The Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals face off on Friday at 7 pm at State Farm Stadium. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys already have one loss under their belts, falling short to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday. For Arizona, this will be their very first preseason game of this year.
These two teams are coming off of mediocre at best, disappointing at worst seasons; the Cowboys suffered from injuries and went 6-10, and the Cardinals ended up third in the NFC West with a lukewarm 8-8 record. Both teams are aiming to step it up this season, implementing necessary roster changes and trades. In this preseason matchup, the Cowboys hope to get their first win of the preseason, and the Cardinals aim to start their preseason strong.
The Dallas Cowboys: Who Will Step up in Dak Prescott’s Absence?
The Cowboys lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, scoring only three points the entire game. Their performance in their first preseason game left a lot to be desired, and they have a long way to go before they can be aptly prepared for their opening-season game against Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although he was seen throwing his first pass in a long time during the Cowboys’ training camp earlier today, Dak Prescott is currently out with a shoulder injury with no updates on when he will be active again.
This leaves space for Garrett Gilbert, Ben DiNucci, or Cooper Rush to nab the Week 1 starting quarterback position. Gilbert started the game on Thursday, and despite the obvious lack of scoring, he played decently, with 104 passing yards, 8 yards per pass, and a passer rating 93.1 against the Steelers. The Cowboys’ quarterback situation will likely influence the outcome of this game and the outcome of their first few regular-season games; with Dak Prescott temporarily out of the picture, Dallas must find a promising, enthusiastic, and able second-string replacement to lead the team to victory in Prescott’s absence, especially if they want to be playoff contenders this season.
The NFC East has always been a wild card division, with Dallas, New York, Washington, and Philadelphia always battling it out until the very end. If they hope to win the NFC East, the Cowboys must rally their currently weak offense and find a decent quarterback (ideally in Dak Prescott, but he has been an inconsistent player his entire career.)
The Arizona Cardinals: A Defensive Force
The Cardinals have not gotten a chance to play during this preseason yet, so it is a little bit difficult to predict how they are going to play. That being said, the Cardinals have always been a solid defensive team; they had the fourth-highest blitz rate (39.4%) last season. Since the Cowboys will likely be playing Garrett Gilbert, the Cardinals will probably seize the opportunity to see how well they can pick apart Dallas’s sub-par offense, while also testing and honing the abilities of their younger, less experienced players.
In addition to that, there are a lot of wide receiver positions up for grabs in Arizona, and competition is the name of the game. Their newly-drafted/traded players have a chance to prove themselves and nab a spot on the starting roster with a dazzling preseason performance. With motivations left and right, the Cardinals will aim to start off their preseason strong, starting with their explosive defense.
Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals – Betting Preview and Pick
According to Tipico Sportsbook, the Cardinals are -125 on the money line for the game against the Cowboys, while Dallas is +100, giving Arizona a 55.56% chance of winning, according to the odds, and Dallas a 50%. This game could honestly go either way, depending on the final roster, but I’m going to take the Cardinals for this preseason matchup. The strength of their defense and the weakness of Dallas’s offense is a recipe for an Arizona win. Without Prescott, Dallas will be a significantly lesser threat to every team they face, especially the Cardinals.