When the Dallas Cowboys take on the Minnesota Vikings Thursday, it’ll be a match up between one of the NFL’s most high powered offenses against one of the NFL’s most stout defenses.
Dallas’s offense may be led by two rookies, but that doesn’t stop them from being top five in the league. Both running back Ezekiel Elliot and quarterback Dak Prescott are even being discussed as NFL MVP candidates, finishing 4th and 5th, respectively, in the most recent ESPN poll Wednesday.
ESPN's NFL MVP poll:
1. Derek Carr
2. Matt Ryan
3. Tom Brady
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Dak Prescott
Who ya got?https://t.co/vT6OXQ7JOW
— First Take (@FirstTake) December 1, 2016
Through 11 games they have a 10-1 record, good for first in the league.
On the other side of the ball, it’s been the Vikings who have shined this year. They’ve allowed the third fewest yards and the second fewest points scored through 11 games, and are third in the league in takeaways. While their offense has faltered, the defense has lifted them to a 6-5 record.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes has been outstanding this season. He has four interception, including a 100-yard pick-six, and a forced fumble. Safety Andrew Sendejo has also stepped up with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries of his own.
streethistory: Xavier Rhodes pick 6 NFL Network NFL GameDay Live https://t.co/AefIiQqVP0 pic.twitter.com/b2Cnh8b4kB
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) November 20, 2016
These two teams are very much opposites on each side of the ball. While Dallas is near the top of all offensive categories and near the bottom in defensive ones, the Vikings are near the top in defense and almost dead last in offense.
- Passing Offense: Dallas- 2754 yards / Minnesota- 2462 yards
- Passing Defense: Dallas- 3084 yards / Minnesota- 2275 yards
- Rushing offense: Dallas- 1730 yards / Minnesota- 782 yards
- Rushing Defense: Dallas- 900 yards / Minnesota- 1102 yards
- Yards Per Game: Dallas- 407.6 yards / Minnesota- 294.9 yards
- Yards Per Game Allowed: Dallas- 362.2 yards / Minnesota- 307.0 yards
- Points Per Game: Dallas- 28.7 points / Minnesota- 19.8 points
- Points Per Game Allowed: Dallas- 19.4 points / Minnesota- 17.5 points
Both Prescott and Elliot took the time to discuss the Vikings defense and the challenge that it poses to them. And Minnesota Head Coach Mike Zimmer admitted that the Cowboys are the best team they’ve played this season.
Kickoff for the game is set for 8:25 p.m.