
1) Dallas’ offensive line allows five sacks in a game for the third time this season
The struggles of Dallas’ offensive line were a big reason the team played so poorly last Sunday in Buffalo. Dak Prescott was sacked three times and was under constant duress all game long.
This week, Dallas faces another talented defensive front in the Miami Dolphins. Miami is second in the NFL with 48.0 sacks and has an All-Pro caliber interior and exterior rusher in Christian Wilkins and Bradley Chubb.
With the Cowboys potentially missing Tyron Smith and Zack Martin in this game things could get ugly for Dallas’ offensive line. Even if they two do somehow play, it’s going to be a struggle slowing down this pass rush.
For the second straight week, the Cowboys struggle to protect Prescott, and in the process give up five sacks for the third time this year.
2) Dolphins’ running backs combine to score four rushing touchdowns
Last Sunday, we saw a team run until Dallas’ defense was able to stop them, which never happened. Buffalo ended up keeping the ball on the ground all afternoon as the Cowboys’ defense couldn’t even come close to slowing them down. Buffalo ran for a total of 266 yards, by far the most by an opponent facing the Cowboys this season.
This week Dallas’ run defense will face another tough task. Miami leads the league in rushing Y/A (5.1) and rushing touchdowns (26) and has the fourth-best offensive rush EPA (0.016) in the league.
Teams have been able to run on the Cowboys in the second half of the season, and since Week 12 Dallas is 24th in the league in defensive rush EPA (-0.017). The Cowboys will once again be without run-stuffing defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins on Sunday, a big loss in their efforts to stop the run.
Miami follows the Bills’ blueprint and runs the ball all afternoon. The Dolphins build on their league-leading 26 rushing touchdowns as their running backs, Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane combine to score four touchdowns on the ground.
3) Cowboys lose by twenty or more points for the third time this year
Let’s hope this prediction does not come true, but the Dolphins just look like a matchup nightmare for the Cowboys. They have an outstanding run game, two All-Pro caliber receivers, a creative offensive head coach, and a very good pass rush.
All in all, this does not look like a good matchup for Dallas. To make matters worse, it seems unlikely the Cowboys will have both Tyron Smith and Zack Martin in this game. One of the two may suit up, but even if they do it will be an uphill battle to win this one.
The Cowboys are a good team, they are just catching the Dolphins at the wrong time. For the third time this season, Dallas suffers a blowout loss as they head home on a two-game losing streak.