For most teams trying to close out their home schedule with a 4-4 mark, they’re usually not at the 10-win mark. But that’s been the case for this Cowboys’ team who is a perfect 7-0 away from home, but has just three wins at AT&T Stadium, the site of Sunday’s showdown with Andrew Luck and the Colts.
The Cowboys don’t need to worry about their surroundings, knowing they need just to keep winning to claim the NFC East title.
Here are the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus and David Helman.
Bryan Broaddus: This game against the Colts comes down to one simple factor for me – can this Cowboys secondary match up against these Colts receivers and tight ends to take them out of the game like they did the previous week against the Eagles? My gut feeling is that they can. With the likely hood of no TY Hilton in the lineup it will certainly make their job much easier. The Colts will not be able to run the ball and with their make shift offensive line getting pressure on Andrew Luck is a real possibility. I expect that the defense will take an aggressive approach in the way they attack Luck but also do the same with these receivers. Look for plenty of man coverage across the board denying windows for Luck to throw balls in which when that happens tends to hurt his accuracy. Cowboys secondary wins this game 31 to 17.
David Helman: Maybe I finally believe this team is different from the ones that came before it, because I actually feel confident that the Cowboys can handle business this weekend. I know DeMarco Murray and Zack Martin might play hurt, and Doug Free doesn’t look likely to play at all. I wouldn’t feel good about that if this were Week 3, but the end is in sight. If the Cowboys can find two more wins – or potentially even just one – they’ll have reached the playoffs. That in itself is some strong motivation, especially since the Colts are already in the tournament, and they’ve got injury problems of their own. So it comes down to this: I think Dallas can stuff the Colts’ ground game, putting the burden squarely on Andrew Luck’s shoulders. Luck is good enough to win this game on his own, but he’s got some pretty stiff competition on the other side of the ball. Even with the injuries, I think the Cowboys can grind out 150 total rushing yards, and Tony Romo will have another interception-free game. Luck is probably going to flirt with 400 passing yards, but the defense will force him into a late-game mistake that clinches the win – something like 34-30.
Nick Eatman: All of these gut feelings were written before the Eagles-Redskins game finished. But to me, it doesn’t really matter. I think the Cowboys will treat this upcoming game as if their backs are against the wall, or to seize the moment and go win the division. Either way, this team is playing well right now and I don’t think being at home or away will matter. This crowd will be a good crowd and give the Colts a little bit of trouble- but not much. I think the Cowboys’ offense will be on point and that includes Murray. He may not be 100 percent but he’ll be effective enough. I still think Randle will get some touches and make the most of them. But this secondary for the Colts will have problems all day. Look for Beasley to have another big day as Indy tries to figure out how to stop Bryant but will leave holes. The Dallas defense will do just enough at the end and hold off Luck in the fourth quarter. I see a 28-24 win for the Cowboys.