THE STORY: The Dallas Cowboys have had nearly two weeks to figure out what went wrong against the Chicago Bears and fix their turnover-prone offense. A trip to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon will test any weaknesses Tony Romo and company still have. The Ravens forced four turnovers in a win at Kansas City in Week 5 and are riding a three-game winning streak. The Cowboys committed five turnovers against the Bears and have struggled offensively in each of the last three games. Dallas’ offensive line struggles, as well as a lackluster running attack, have contributed to Romo’s difficulties over the last three games. DeMarco Murray has been held to 106 yards on the ground the last three games. The one thing the Cowboys have done exceptionally well is defend the pass, which could shift more responsibility to Ravens running back Ray Rice.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Ravens -3.5, O/U 43.5
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (2-2): Romo threw five interceptions against Chicago in a Monday night game and has two touchdowns against seven interceptions in the last three games combined. Two picks against the Bears were returned for touchdowns and Romo was eventually replaced in the fourth quarter by Kyle Orton. Romo will be back as the starter after the bye week and Dallas is hoping an extra week will give the offensive line a chance to develop more chemistry. While Romo’s woes have partially been due to bad decision-making, he has been under constant pressure the last three games and Murray has been dropped for a loss 11 times in the last two contests. Coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense has been the bright spot, ranking first in opposing passing yards thanks to free-agent cornerback Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne.
ABOUT THE RAVENS (4-1): Baltimore was unimpressive in a 9-6 victory at Kansas City in Week 5 but forced four turnovers to seal the win. The Ravens were carried by their offense early in the season but have gotten stronger on the other side of the ball the as quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense have slipped. Flacco was held to just 187 yards and was picked off once in Kansas City after piling up 738 yards combined the two previous weeks. The Chiefs used a strong pass rush and a pair of strong cornerbacks to keep Flacco in check, a strategy the Cowboys have the personnel to mimic. One thing Dallas has not shown it can do is take on a defense as sound as Baltimore. The Ravens are strong up front and are third in the AFC with a plus-4 turnover differential.
1. Dallas’ secondary took a hit against Chicago when S Barry Church was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Cowboys S Matt Johnson (hamstring) could play Sunday for the first time this season.
2. Rice has averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in four of five games in 2012.
3. Dallas NT Jay Ratliff (ankle), DE Kenyon Coleman (knee), LB Anthony Spencer (pectoral) and LB Alex Albright (neck) are all expected to play on Sunday.
PREDICTION: Ravens 17, Cowboys 10
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Key Players to Watch
- SuspensionElig Week 5 | out
Hurst will have to wait until Week 5 against the Chargers to make his team debut as he will have to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
- KneeQues Week 1 | questionable
Breeland is on the mend from a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee, leaving his status for Week 1 versus the Browns in question.