The Dallas Cowboys faced little resistance in stomping their way to a season-opening victory while the Denver Broncos traveled a similar path ... well, for 3 1/2 quarters, that is. After withstanding a feverish late rally, the Broncos look to keep their guard up for all 60 minutes on Sunday when they host the Cowboys.
Denver limited Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon to just 54 rushing yards in Monday’s 24-21 victory, although the test likely will be significantly tougher this weekend when Ezekiel Elliott and Dallas’ mammoth offensive line coming calling to Sports Authority Field at Mile High. “That’s what we expect every week,” the 22-year-old Elliott said of his 104-yard performance in the Cowboys’ 19-3 win over the New York Giants. “We’re going to run the football. We’re going to show you different looks, but it’s going to be the same four plays. It’s going to be you versus us. You’ve got to stop us. You’ve got to be better than us.” While Elliott is the unquestioned bell cow in Dallas, Denver welcomed the opportunity to share the wealth with C.J. Anderson (20 carries, 81 yards in Week 1) and Jamaal Charles (10 carries, 40 yards) handling the rushing duties.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -2.5. O/U: 42
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (1-0): Dallas’ potent rushing game opens up the offense for Dak Prescott, who passed for 268 yards and a touchdown last week. Tight end Jason Witten reeled in the 12-yard scoring strike last week and will move past Ed “Too Tall” Jones by playing in his 225th career game as a Cowboy this Sunday. Dez Bryant was limited to just two receptions in the opener, but he erupted for six catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns in his last encounter with Denver. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence eclipsed last season’s sack total of one by recording two of his team’s three last week.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (1-0): Von Miller raised quite a few eyebrows last month by saying 30 sacks was “doable,” which stands as interesting fodder from a man who has failed to record a single one in his last five games dating to last season. “Everybody has standards for everybody and I hold myself to the highest,” the Super Bowl 50 MVP said. Quarterback Trevor Siemian, who only has to worry about Miller in practice, showed he was comfortable in the prime-time opener by throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. Demaryius Thomas led team in both catches (five) and receiving yards (67) against Los Angeles, but it was Bennie Fowler III who snared both touchdown grabs.
1. Denver’s Shelby Harris, who blocked Younghoe Koo’s 44-yard game-tying field goal attempt in the opener, could see additional playing time with fellow DE Jared Crick nursing a back injury.
2. Cowboys WR Terrance Williams, who had six catches for 68 yards in the opener, failed to practice on Wednesday and Thursday to put his availability in question versus the Broncos.
3. Former Cowboys and Broncos LB DeMarcus Ware, who retired in January, will be honored at halftime.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 24, Broncos 16