The 2-3 Dallas Cowboys will host the 3-2 Arizona Cardinals in Week 6 on Monday Night Football. It will be the Cowboys’ first game since starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Dallas will be starting veteran Andy Dalton at quarterback in place of Prescott. The Red Rifle played pretty well in Week 5 against the New York Giants after replacing Dak. He went 9-of-11 for 111 yards for a QBR of 108.7 in the Cowboys’ 37-34 win.
With the Cowboys-Cardinals game coming up, here are four bold predictions from a Dallas perspective.
1. Andy Dalton will throw for 200-plus yards, two touchdowns
The Cardinals are giving up only 222.4 passing yards per game on the season, which is fourth in the NFL. While Arizona has had success stopping the pass, look for Dalton to throw for at least 200 yards on Monday night and connect on two touchdown passes.
With the Cincinnati Bengals, Dalton played three games against the Cardinals. He threw for 731 yards and six touchdowns without turning the ball over once through the air.
Since he’s getting a full week of practice with the starters, Dalton will be able to develop some chemistry with CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper before the Cardinals come to town. Moreover, the Cowboys are going to have to put up major points to win this game since they have arguably the worst defense in the NFL and Arizona has explosive players on offense in Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Kenyan Drake.
Dalton can still fling it downfield with the best of them. This is the ideal game for him to show off that rocket arm on Monday Night Football.
2. Ezekiel Elliott will rush for two touchdowns and catch one
The Cowboys will have to feed Elliott the ball more than usual against the Cardinals since Prescott is out. Look for the star running back to not only score two rushing touchdowns but catch one from Dalton as well.
Arizona is giving up 124.2 rushing yards per game on the season thus far. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are averaging 106.6 as an offense. Elliott is at his best when he’s being used as a workhorse and getting as many touches as he can since he can wear down defenses with his strength. The former Ohio State star is certainly motivated to put on a show for the rest of the season in the absence of Prescott, who is one of Elliott’s closest friends on the team.
The last time Elliott faced the Cardinals was in 2017. He ran the ball 22 times for 80 yards and one score. Look for him to put on a classic Zeke performance in Week 6.
Thus far on the season, Elliott has carried the ball 89 times for 364 yards and five touchdowns.
3. Cowboys defense keeps DeAndre Hopkins out of the endzone
Hopkins is one of the most dangerous wideouts in the entire NFL, and he has already developed a great rapport with Murray in his first year in Arizona.
Since the Cowboys’ defense is putrid, most pundits believe Hopkins and Murray are going to wreck that secondary.
These are called bold takes for a reason, though. So with that being said, Hopkins — who has two touchdown catches on the season — won’t find the end zone against Dallas, though he’ll probably rack up close to 100 yards.
With the Houston Texans, Hopkins never scored versus the Cowboys in the two games he played against them. He caught 15 balls for 214 yards.
4. Cowboys win a shootout to improve to 3-3
The Cowboys and Cardinals both have explosive offenses, so look for this game to be a classic shootout at AT&T Stadium. Arizona’s defense may only be giving up just 20.4 points per game, but the schedule hasn’t exactly been a murderer’s row.
Dalton will remind the entire NFL that he’s still one of the better quarterbacks in the league after an awful 2019 season with the Bengals. The entire team will be hungry to win this game for Prescott, too.
The Cowboys are probably going to give up a lot of points to the Cardinals since their defense can’t stop a cold at the moment, so Dalton and Co. will have to go toe-to-toe with Murray and Hopkins, something Dallas is capable of doing despite the absence of Prescott.
The Cowboys are averaging 32.6 points per game on the season thus far. That was with Prescott leading the way, but Dalton is a veteran QB who knows how to run an offense and put up points. He has thrown for 204 touchdowns in his career and over 31,700 yards.
Dallas is currently atop the NFC East standings. They have two division games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team following the Cardinals game, so this is an important stretch for Jerry Jones’ club.