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Arizona Cardinals stay atop NFC, stifle Dallas Cowboys

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The Arizona Cardinals continue to lead the pack in the NFC. They wore down the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday on their way to a 7-1 record and a 28-17 score.

1. It's only Week 9, but the Cardinals have already won the NFC East -- if Arizona were still in the division. Arizona completed a four-game sweep in the Cowboys' own division with a dominant defensive effort that started in the middle.

Nose tackle Dan Williams and Calais Campbell held up well against the vaunted Dallas run game and pushed the pocket when Brandon Weeden stepped back to pass. Weeden will get blamed for this one, but the Cardinals' defense deserves a ton of credit.

2. Arizona's defense only gave up three points on the day until a garbage time score. The Cowboys' other seven came on an early pick six by Carson Palmer. It typified most of the day for the Cardinals' offense. Palmer had a lot of errant throws, and his receivers did him no favors with five drops. There were also key drive-killing penalties. Arizona pulled away with two late touchdowns, but this could have been a blowout much earlier. They looked like the far superior team.

3. Dez Bryant was held without a catch until Dallas' meaningless garbage time touchdown drive. It has not been a great year for Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, but he did an incredible job disrupting Bryant all day.

4. It's time to talk about Weeden. The Cowboys did everything possible to limit his exposure to mistakes, but he did almost nothing well Sunday. His touch passes had way too much heat. He often was not on the same page with his receivers and generally wasn't accurate. He didn't complete a pass to a wide receiver in the first half. The Cowboys will struggle to win any games with Weeden behind center.

5. The Cowboys needed their offensive line to dominate, and they didn't. DeMarco Murray was held to 79 yards on 19 attempts. Penetration disrupted a fourth-and-short attempt in the fourth quarter that symbolized too much of the day for Dallas.

6. Dallas' defense, which already looks ordinary, have more injuries to worry about as they head to London this week. Linebacker Rolando McClain and their best defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford both left the game late with right knee injuries.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from an action-packed Week 9. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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