Bengals at Cowboys: An early look

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Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws in the pocket against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws in the pocket against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Bengals head to Big-D to take on Jerry Jones’s Cowboys, which ride a three-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s match up. Here’s an early look:

After a victory on Thursday, the Cincinnati Bengals should be well-rested heading into week five. Cincinnati travels on south to take on the Dallas Cowboys, which rides a three-game winning streak heading into Sunday.

Dallas has turned lemons into lemonade so far this season. Tony Romo re-injured his back in the preseason and landed on the IR. However, fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott has shown poise through the first quarter of the season, moving Dallas within one game of their win total from a season ago.

In four games, the Mississippi State-product has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 767 yards, three touchdowns and more importantly, no turnovers. Along with Carson Wentz, Prescott has been superb in taking care of the football. On Sunday, he led the Cowboys back from an early 14-0 deficit to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 24-17. Prescott has posted passer ratings of 103-plus in three straight games.

You won’t have to tell the Bengals not to take a young quarterback lightly. It was just one week ago when Trevor Siemian came into Paul Brown Stadium for his first career road start and left a victor after throwing four touchdown passes.

Fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliot has made an early case for offensive rookie-of-the-year. In week three, Elliot rushed for 140 yards in a win over Chicago, then followed that performance with 138 rushing yards and a touchdown in the win over the Niners. Elliot’s 412 rushing yards leads the NFL through the first quarter.

Ezekiel Elliot’s 138 rushing yards and one touchdown led Dallas to a 24-17 win over San Francisco in week four. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports
Ezekiel Elliot’s 138 rushing yards and one touchdown led Dallas to a 24-17 win over San Francisco in week four. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports /

As the old saying goes, “you run to set up the pass.” With Elliot combining for 317 yards from scrimmage over the last two weeks, he will be the Bengals’ top priority. The first two weeks were disastrous for Cincinnati’s run defense, but they’ve shown improvement as of late. Against Denver and Miami combined, the Bengals surrendered 114 rushing yards and they are one of two teams (Detroit) yet to allow a touchdown on the ground.

One advantage for the Bengals was the week four return of Vontaze Burfict. Since 2015, the Bengals have allowed 74.9 yards per game on the ground with Burfict on the field, compared to a 109.2-yard average without Tez.

Marvin Lewis will hope his front seven shows up on Sunday as they did on Thursday. The Bengals sacked Ryan Tannehill five times, one more than their total coming into the game. With Prescott’s mobile ability aiding protection, Dallas has allowed just six sacks this season.

What may be concerning for the Bengals is preparation. Since joining the Bengals in ’03, Lewis doesn’t have the best mark when his team gets extended time off. After a bye week, Lewis is 5-7-1. After a Thursday night game, Lewis’s Bengals are 3-4.

Last season after a TNF win over Cleveland, the Bengals had arguable their worst game, scoring a season-low six points in a loss to Houston.

Overview

-Cowboys lead regular-season series, 7-4.

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-Last meeting: 12/10/12 — Cowboys 20, Bengals 19 at Paul Brown Stadium. Dan Bailey‘s game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expires caps off a nine-point, fourth-quarter comeback for the Cowboys. Dallas would lose two of their last three games to miss the playoffs. Cincinnati would win their last three games to earn the no. 6 seed in the playoffs.

-Last meeting in Dallas: 10/5/08 — Cowboys 31, Bengals 22 at Texas Stadium. Felix Jones and Marion Barber combine for 180 rushing yards. Fourth-quarter receiving touchdowns by Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton put the game away. The loss dropped Cincinnati to 0-5, they would go 0-8 before defeating the Jaguars in week nine.

-Last Bengals’ win: 11/7/04 — Bengals 26, Cowboys 3 at Paul Brown Stadium. Shayne Graham nails four field goals and the Bengals intercept Vinny Testaverde three times. Carson Palmer records his first career rushing touchdown.

Fun Facts

-Last Bengals’ win in Dallas came on Nov. 20, 1988 at Texas Stadium, 38-24. Boomer Esiason throws for three touchdowns and James Brooks runs for 148 yards and another score.

– Dallas is 13-11 under Jason Garrett in non-conference games since 2010.

Next: Bengals: Burfict Just Being Burfict

Andy Dalton is 14-4-1 vs. the NFC in his career with an overall passer rating of 99.2, 41 touchdowns, including three rushing, and 17 interceptions.

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