Rob Ryan: Cowboys will beat Falcons

Before I begin the trek up to Atlanta, where I’ll be covering Sunday night’s game between the Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, there’s something I want to share with you.

If coach Mike Smith hasn’t already assigned staff members to start hanging a sheet of paper in the locker of each Atlanta player, I’m pretty sure he will soon.

Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, an outspoken sort like his father, Buddy, and brother, Rex, came pretty close to guaranteeing the Cowboys will knock the Falcons from the ranks of the unbeaten.

"We need to win now," Ryan said. "That’s what we’re going to do. I know the record is not what we want it to be, but the ball is bouncing strange ways. When that thing starts evening out, we’re going to be great, and we’re going to keep playing. We’ve got to win this week, and we know it, and we’re going to."

That’s what’s known as bulletin-board material. If Smith wasn’t happy with how his pre-game speech was shaping up, Ryan’s words also could be considered a gift.