Behind enemy lines: Cardinals-Cowboys Week 17 Q&A preview with Cowboys Wire

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Arizona Cardinals
    Arizona Cardinals
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Dallas Cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Tyron Smith
    Tyron Smith
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

The Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys meet for the second year in a row at AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon at 2:25 p.m. Arizona time. Both teams are headed to the playoffs and the Cowboys are division champs, while the Cardinals hope to retake the NFC West lead.

Arizona has lost three games in a row while Dallas has won four straight games.

To prepare for the game and give us some insight to the Cardinals’ opponent this week, Cowboys Wire managing editor K.D. Drummond answered a few questions for our preview.

He takes us behind enemy lines below.

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:


Previous shows:


and


Offensive weakness

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have a great rushing attack with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. They have fantastic receivers. Is there any weakness to their offense?

The only weakness is when the offensive line isn’t working at optimal efficiency. They’ve had to shuffle the lineup, because of injury and penalties but it appears their best version: Tyron Smith, Connor Williams, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin and La’el Collins, are all in line to suit up on Sunday. The other pieces that have been injured and slowed throughout the year are as healthy as possible for Week 17, so there aren’t a lot of holes there. The team that slows them will have to do so on their own accord, but the Cardinals defense certainly has the pieces to be able to do so. They’ll have to earn it.

The big D in Big D

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What has been different this season on defense for Dallas?

Having a competent defensive coordinator is a major leap. Dan Quinn and his position coaches are masterful teachers and motivators; I think there are multiple future defensive coordinators on this staff. They’ve maximized the talent on hand, especially in the secondary by playing a Man scheme that favors the aggressive nature of their stars Of course, adding a unicorn-like Micah Parsons to add extreme talent to both the pass rush and the back-seven coverage can solve a bunch of woes.

Surprises, disappointments

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Who have been the biggest surprises this season? Who has underwhelmed this season?

Parsons is the obvious answer here, he made a lot of sense as a defensive rookie of the year candidate, but player of the year? He’s been so special in every way for this club on and off the field. There were signs Diggs was going to have a big season, but the rest of the secondary, Anthony Brown and Jayron Kearse specifically, have been big playmakers. Kearse was seen as the least important of the three FA safety signings but he’s been a revelation as a hybrid box defender. As far as disappointments, the two Atlanta imports who came over with Quinn, Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee have played a lot of snaps but haven’t snapped on a lot of plays.

Matchups

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What are your favorite and least favorite matchups in this game?

I’m really intrigued by how well Tyron Smith will be able to ward off Chandler Jones with Smith just returning to the lineup after a bothersome ankle injury. Jones is so damn good, one of the best rushers of this generation and he’s going to be a handful. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Christian Kirk fares against Jourdan Lewis or potentially Brown if he mans the slot again after Kelvin Joseph’s starting debut on the boundary last week. I think corralling him is key to Dallas’ defensive game plan.

Prediction

What is your prediction for the game?

I think the Cardinals are down too many pieces to take on a Dallas team at home at almost full strength. I see the Cowboys coming out with a double-digit victory.

1

1