By Abraham Gutierrez
Coming off a huge win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the (4-5) Miami Dolphins return to South Florida hoping to keep the momentum going as they prepare to host the (2-7) Dallas Cowboys in Week 11 of the 2015 NFL season. Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida will be filled to capacity for a game that’s scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET and can be seen live on CBS Sports.
Cowboys 2015 NFL Season Record
Bitten by the injury bug, the Cowboys come in losers of seven straight games, and thus, sit at the cellar of the NFC East with a 2-7 record. Their latest disappointing showing came last week at Raymond James Stadium, where they found themselves on the losing end of an ugly, 10-6, loss to the (4-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Cowboys On Offense
Entering his 27th NFL season, Scott Linehan is the Cowboys offensive coordinator. Under his tutelage, the ‘Boys enter Week 11 ranked 10th in rushing (119), 25th in total yards (338.8), 26th in passing yards (219.8), and a disappointing 31st place in points per game (18.4).
After losing both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant early on, Linehan has been forced to play the hand he’s been dealt. Judging by their season record and NFL ranks, things haven’t exactly panned out for the Dallas offense. Nevertheless, this is still a dangerous team, especially with the big-play possibility that Romo and Bryant present when healthy, as well as the violent running style of one Darren McFadden.
Cowboys On Defense
Dallas is led by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who enters his 19th year in the league, and is also in charge of the defensive line. His second season as a member of the Cowboys has produced a “D” that’s just about average as it related to the rest of the defenses around the National Football League.
With nine games in the books, Dallas’ defense ranks 13th against the pass (241.2), 15th at defending the run (108.6), 16th in total yards allowed (349.8) and 17th in points per game surrendered (23.8).
There’s no question that Fins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will have plenty to dissect when preparing to face this defense. Goes without saying that creative play calling and protection will be key versus a front-four that’s responsible for most of the team’s 16 sacks.
Cowboys Players To Watch
While most Cowboys fans would categorize Tony Romo’s return as “too little, too late,” his presence makes Dallas competitive again. In two starts this season, the Northern Illinois product completed 75 percent of his passes, going 54-for-72 in his attempts for 551 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Because of Miami’s struggles against the rush, another player to look out for is former Raiders running back Darren McFadden. After taking over for DeMarco Murray, “Run DMC” comes into this Week 11 showdown averaging 3.8 yards per carry, tallying 494 rushing yards on 130 carries and a pair of touchdowns on the year.
Defensively, there are a handful of players Miami’s offensive line must account for at all times. Even though Dallas’ defense has been atrocious this season, the combination of defensive ends Greg Hardy (4 sacks), Demarcus Lawrence (2 sacks) and Jack Crawford (3 sacks), along with defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (3 sacks), and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (2 sacks) are sure to try and cause havoc in the Fins’ backfield.
Cowboys vs. Dolphins NFL Betting Odds (Week 11)
With Romo’s return, NFL Week 11 oddsmakers believe the visitors will be the team to beat when they invades Sun Life Stadium. NFL point spreads indicate that the Dallas Cowboys [-1] are favorites by the narrowest of margins over a hosting Miami Dolphins [+1] squad that will have an extra point as cushion. Finally, this is expected to be a high-scoring affair, as the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 47.5 points.
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.