Sunday Night Football: Cowboys at Falcons

Nov 3, 2012 |
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5, 47.5)

Having turned the NFC South race into a runaway, the Atlanta Falcons will look to remain perfect when they host the enigmatic Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. The league's lone undefeated team, the Falcons are coming off convincing 30-17 rout at Philadelphia in which quarterback Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes on their first three possessions. The victory moved Atlanta to 7-0 for the first time in franchise history and padded its lead in the division to four games over Tampa Bay.

The turnover-riddled Cowboys erased a 23-0 deficit at home against the New York Giants before falling late to absorb their third loss in four games. Dallas has not put together a solid all-around effort since beating the Giants on the road in the season opener. Ryan is 29-5 as a starter at the Georgia Dome, but Atlanta has been far from dominant at home this season, winning its three games by a total of 11 points.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC.

LINE: Falcons -4, O/U 47.5.

Quarterback Tony Romo has always been a lightning rod for criticism, but it's been justified this season as he has turned the ball over at an alarming pace. Romo was intercepted four times against the Giants to give him an NFL-worst 13 - three more than he thew all last season. Romo also threw for a career-high 437 yards in the game and was within an out-of-bounds fingertip of giving Dallas consecutive wins for the first time this season.  The running game has struggled all season and has been non-existent with DeMarco Murray missing the last two games. Murray (foot) has been ruled out for Sunday.

Atlanta is coming off its most impressive outing of the season, scoring on its first six possessions to dismantle the Eagles. Ryan had the third-highest passer rating of his career (137.4) in throwing for 262 yards and the three TDs. Julio Jones had his first 100-yard game since Week 1 with five catches for 123 yards and one touchdown. Ryan has thrived despite a running game that ranks 24th in the league at 95.0 yards per game. Veteran Michael Turner has failed to average more than three yards per carry in four of the seven games, but he continues to get a sizable number of carries as the Falcons seek to maintain balance in their offense.


* Favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 6-1 in Cowboys’ last seven road games.
* Falcons are 4-1 ATS in their last five Week 9 games.
* Cowboys are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six road games vs. a team with a winning home record.


1. The Falcons are 28-0 when Ryan has a passer rating above 100, including 5-0 this season.

2. The Cowboys ranked fourth overall in total defense (292.4 yards per game) and third against the pass (187.7).

3. Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez needs one TD pass to reach 100 for his career.

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