Arizona Cardinals defense to be tested by Dallas Cowboys

Without Dak Prescott, the Arizona Cardinals defense will look to stop the high-powered Cowboys offense.

Entering Week 6, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s No. 1 offense, gaining 488 total yards per game, with most of that coming through the air (381.4 yards/game).  They host the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night in Dallas.

The biggest news, however, is that they’ll be without their star QB, as Dak Prescott suffered a season ending ankle injury in Sunday night’s game against the New York Giants. It’s a tough loss for a team looking to running away in what is perhaps the worst division in football.

The Cardinals, who rank 10th in total defense, will still have their hands full on Monday night with Andy Dalton and Ezekiel Elliott carrying the load. They’re gaining 106.6 yards per game on the ground, and I would imagine that Elliot will get a heavy dose, as Dalton looks to get acclimated to starting again in the NFL. They’re also aware that although the Cardinals defense on paper has been stout, their run defense has been atrocious.

Big Red is giving up 124.2 yards per game on the ground — a problem that seems to get worse every week. And without their top edge rusher Chandler Jones, it will have to be a concerted effort to get in the face of Andy Dalton. Pass-rush-by-committee will be the theme for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

Some optimism lies with fill-in edge rusher Dennis Gardeck, who in relief of Jones, collected 2 sacks in his first defensive snaps of his career. The special teams captain will now have chance to show that he’s not just great at special teams, but can also wreak havoc for opposing quarterbacks.

The task at hand, however, will be to stop Ezekiel Elliot and limit yards after contact. Heavy runs and play-action passes will probably be the game plan for Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy — who also employ 3 stout WRs in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb.

Next: Cardinals hurting at outside linebacker

It makes for an intriguing matchup for old NFC East rivals and what better way to see how things unfold than in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football. “Get your popcorn ready.”