The defense is the key for the Dallas Cowboys against the Indianapolis Colts this upcoming Sunday. Dallas is coming off an impressive Thanksgiving win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys were able to keep Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, and the run game in check most of the game, leading to a win on turkey day. Dallas will have to be great against the run again to keep Jonathan Taylor in check for a Cowboy win on Sunday.
Defense is the Biggest Key to a Dallas Win vs. the Colts
The Dallas Cowboys defense has been one of the best units in the NFL so far this season. Both Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs have been as great as advertised following a stellar 2021. Both are crucial to the success of the Cowboys this season and in the future.
Parsons is not-so-quietly having a tremendous season. He registered 13 sacks last season as a rookie. He has followed up that with 12 sacks through 11 games. The talented pass-rusher frequently constantly draws attention and often is double-teamed. Another way teams try to deal with the former Nittany Lion is to run away from him completely. When Parsons dictates so much attention, the rest of the defense is able to swarm to the football.
Parsons also draws attention, opening up pass-rush opportunities for other players. Both Osa Odighizuwa and Demarcus Lawrence are both having a great season playing alongside Parsons. Odighizuwa and Lawrence have combined for eight sacks and 13 tackles for loss with the attention on the former defensive rookie of the year.
— Football Outsiders (@fboutsiders) November 30, 2022
Diggs is also having a great season. Teams are throwing at Diggs much less often compared to last season. He burst onto the scene last year with 13 interceptions. Diggs has slowed down some but is still having a great year with three interceptions and 13 passes defended. He also comes down from his cornerback position to help stop the run game with 35 tackles on the season so far.
Cowboys Defense vs. Colts Offense
The Colts strength is the run game with Taylor. Matt Ryan has struggled mightily as of late and the run game has improved after replacing former coach Frank Reich with Jeff Saturday. Saturday is a former Center and shows a propensity for a physical running style of offense. Taylor has blown defenses off the ball over the last few seasons but has struggled this season. In the last few weeks, Taylor has looked like his former self and has been the focal point of the Colts offense.
Jonathan Taylor vs Steelers: 43 yards
Rest of Colts offense: 5 yards pic.twitter.com/B9Ma4HT2f3
— PFF (@PFF) November 29, 2022
Dallas will have their work cut out for them against this powerful Colts rushing attack. Taylor is a big back with game-breaking speed with 4.6 yards per attempt. Taylor has improved over the last four weeks with over 70 rushing yards in each contest and a combined three touchdowns. The Colts will plan to run straight into the teeth of this Dallas defense to try and control the clock and game script.
Colts Quarterback Struggles
Dallas can take advantage of Matt Ryan’s struggles in the passing game by forcing turnovers and pressuring the quarterback. Ryan has only three touchdowns and three interceptions in the last four games with another two turnovers in the form of fumbles. The most alarming stat for the Colts signal-caller is 32 sacks through 10 games played this season. Parsons, Odighizuwa, and Lawrence should be getting after the Colts quarterback early and often in this contest. Ryan is in the middle of one of his worst seasons in the NFL with a 44.1 QBR, 10 interceptions, and only 2,642 passing yards. Ryan is the weak link in the Colts offense and should be easily exploitable for the Cowboys defense en route to a victory on Sunday.