The Dallas Cowboys are back atop the NFC East, rebounding from a three-game losing streak to post lopsided victories over a pair of division opponents, including a 37-18 victory at the New York Giants on Monday night. The Cowboys hope to keep the momentum going Sunday night when they host the Minnesota Vikings, who had a four-game winning streak snapped last week.
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Dallas owns a half-game edge over Philadelphia in the division but faces a tough road with three of its next five away from home, including a visit to New England. "This is when you start playing your best football. It's second half of the season," tight end Jason Witten said. "We've got a lot of games coming up in a short amount of time. This is when you need to rattle off some wins." It's also a pivotal game for Minnesota, which is one game behind first-place Green Bay in the NFC North and holding down the final playoff slot with four of its last six at home, where the Vikings are 4-0. "It's an important game for us for sure," said Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer, a former defensive assistant for 13 seasons with Dallas. "To go on the road and beat a good team is important for us."
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Cowboys -3. O/U: 48
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (6-3): Kirk Cousins threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns last week, but he still has not guided Minnesota to a victory when trailing entering the fourth quarter, falling to 0-10-1 in such games after Kansas City kicked two field goals in the final 2 1/2 minutes last week. Cousins could be without one of his top targets as Adam Thielen aggravated a hamstring injury in Sunday's loss and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. His absence would mean a heavy workload for Dalvin Cook, who has rushed for nine touchdowns and an NFL-leading 894 yards. Minnesota ranks sixth in the league with 28.0 sacks, led by defensive end Danielle Hunter with 8.5.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (5-3): Dak Prescott is averaging 297.5 yards and completing 69.6 percent of his passes -- both career highs -- as he presides over an offense that tops the NFL with 436.8 yards per contest. Amari Cooper, the team leader with 701 yards and six touchdown receptions, was diagnosed with a bruised knee that prevented him from practicing Thursday but he is expected to play Sunday. Dallas also is expected to lean on the ground game as Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for at least 100 yards in three straight games, including 139 on 23 carries last week against the Giants. The Cowboys rank fifth in the league, surrendering an average of 17.8 points.
1. Minnesota is winless in its last 10 road games (0-9-1) versus teams with a winning record.
2. Prescott, who is 4-0 head-to-head against Cousins, has at least two TD passes in four straight versus NFC North foes.
3. Cousins has a 123.5 passer rating in his last three on the road, throwing nine TD passes and zero picks.