Will Atlanta give Dallas a harder time than many expect?

The Dallas Cowboys (0-1) open their home schedule on Sunday afternoon when they host the Atlanta Falcons (0-1) in front of a limited audience at the AT&T Stadium. Dallas looks to hit the track after a three-point loss to the LA Rams in Week 1, while Atlanta hopes to bounce back from a Seattle Seahawks home game. Our jury of columnists, insiders, and contributors predict the following for the Cowboys Week 2 game:

Tim Cowlishaw

Almost as many points could be scored as fans on Sunday (a bit of an exaggeration) with these teams lighting the scoreboard. How the Cowboys scored just 17 points in LA (three in the second half) is alarming, but it won’t happen against the Hawks defense. Meanwhile, the Dallas Secondary has its hands full with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Cowboys 40, Falcons 26.

Michael Gehlken

In general, you shouldn’t make too much of a season opener. But week one sloppy performance from the Cowboys offensive line is a legitimate concern, and that was before Tyron Smith (Hals) missed Thursday’s training. Fortunately, Dallas still has enough guns on the receiver and is running back for Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore to track down ways to quickly find players in space. Cowboys 27, Falcons 24.

Damon Marx

This game will be more difficult for the cowboys than many expect. Dallas faces Atlanta in a left tackle with Tyron Smith, who is battling an injury. Sound familiar? It should give Chaz Green-induced nightmares to cowboys fans. If Dak Prescott has time to cast, he should cut up the falcon secondary school. Might even find CeeDee Lamb for the rookie’s first NFL touchdown. Cowboys 27, Falcons 24.

David Moore

If the Cowboys’ loss in Week 1 leads to a break and you’re wondering what to believe about this team’s potential, remember this: Dallas opened the regular season in loss three times in the last nine years and is in the Playoffs every time. Does that mean it’s a good thing the Cowboys lost to the LA Rams? Only if they beat Atlanta this weekend. Cowboys 27, Falcons 21.

John Owning

The talented receiving trio of cowboys should be able to take advantage of the average Atlanta high school, but the key will be the offensive line that gives Dak Prescott enough time to find her in the field. The offensive line will still have problems but will play well enough to score many points. Free of Los Angeles’ constant gameplay and misdirection, the Cowboys rush to pass makes enough games too late to ensure victory. Cowboys 31, Falcons 27.

Kevin Sherrington

Question: Should Greg Zuerlein bring his helmet to the AT&T Stadium after we know what Mike McCarthy thinks of field goals? I’m just wondering. Either way, the Hawks don’t have Aaron Donald or Sean McVay, and Julio Jones could be injured. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott should have better luck against a poor defense in a shootout. Cowboys 35, Falcons 28.

Jean-Jacques Taylor

The Cowboys are designed to win offensively and Tyron Smith will be a game-time decision and Amari Cooper (foot) is already limping. Don’t forget that a guy named Terence Steele starts out with the right tackle. Dallas struggled to finish the rides last week and it seems it’s going to be even more difficult this week. Falcons 24, Cowboys 20.

Calvin Watkins

Defending the Cowboys should bring a better effort in Week 2. It will be difficult to slow Julio Jones and the Falcons offensive at the beginning. Trevon Diggs will likely face his greatest challenge when it comes to the Elite Falcons receiver. Dak Prescott should have a 300 yard day and three touchdown passes, if given the time. Dallas 28, Falcons 17.

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