The Dallas Cowboys will be the road team when they take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8 on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys are coming off of their bye week after securing a 5-1 record in the first six weeks of the season, with their lone loss coming in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas owns one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, but it’s been the defense that has turned them into a dangerous team in the NFC.
The Vikings are also coming off of their bye week after posting a middling 3-3 record to begin the season. Kirk Cousins has played pretty well for Minnesota thus far, but Mike Zimmer’s defense has been up and down, similar to recent seasons.
While Dallas is certainly favored to escape with a win on Sunday night, here are five reasons why the Cowboys will beat the Vikings in Week 8.
There Isn’t A QB Playing At A Higher Level Than Dak Prescott
There are quarterbacks around the league that are cementing themselves as MVP candidates. Kyler Murray is dominating for the Arizona Cardinals, Lamar Jackson is carrying the Baltimore Ravens, Josh Allen is balling out for the Buffalo Bills, Tom Brady continues to show he doesn’t age, and Matthew Stafford looks comfortable with the Los Angeles Rams.
While all of those guys are playing at an elite level, there is no one that can say they are playing better than Dak Prescott. Prescott has a perfect command of Kellen Moore’s offense and he’s been extremely efficient thus far. After carving up the New England Patriots for 445 yards and three touchdowns, Prescott should have no trouble dicing up the defense of the Vikings in Week 8.
Ezekiel Elliott Looks Fresh
One of the biggest developments for the Cowboys this season is the rejuvenating look of Ezekiel Elliott. A season ago, Elliott looked out of sorts, especially when Prescott went down with a season-ending ankle injury. But with an offseason to get himself right, Elliott looks like a fresher version of himself.
There’s no doubt that the emergence of Tony Pollard has allowed Elliott to stay fresh during games, giving him a chance to punish teams in the fourth quarter. Whenever Elliott is playing well, and Prescott is dealing through the air, the Cowboys are tough to stop.
Michael Gallup Could Be Back In Some Form
The Cowboys boast one of the best receiving trios in the NFL with CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. But in Week 1, Gallup went down with an injury that landed him on injured reserve, causing him to miss a minimum of three weeks.
The good news for Dallas is that Gallup returned to practice this week and he was activated from injured reserve. It remains to be seen if Gallup will suit up on Sunday night, but if he does, the offense of the Cowboys could be even more lethal through the air.
The Cowboys Force A Lot Of Turnovers
Besides the improved numbers across the board on defense, the biggest improvement for the Cowboys on defense is their ability to force turnovers. All of last season, Dallas had 23 takeaways as a defense. Through seven weeks — with a bye week — the Cowboys already have 14 takeaways this season, which is the third-most in the NFL.
Trevon Diggs has accounted for seven of those turnovers as he currently has a league-high seven interceptions, with two touchdowns. With Cousins being a quarterback that has struggled with making mistakes or turning the ball over at times, the Cowboys can take advantage of that in Week 8.
Dallas Has A Run Defense Capable Of Slowing Down Dalvin Cook
When facing the Vikings, it is well-known that they want to pound the ball with Dalvin Cook. Cook is the focal point of the offense, even with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen split out wide. But with the Cowboys having the 14th ranked defense in rush DVOA, they have a chance to make Minnesota one-dimensional, which could lead to more takeaways.
The last thing that Minnesota wants is for the offense to rely on Cousins to play mistake-free football in a primetime game.