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By Rick Brown

The last time the Denver Broncos played the Dallas Cowboys, these two teams put up 99 points and more than 1,000 yards of offense. They went back and forth until the Broncos scored 10 unanswered points in the last few minutes of the game and won. This week’s match up may not be as exciting. The Cowboys only needed to score 19 points to beat the New York Giants in Week 1, while the Broncos did enough to hold off the Los Angeles Chargers. This should be a good match up against two young teams.

Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

The Dallas Cowboys (1-0) were impressive last Sunday night against the New York Giants. Dak Prescott threw for 263 yards while Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 104 yards. The offense was not explosive, as the team only scored 19 points. On the other hand, the Cowboys did a good job of holding onto the ball and running out the clock. The Cowboys won the time of possession while the team held onto the ball for 34 minutes. Dallas had long drives and was able to convert on third down going 8-15 on third down conversions.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Cowboys’ defensive was aggressive and tough, and held the Giants to only 3 points. While the Cowboys may not be the most exciting team to watch, this team looks like it could win another 13 (or more) games.

Offense

What is there not to like about this Cowboys’ offense? Second-year pro Dak Prescott continues to be an effective quarterback. He threw for 268 yards and threw one touchdown while rushing for 24 yards.

Running behind one of, if not the best, offensive lines in the NFL is Ezekiel Elliot. Another second-year pro, Elliot continues to be involved in some sort of pending litigation. What started off as a six-game suspension for an alleged domestic violence charge is on hold as Elliot took his ruling to federal court and continues to play while there is an injunction.

The Cowboys have two great wide receivers on the outside with Terrance Williams and superstar Dez Bryant. The Giants’ secondary was able to keep Bryant in check as he only caught two balls for 43 yards. While Bryant was demanding double teams and zone coverage, Williams and Jason Witten were able to capitalize on the open space underneath. Williams had six catches for 68 yards while Witten had seven catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.

It may not seem like a lot happened in the game, but the Cowboys offense currently ranks fourth in the league.

Defense

The Cowboys’ defense was absolutely dominating against the Giants on Sunday night. New York was 4-12 on third down and Dallas held the Giants to 35 total yards rushing. The team also forced one turnover and had three sacks of Eli Manning.

Last year’s second round pick, Jaylon Smith, took the field for the first time and was second on the team in tackles, only behind superstar Sean Lee. DeMarcus Lawrence spent his Sunday evening earning sack lunches after taking Manning down twice and terrorizing the Giants offensive line.

Rod Marinelli, the only NFL head coach to lose every game in a single season since 1978, continues to improve this defensive unit. This is a well coached unit that will attack the Broncos off the edge and try to make Trevor Siemian win the game. The Broncos offensive line is going to have to play a lot better than it did against L.A., otherwise Lawrence, Smith, and Lee may have a sack extravaganza.

Players To Watch

The Cowboys did not have to blitz a lot against the Giants. Look for the Cowboys to try and cause the same type of pressure from Lawrence and Charles Tapper. While Broncos’ first-round pick Garett Bolles did look competent at times, he still struggled against the Chargers’ duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. The right side of the line, anchored by Menelik Watson, continues to be treated like a turnstile. Mike McCoy, Broncos offensive coordinator, may have to draw up an imaginative game plan to help Watson with the Cowboys’ pass rush. On the offensive side of the ball, Elliot is the lynch pin of the Dallas offense. If the Broncos can stop him and make the Cowboys one-dimensional, then the Broncos have a real shot at winning against this talented team.

Outlook

The game plan should be simple for the Broncos: Stop Elliot and finish the game. The Cowboys are a better team than the Chargers, and Broncos cannot let up on the gas if the team gets ahead. This should be a good game, but not as good as the barn-burner of 2013.

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