By Danny Cox
The Atlanta Falcons are the last undefeated team in the NFL at 7-0, and are looking like the favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Even though the Falcons appear to have pulled some victories out of thin air, they’re still sitting with an unblemished record.
This weekend, the Falcons face off with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in a big primetime contest. Dallas is under .500 at 3-4 in the NFC East, but there is still a lot of confidence in the boys with the star helmets.
A lot of that confidence comes from defensive coordinator Rob Ryan who knows the Cowboys will beat the Falcons.
“We got to win this week,” Ryan said after Friday’s practice at Valley Ranch. “We know it and we’re going to.”
This response came from Ryan on Friday afternoon when he was asked about the future of cornerback Mike Jenkins.
Many may look at Ryan’s comments as being far-fetched and ignorant to make a guarantee because those kinds of things usually come back to bite the one that said it. Others may hear what Ryan said and think there is nothing wrong with it and that it is smart because it may put more confidence in his players.
Well, no-one is going to go out there and say, “We may win. I’m not entirely sure we will, but we may.”
History isn’t looking favorable for the Cowboys though. Dallas has lost their past seven Sunday night games. Atlanta has also won the third most home games in the NFL since 2008 with a 29-6 record. That is almost absurd when you sit back and really think about it.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is 29-4 in his career as a starter in the Georgia Dome. Only Tom Brady of New England at 26-2 has a better home winning percentage. That’s pretty good company to have.
Rob Ryan knows he has a good defense as the Cowboys rank fourth overall in the NFL. The team is third against the pass, but the overall ranking comes down a bit due to being thirteenth against the run. Considering they’ve also given up the fewest first downs in the NFL with 113; it doesn’t seem to be something to worry very much about.
“We need to win now,” Ryan said. “That’s what we’re going to do. I know the record (3-4) is not what we want it to be, but the ball is bouncing strange ways. When that thing starts evening out, we’re going to be great, and we’re going to keep playing.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wouldn’t go as far as Ryan did to guarantee a win, but he did laugh and say, “It will be positive Cowboys.” When asked about how his team needs to play though, Jones did say that nearly mistake-free football against Atlanta is going to be necessary.
“What I want us to do is take what Atlanta gives us without a mistake,” he said. “Take what they give us without a mistake and I can predict the score for you.”
Dallas needs a win on Sunday night for a couple of reasons. A victory would get them back even and keep them in the playoff hunt. Taking down the undefeated Atlanta Falcons would also show the rest of the NFL that they still have what it takes to play with the elite this season.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.