The Week 2 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons is an important one for a pair of teams looking to avoid an 0-2 start to the 2020 NFL season.
Entering the year among the favorites in the NFC, Dallas was upset by the Los Angeles Rams 20-17 in Week 1. Atlanta dropped their home opener to the Seattle Seahawks 38-25, trailing by two scores for almost the entire second half.
The early betting line suggests the Cowboys will right the ship first. Dallas is a five-point favorite, according to the odds compiled by OddsShark. The over/under is 52.
After ranking first overall last season, the Cowboys’ offense is off to a slow start. Dallas was 16th in yards per play among 28 teams that played Thursday or Sunday, scoring just three points in the second half.
With a new starting center and rookie tackle Terence Steele starting in place of the injured La’el Collins, the offensive line allowed Dak Prescott to face a decent amount of pressure. The quarterback will take on an Atlanta defense that sacked Russell Wilson three times in the opener. Second-team All-Pro selection Grady Jarrett recorded four tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Replacing Jason Garrett with head coach Mike McCarthy, as well as the addition of rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb, was supposed to make Dallas’ offense even more explosive in 2020. There was little evidence of that in Los Angeles.
The Falcons drove the ball with relative ease in Week 1. They were one of just two teams that totaled more than 500 yards of offense. Matt Ryan led all quarterbacks on the first NFL Sunday of the season, by far, with 450 passing yards.
Atlanta, of course, still lost by 13 points. The defense couldn’t slow down Wilson and Seattle’s offense, allowing 6.6 yards per play. The Falcons finished 24th in opponents’ yards per play a year ago.
Expect both offenses to play relatively well Sunday afternoon. Dallas should be more aggressive than it was against L.A. The Cowboys lost linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to a collarbone injury while not being overly impressive in the first game on defense.
Dallas will be one of the few teams to start the season with an actual home-field advantage since AT&T Stadium is set to host fans at limited capacity. The Cowboys are 12-4 at home over the last two years.
Atlanta can put up points in a hurry and compete with a Dallas team that hasn’t yet rounded into form, but this is a game the Cowboys should win if they hope to be in title contention.
Prediction ATS: Dallas over Atlanta, 30-27