Dallas Cowboys

How Zeke does against Broncos might be early tip for Cowboys’ fortunes

Dallas Cowboys 2017 schedule

Get ready for some football with our video graphic of the Dallas Cowboys' upcoming preseason and regular season games
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Get ready for some football with our video graphic of the Dallas Cowboys' upcoming preseason and regular season games

The Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos don’t play very often and even less often in Denver. The Broncos lead the all-time series 7-4, including winning the past five.

Getting off to a strong September start is important to both teams.

Over the past 11 seasons, the Cowboys (1-0) and Broncos (1-0) are two of only six teams to have a winning percentage of at least .600. The six are New England (.735), Denver (.714), Dallas (.686), Green Bay (.686), Baltimore (.657) and Arizona (.600).

Here are five storylines for Sunday’s game:

Zeke’s encore

Running back Ezekiel Elliott isn’t letting his legal fight with the NFL affect his on-field performance. Elliott surpassed the 100-yard mark in the opener, and will have his work cut out this week against a Broncos defense that held the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon in check Monday night. Elliott and his linemen understand the importance of establishing the run game early in this game.

Passing game

The Giants have a stout secondary. So do the Broncos. The Broncos boast a pair of All-Pro cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. They will make it difficult on Dak Prescott to put up big numbers, but expect the Cowboys to still try to get the passing game going behind Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.

Another record

Jason Witten became the Cowboys’ all-time leader in receiving yards in the season opener. He’ll become the franchise’s leader in games played this weekend with 225, breaking a tie with Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Witten continues to impress in his 15th season. He had seven catches for 59 yards and a touchdown against the Giants.

Pass rush matters

The Cowboys showed a semblance of a pass rush in the opener against the Giants. DeMarcus Lawrence had two sacks, and Charles Tapper notched his first career sack. The Cowboys need an effective pass rush on a weekly basis, and must keep it going against the Broncos.

Altitude adjustment

The Cowboys haven’t visited Sports Authority Field at Mile High in eight years. Every player will have to adjust to the altitude. Coach Jason Garrett and his staff preached hydration and conditioning to his players. Broncos defensive end and Texas native Von Miller said he still isn’t used to the altitude even though he’s been with the Broncos since 2011.

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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