The Bengals’ Andy Dalton played his college football in Dallas. Now, he returns to face the Cowboys Sunday afternoon at 4:25pm EST in Jerry World.
By now everyone knows Andy Dalton grew up in Katy, Texas, just outside of Houston. He did, however, go to college at Texas Christian University (TCU) which is in Dallas/Fort Worth. Also, just about everyone who grew up in the state of Texas, until recently, grew up a Cowboys fan. This isn’t Dalton’s first rodeo with Dallas, remember the Boys came up to Paul Brown Stadium in 2012, and Tony Romo administered a 4th quarter comeback to beat Cincinnati 20-19.
When asked about being a Cowboys fan, Dalton told ESPN, “Growing up I didn’t really have a team that was my team. I definitely followed them some. Just being from Texas, they’re obviously one of the big teams in Texas. And for a while, they were the only team in Texas when I was growing up.”
Can Dalton and the Bengals come away from Big D with a Big W?
Well, simply put, yes. The Cowboys are surprisingly good after a 3-1 start with young Dak Prescott at the helm but make no mistake, Prescott has not played a defense quite like Cincinnati. Prescott goes into Sunday having thrown 131 straight passes without an interception. Prescott has played smart, and efficient, relying on targets like Jason Witten and Cole Beasley.
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Andy now has a chance to show his worth in Dallas. He can play in Jerry World, and complete passes across the single lone Dallas star at midfield. Dalton also has a great opportunity to pick up a win in what is a prime time game. No, it’s not the Sunday or Monday night game, but it is the 4:25pm Cowboys game, the game all of America will get.
Can the defense stop them?
In order for the Bengals defense to be successful, they need to rush Dak Prescott and take his timing away and force him into mistakes. Also, not allowing him to throw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns like they allowed Trevor Siemian to do in Week 3. Dallas runs the ball quite a bit, relying heavily on Ohio State rookie running back Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott. Elliott is averaging 103 yards per game with three touchdowns. He’s on pace for over 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns. Stopping the run game means stopping Zeke Elliott, which is something the Bengals have to do.
On to the offense
Dalton and company can come away with a win, assuming they do not let mistakes get in the way of victory. The Cowboys defense is simply not very good. They are ranked somewhere in the low 20s compared to the rest of the league. Andy Dalton has to see this and find his open targets. Red zone touchdowns have to happen for the Bengals either via the running game or the passing game. If the Bengals can eliminate mistakes on the offensive side of the ball and create them on the defensive side, the Bengals should win.
Oh, and another thing. After Sunday, the Bengals have to travel to Foxboro to face Tom Brady‘s return to New England. Let’s not think about a loss this Sunday, because the game at New England feels like a loss already. The Bengals have put themselves into ‘must win’ territory. Winning now starts on Sunday in the Lone Star state and Big D.