The Dallas Cowboys are off to a 2-0 start but each of their wins have come with a heavy price. Star wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a broken bone in his foot in the season opener and quarterback Tony Romo fractured a collarbone in last week's win for the Cowboys, who will face another unbeaten team when the Atlanta Falcons pay a visit Sunday afternoon.
“They were tough blows losing both of those guys, obviously,” Dallas tight end Jason Witten said. “You don’t replace guys like that. It does create opportunity and I’m confident guys are going to step in. this team will rally around that.” Brandon Weeden stepped in after Romo was hurt and completed all seven pass attempts in a 20-10 victory at Philadelphia last weekend. Atlanta will be attempting to make it three straight wins over NFC East opponents after outlasting the Eagles in Week 1 and erasing a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 24-20 victory at the New York Giants last week. “We won’t look too far ahead," first-year coach Dan Quinn said. "We’re trying to stay in the present and continue to battle for wins every week."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -1. O/U: 45
ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-0): Wideout Julio Jones has been limited in practice this week due to a sore hamstring, but he has been unstoppable in the first two games, scoring twice while tying to the league lead with 22 receptions and ranking second with 276 yards. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 363 yards in last week's win over the Giants and will likely be without starting rookie running back Tevin Coleman (ribs), meaning an increased workload for backfield mate Devonta Freeman. The Falcons were the league's worst team against the pass in 2014, giving up an average of 279.9 yards, and they have already been gouged for 313.5 yards per game this season.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (2-0): Dallas turned in a superb performance in limiting Philadelphia to 226 yards of total offense and seven yards rushing behind a 14-tackle effort from linebacker Sean Lee, who was named the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week. The Cowboys swung a deal with Buffalo to acquire quarterback Matt Cassel to back up Weeden, a former first-round pick with Cleveland who will make his first start since throwing a pair of interceptions for Dallas in a loss to Arizona last November. Owner Jerry Jones wants to see improvement from a running game that has been average at best, with Joseph Randle leading the way with 116 yards on 34 carries.
1. Witten is dealing with a pair of sprained ankles and an ailing knee for Dallas, which is 2-0 for the first time since 2008.
2. Jones has 54 receptions for 889 yards and four TDs in his last six games.
3. The Cowboys are yielding an NFL-low 53.0 yards rushing per game.
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