Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is back on after the 2nd Circuit Court has denied his request to have his suspension continue to be lifted. That is a huge blow to the Dallas Cowboys at a critical time of the season.
While more appeals are certainly coming, for the moment, Elliott is out. The biggest beneficiaries of this news are undoubtedly the Atlanta Falcons. Stick with me here…
The Falcons host the Cowboys this weekend with Dallas nursing a three-game winning streak. Elliott being out changes everything for the visitors offensively, which will give Atlanta a chance to pounce. The defending NFC champs have lost four out of their last five and have sunk to 4-4 on the season. They are currently on the outside looking in a the NFC playoff picture.
Elliott is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL, and with Dak Prescott coming back down to Earth a bit this season, the Cowboys need their running back badly. Prescott can win games on his own, but Elliott takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of him.
Elliott has topped 80 yards rushing in all but one game this season and is averaging 97.9 yards per contest and 4.1 yards per carry on 191 rushes. Backup Alfred Morris has just 14 carries this season and 15 total touches. Expecting him to fill Zeke’s shoes would be ridiculous.
The Falcons need to turn things around now or they’ll wind up missing the postseason. They have a real chance to make up ground over the next few weeks. Atlanta hosts Dallas (5-3) this weekend, then travels to Seattle (5-3) before hosting the Bucs (2-6), Vikings (6-2) and Saints (6-2) in consecutive weeks. A win streak now will not only boost the team’s playoff hopes, but also deal blows to rivals ahead of them in the standings.
But it all starts this weekend. With Elliott out, the Falcons have to take advantage and pull out a home win. Doing that would tie them with the Cowboys at 5-4 while also giving Atlanta the tie-breaker. This is a golden opportunity that Dan Quinn’s team can’t pass up.