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Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys: Three things to watch

What do the Atlanta Falcons need to do in order to defeat the Dallas Cowboys this week?

Jim McIsaac

The Atlanta Falcons have been perfect, and the Dallas Cowboys have been anything but. What are three things the Falcons need to do this week to keep their win total at zero, and diffuse an unpredictable, but dangerous team?

1. Covering Dez Bryant

In many ways Dez Bryant has become an analog for the Dallas Cowboys' season itself-- predictably unpredictable. In his eight games this year, Bryant has four games with over 80 receiving yards, and two games were he couldn't crack 20 yards.

Last week against the New York Giants he was extremely good. Finishing with 5 receptions for 110 yards, it took fingertips for the Cowboys to lose. This week it will be Asante Samuel's job to cover Bryant, and this could be a match up that proves to be very beneficial for Atlanta. If Tony Romo relies too much on his young receiver again it's likely he'll start locking onto him, as Romo has a tendency to do-- from there Samuel should be able to win the battle, and jump the routes.

2. Stop DeMarcus Ware

This season the Dallas Cowboys have thirteen sacks. Of these thirteen DeMarcus Ware is responsible for over half of them, and yet again looks to be one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL. If a team stops Ware, they stop the pass rush. This was typified by the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago, who held Ware to 0.5 sacks, and in turn kept the pocket clean.

The Atlanta Falcons have done an excellent job protecting Matt Ryan this year, and they'll need Sam Baker to be prepared for Ware. Based on his play this season he's up to the job.

3. Hope Seam Weatherspoon plays

As it stands, outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is dealing with a low ankle sprain. Thankfully that's not as bad as it's high-ankle brother, it's still a concern for one of the Falcons' best defender.

The Dallas Cowboys rely on Jason Witten as heavily as any team in the NFL lean on their tight end. It goes beyond him being an elite pass catcher, and becomes a safety net for Tony Romo in a manner no other receiver on the team fills. The Falcons have more than enough talent to diffuse Witten, but without Weatherspoon this becomes far more difficult.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.