Colts vs. Cowboys: Keys to victory in Week 13

With playoff aspirations now hanging on by a thread, the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) will return to prime time to take on the Dallas Cowboys (8-3).

This game will feature a Dallas offense that is clicking at the right time and a Colts team that can’t seem to find any consistency. Last week’s loss to Pittsburgh showed Jeff Saturday’s squad is filled with talent, but figuring out how to use that talent is still a question mark.

However, it is clear that this team is not looking to “tank” or just lie down for the remainder of the season. They will look to stay competitive and see what they have moving forward. A statement win against Dallas would be a sign of potentially good things to come.

Here are the keys to victory against the Cowboys in Week 13:

Don’t get burned

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The strength of the Cowboys offense comes from their receivers. CeeDee Lamb has emerged as one of the best wideouts in the NFL, as he and Dak Prescott are finally healthy together. Combine his talents with Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, and Dalton Schultz, and you have a solid complementary receiving corps that can gash opposing secondaries.

Thankfully, the Colts defensive backs have been one of the bright spots this season. Stephon Gilmore is playing at a Pro Bowl level again, and guys like Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and Rodney McLeod have come along this season as well. They will have their hands full against a Cowboys offense that loves to air it out.

Seal the edge

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While game planning for this one, you have to imagine there is one Cowboys defender that will require extra attention all night long. Micah Parsons has become not only one of the league’s elite pass rushers but one of its best overall players. With 12 sacks and 50 total tackles on the year, he is a force to be reckoned with.

The bad news is that the Colts have struggled all year against solid pass rushers. This rotating combination of offensive linemen has allowed 41 sacks on the year, and they will have another tough test Sunday night. Bernard Raimann and Braden Smith will have to step up if Matt Ryan will have any time to throw.

Stop the run

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Another lethal part of the Cowboys’ offense is their rushing attack. While Ezekiel Elliot has not been as productive in recent years, the escalation of Tony Pollard has been something to note. The two-headed monster that Dallas has at their disposal is capable of dominating opposing defenses.

The two running backs complement each other very well. Elliot is more of a downhill runner, while Powell is a speedster that can get to the outside and be very effective in the passing game. If the Colts aren’t careful, this dynamic duo can be the reason this game gets out of hand. Look for Bobby Okereke and Zaire Franklin to step up on Sunday night.

Spread the ball

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One thing Matt Ryan did well against the Steelers was share targets among a variety of receivers. For example, Jelani Woods saw career highs in catches and yards and should be utilized going forward. The Colts receiving corps is very talented and their unique combination of size and speed can be a great weapon if used correctly. Giving Ryan time to throw so these threats can get down the field will be so crucial in picking up a win in “Jerry World”.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire