Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys vs. Ravens preview: Running game will be the X-factor

Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott (21) has 1,005 yards rushing this season.
Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott (21) has 1,005 yards rushing this season. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The Dallas Cowboys have the NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense at 161 yards per game.

The Baltimore Ravens have the No. 1 rushing defense at 71.3 per game.

Bang!

And the Cowboys have never beaten the Ravens. They’ve only met four times with the Ravens winning all four.

Meeting No. 5 is Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Kickoff is noon.

Rookies Dak Prescott, who was designated the starter this week with Tony Romo as his backup, and Ezekiel Elliott continue to impress for the surging Cowboys (8-1).

Prescott (2,339 passing yards) and Elliott (1,005 rushing yards) became the second rookie quarterback and rookie running back teammates with at least 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season, joining Robert Griffin III (3,200 passing yards) and Alfred Morris (1,613 rushing yards) who accomplished the feat with Washington in 2012. Morris is now Elliott’s backup in Dallas. ​

Elliott is the first NFL player since Buffalo’s Ahmad Rashad in 1974 to score two go-ahead touchdowns in the final 2 minutes of the fourth quarter of the same game when he had touchdown runs of 14 and 32 yards in a 35-30 road win over Pittsburgh last week.

The Cowboys “Mighty Orphans” defense still has not allowed a 100-yard rusher and have allowed only one 100-yard receiver this season.

In Baltimore (5-4), they still believe in defense and they play it well.

The Ravens’ No. 1 run-stopping unit is part of the league’s top-ranked overall defense.

They also have the league’s best third-down defense and have forced a league-tying best 31 three-and-out possessions, sharing the mark with Carolina and Houston.

Baltimore has forced 17 turnovers, including 11 interceptions.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs has a sack in three of his past four games and leads the team in that department with six. He played with a torn bicep in the Ravens’ win over Cleveland.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has 102.0 passer rating in past two meetings with Dallas. Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., ranks eighth in NFL history with 14,349 receiving yards. He needs three catches to reach 1,000.

Statistical comparisons

 

Cowboys

Ravens

Record

8-1

5-4

Scoring average

28.7

20.2

Opp. Scoring average

18.9

17.8

Total offense

412.7

333.0

Rushing

161.0

85.9

Passing

251.7

247.1

Total defense

345.7

281.6

Turnover margin

+4

+3

Penalties/yards

61-504

72-593

Dallas Cowboys regular-season schedule

Sept. 11

Giants 20, Cowboys 19

Sept. 18

Cowboys 27, Redskins 23

Sept. 25

Cowboys 31, Bears 17

Oct. 2

Cowboys 24, 49ers 17

Oct. 9

Cowboys 28, Bengals 14

Oct. 16

Cowboys 30, Packers 16

Oct. 23

Bye

Oct. 30

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23, OT

Nov. 6

Cowboys 35, Browns 10

Nov. 13

Cowboys 35, Steelers 30

Nov. 20

vs. Baltimore

Noon

KTVT/11

Nov. 24

vs. Washington

3:30 p.m.

KDFW/4

Dec. 1

at Minnesota

7:25 p.m.

KXAS/5, NFL Net.

and Twitter

Dec. 11

at NY Giants

7:30 p.m.

KXAS/5

Dec. 18

vs. Tampa Bay

Noon

KDFW/4

Dec. 26

vs. Detroit

7:30 p.m.

ESPN

Jan. 1

at Philadelphia

Noon

KDFW/4

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