COWBOYS VS. TITANS PREVIEW: Dallas hoping to show off at home on MNF

Lions tight end Levine Toilolo (87) is tackled after a reception in the first quarter by Dallas Cowboys line backer Jaylon Smith (54) and Damien Wilson (57) at AT&T Stadium.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
-edited

Titans are one of only 3 teams with a less-productive offense than Dallas.

The Cowboys host the Tennessee Titans with the spotlight of Monday Night Football shining on what looks like a pivotal game for Dallas.

The trend so far this season has been for the Cowboys to play much better at home than on the road. With a pair of road games following the Tennessee games, this figures to be a big-time must win for Dallas.

Dallas is a 5.5 point favorite and ESPN's Matchup Predictor gives the Cowboys a 75.1-percent chance to win.

Here are more particulars:

SERIES HISTORY: 15th regular-season meeting. Dallas leads 8-6. In a series that dates back to when the Titans, formerly the Houston Oilers, and Cowboys shared a state, the Cowboys have won three and lost three since the Oilers moved to Tennessee.

BY THE NUMBERS: 75.83 – The Cowboys increase in production on offense at home versus road games. Dallas is averaging 363.33 yards at AT&T Stadium and just 287.5 on the road.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DL David Irving returned from his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy a month ago. He then spent more than a week dealing with separate family issues. But since he’s been back on the field, he’s made an impact, making four tackles with a sack and a run stuff in two games. Irving might just be getting warmed up and the Cowboys could use him this week with Randy Gregory potentially sidelined this week after he had a knee scoped during the bye week.

GAME PLAN: Dallas’s top priority on offense hasn’t changed. The Cowboys want to get Ezekiel Elliott rolling and ride him to enough yards and points to win. But to do that, Dak Prescott has to divert some attention from Elliott, whether it’s by completing passes or running himself. Prescott was given a shiny new target when Dallas traded for Amari Cooper, so it will almost certainly try to get the former Raider involved from the outset against the Titans.

Defensively, the Cowboys just have to keep Tennessee from busting out of its offensive doldrums at AT&T Stadium. Dallas’s defensive front seems to be coming together with defensive lineman David Irving finding his rhythm now that he’s back from suspension, linebacker Jaylon Smith having a breakout year and DeMarcus Lawrence firing on all cylinders. If those trends continue, Dallas could at least make it a low-scoring Monday Night game.

Comments