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Ravens-Cowboys: Preview & Prediction

Both the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens have something to prove this Sunday, but both for different reasons.

Vladimir Cherry-US PRESSWIRE

The Baltimore Ravens will be facing a Dallas Cowboys team with something to prove on Sunday. For your information, I'm talking as much about the Ravens as I am about the Cowboys. The Ravens need to prove they are among the top teams in the league worthy of Super Bowl contending consideration, while the Cowboys need to just prove they deserve to be in the race for the NFC East title.

Baltimore might be leading the AFC North with a 4-1 record, but their last three wins have come by a combined total of eleven points. A convincing win over a tough team in the Cowboys would go a long way. Despite Dallas' problems with turnovers, they still possess one of the most dangerous offenses and an athletic defense. They have already proved they can win on the road as evidenced by their season opening win at the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

However, with the NFL's longest current home win streak, Baltimore plans to make sure both their home winning streak and the Cowboys turnover streaks combine to continue. However inconsistent one might think Joe Flacco looks on the road, he had been the complete opposite at home. In the team's three home games, he has thrown for no less than 299 yards and has six TD passes with only two interceptions..

Likewise, Tony Romo has eight interceptions on the season, including five turnovers in their last game at home, losing 34-18 to the Chicago Bears. While the Cowboys passing offense has been clicking at times, those turnovers totally change the game. their running attack has not gotten off to a good start, which should be a critical item to watch Sunday, as the Ravens defense has given up over 100 yards rushing in three of the first five games.

However, as most Ravens fans know, this is a bend-but-don't-break defense, unconcerned about what goes on between the 20's, but stiffening inside the Red Zone and sitting fourth in the league in terms of creating turnovers. Safety Ed Reed is licking his chops waiting for an errant Romo pass and adds are he will see at least one and be there incenter-field waiting for it to drop into his arms.

At the same time, the Ravens will continue to run the ball and use Ray Rice to doge and break tackles like his predecessors at running back did in 2008 when both Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain broke the backs and hearts of Cowboys fans in the Ravens victory after reportedly being hand-picked by owner Jerry Jones to be the sacrificial lambs for Dallas to close down then Texas Stadium. How did that go, Jerry?

Look for the Ravens to open up the offense and despite facing a solid pass rush and opportunistic secondary, Flacco has enough targets to move the ball and rack up yardage as well as points. Dallas will have their success on offense with some bug plays, but it will be the Ravens defense's bigger plays that will turn the tide and continue the home winning streak.

Ravens: 30-20