A strong recent surge has the Dallas Cowboys in a favorable position in regards to making the postseason. Though the Miami Dolphins still remain well behind in the race, they’ve certainly been playing like a playoff team as of late.
Both clubs will put three-game winning streaks on the line when they square off Thursday at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas’ traditional Thanksgiving Day home event, and there are a few other interesting subplots pertaining to this Week 12 matchup as well.
Dallas has caught the New York Giants in the chase for first place in the NFC East by taking advantage of a softer portion of its season schedule, stringing together home victories over non-contending Seattle and fading Buffalo before outlasting the struggling Washington Redskins in overtime on the road this past Sunday. The surge has the Cowboys tied with the Giants for the division’s top spot, with the rivals set to meet twice over the season’s final four weeks.
Prior to hosting New York in a potential blockbuster showdown on Dec. 11, Dallas will take on the Dolphins and visit Arizona, two teams that possess non- threatening 3-7 overall records at the moment.
Below are the keys to the Turkey day game, and the keys and our prediction to the the contest.
1. Win the Turnover Battle – Both these teams’ win streaks have been fueled by excelling in this critical department, with Dallas owning a stellar 9-to-1 takeaway-to-giveaway ratio over the past three weeks and the Miami defense having forced four of its overall low sum of eight turnovers in its past two victories. Whichever of these participants can maintain its recent level of performance stands a good chance of coming out a winner.
2. Get the Miami Defense Guessing – The Dolphins simply don’t have the weapons to outscore the Cowboys in a track meet, so their fate rests largely on the strength of a revitalized defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in 12 straight quarters. Miami has also been remarkably stingy inside the red zone, an area where the Cowboys have had problems scoring all throughout this season.
3. Feed DeMarco Murray Often – The Cowboys are 4-0 when the rookie running back has had 20 or more carries in a game, and the team has averaged an outstanding 177.3 rushing yards in those contests. If Dallas has its ground game humming in addition to another crisp effort from Romo, the Dolphins will be hard-pressed to win here.
Prediction – Two teams that looked like a couple of turkeys a few weeks back should provide a relatively-entertaining contest to fill the time between the two marquee matchups that will take place on Thursday. Though the Cowboys have been strong at home this season and historically good on Thanksgiving, this one may not be so easy due to Miami’s dominance on defense as of late and Moore’s emergence into a serviceable quarterback. However, shutting down a balanced Dallas offense with a host of high-caliber playmakers will be far more difficult than doing so against the anemic units of Kansas City, Washington and Buffalo — the Dolphins’ three victims during their winning run. Miami should be able to keep the Cowboys from scoring at will, but may not have the firepower to put up the necessary points to extend its streak. Dallas 21 Miami 13