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Are We Underestimating The Giants, Redskins Ahead of 2019 Season?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Next Day Rant: Barkley's Leaping TD Shows Hypocrisy of NFL Rules

According to more than one sportsbook, the NFC East will be decided between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles are just slightly favored, but the odds have both teams at practically the same odds. Last year, both were in the playoffs until the Divisional Round, when the two teams were sent home defeated by the L.A. Rams and the New Orleans Saints, who would battle it out in the NFC Championship Game.

On paper, both the Cowboys and the Eagles justify being the division's top dogs. They have plenty of talent both on offense and defense and promising young quarterbacks to lead their respective franchises in the future. Dallas has won the divisional title twice in the last three years. The one year they didn't, the Eagles did and went on to win the first Super Bowl in their history.

Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants find themselves rebuilding their teams. Both spent first round draft picks on quarterbacks for the future and it doesn't seem like they'll be serious contenders in the 2019 season.

But are we underestimating them? They might not be as strong as the Cowboys and Eagles look right now, but there's a case to be made for both teams being tougher than expected. Let's take a look at each team.

Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Offense, Coaches Have a Ways to Go Still

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Washington Redskins EDGE Ryan Kerrigan (Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports)

Washington Redskins

Last year, when the Cowboys were crumbling, the Redskins had a clear lead in the division. Prior to week 10, the Redskins were 6-3. Then Alex Smith suffered a horrible injury on week 11 versus the Houston Texans, and the team finished the year with only one more win (7-9). This time though, it won't be Smith at the wheel.

Instead, we'll likely see the Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins in at quarterback. Washington also added Case Keenum in the offseason, but I doubt he gets the job over the first round rookie. Even if he does, he'll likely lose the job eventually. RB Derrius Guice missed his rookie season last year but should be back for 2019. Along with Adrian Peterson, this is a team that could have a decent running attack to help the rookie.

As far as the defense is concerned, I believe their defensive line is quite strong. Montez Sweat, another first round pick, will complement a group that already has Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and one of the league's most underrated pass rushers, Ryan Kerrigan.


The Redskins are far from having the talent the Cowboys and Eagles have, but I wouldn't be surprised if they become some sort of headache in the upcoming season. Of course, they'll have to heavily rely on Haskins having a very strong rookie year.

Cowboys Headlines - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Giants

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, New York Giants QB Eli Manning (Al Bello / Getty Images)

New York Giants

It can't get any worse for the Giants than it did a year ago, can it? With Eli Manning at QB, who knows. The thing is, New York also selected a rookie signal-caller in Daniel Jones. I don't believe we'll see much from him this season unless at some point on the year, the Giants decide they have no shot at a winning season and decide to test their future QB.

The selling point for the Giants has to be an improved offensive line. With the addition of G Kevin Zeitler and a more experienced version of La'el Collins,  the unit doesn't look that bad anymore. We know what Saquon Barkley did with a terrible group blocking for him, he'll be an exciting player to watch with better offensive linemen. Manning hasn't been great in recent years, but with the right talent around him, he could do better.

Just like the Redskins, the Giants are not close to being the team Dallas and Philadelphia have. But it's worth keeping in mind that their offensive line has improved and that will lead to an even better year from Barkley. Defeating the Giants may not come as easy as some may think.

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I believe the NFC East will indeed be battled between the Cowboys and Eagles and no one else. Philadelphia won't be easy to defeat in a heated race for the division title. On recent years, Dallas has had success against Philly but that shouldn't make Cowboys Nation feel comfortable. They're a pretty good football team. Fortunately, the Cowboys are too.

Tell me what you think about "Are We Underestimating The Giants, Redskins Ahead of 2019 Season?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Primed for Big Games vs Lions

Matthew Lenix

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott Primed for Big Games vs Lions

The Dallas Cowboys were brought back down to earth this past Sunday in their 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. After dominating the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys got manhandled in the trenches on both offense and defense. Running Back Dalvin Cook had 183 all-purpose yards (97 rushing, 86 receiving) due to his offensive line opening holes bigger than the state of Texas. All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott, however, was held to just 47 yards on 20 carries because his offensive line got bullied from start to finish.

This coming Sunday, the Cowboys will be looking to bounce back against the Detroit Lions and maintain their position atop the NFC East. The Lions defense is one of the worst in the league vs the run and pass which sets up the Cowboys two biggest offensive stars, Dak Prescott and Elliott to have huge games.

Prescott is currently second in the NFL in passing yards, third in passing touchdowns, and first in QBR. He will get every opportunity to improve on those numbers this Sunday going up against Detroit's 28th ranked passing defense. They've allowed four quarterbacks to pass for over 300 yards, Prescott has three games with such production himself in 2019.

He will be bringing with him a very explosive receiving core. Amari Cooper is currently third in the NFL in receiving yards with 848. He's coming off a game in which he had his second-highest yardage total (147) and tied his highest reception total (11) in any game this season. Michael Gallup has already equaled his reception total and surpassed both his yardage and touchdown totals from his rookie season in 2018. Randall Cobb had his best game by far as a Cowboy with six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown vs the Vikings.

With Prescott playing at a high level, his receiving core more together than ever, and facing the leagues 30th ranked defense I smell another big game for number 4.


Elliott had his second-worst game of the season vs the Vikings after three consecutive 100-yard performances. The chances of him bouncing back in this game are very high considering the Lions rank 26th vs the run. Seven of the nine teams the Lions have faced have rushed for over 100 yards, including three individual performances over the century mark.

The two-time rushing champion is tied for the second-most games over 100 yards this season with five, trailing only Carolina's Christian McCaffrey who has six. Also, the Cowboys offensive line will be looking to bounce back themselves after the Vikings defensive front took them to the woodshed this past Sunday. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Elliott has one of his biggest performances of the season after such a pedestrian outing last week. Also, having a motivated offensive line blocking for him doesn't hurt either.

The Cowboy's best formula for success is still establishing Elliott early to set up Prescott and the play-action passing game.

With the NFC East still firmly up for grabs, the Cowboys have minimal room for error for this rest of the season. Going up against a defense this bad could be just what the doctor ordered for Prescott and Elliott to dominate on the road. If this were to come to pass, the Cowboys chances at improving to 6-4 this Sunday will be extremely high.


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Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Red Zone Liability?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie Becoming a Redzone Liability?

Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is arguably as talented as just about any defensive back in the NFL. He still young and has quite a bit he can do to improve his game, but there's no denying his talent. One of the things he may need to work on right now is his awareness and discipline in the red zone.

In back to back games No. 24 has been caught out of position and as a result surrendered points in the end zone. Just this last Sunday he gave up a two point conversion to Minnesota Vikings Tight End Kyle Rudolph. The week prior he gave up a touchdown catch to New York Giants Wide Receiver Cody Latimer.

Does this make him a liability in the red zone?

I know if I've noticed Chidobe Awuzie getting victimized in back to back weeks in the red zone opposing offensive coordinators around the league have done the same. As a result, they're going to test Awuzie to find out if they can have the same kind of success.


Chidobe Awuzie

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

If I'm Kris Richard I'm personally going to be working on making sure Chidobe is fully aware he needs to be more disciplined with his play, especially in the red zone. He's been caught out of position in back to back games and that can't be something that continues from here on out.

I'm sure Awuzie would tell you himself this is something he needs to clean up. He takes pride in his abilities and knows he can still improve. Hopefully he can take it to heart and better prepare for what's to come. Whether that means just executing his assignments better or maybe studying a little more film. It's up to him to figure out what he needs to do.

As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, they may need to start giving him a little more help over the top if this is something that continues. And if worse comes to worse, they can always see if Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown can be more consistent. I doubt it would come to that, but it is an option.

I for one am hoping No. 24 will just hunker down and figure out what he needs to do in order to take his game to the next level. If he can do that the Cowboys defense will be much better for it. I don't know about you, but I will be keeping a close eye on him for the rest of the season.

Do you think CB Chidobe Awuzie has become a red zone liability?


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Maliek Collins has a Breakout Opportunity Against the Minnesota Vikings

John Williams

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Cowboys DT's Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods Primed for Monster Seasons

It's been a quiet 2019 for one of the Dallas Cowboys' preseason breakout candidates, Maliek Collins. Heading into training camp, and then the regular season, Collins was the healthiest he'd been at any point in his previous three seasons. That combined with another year in the NFL, led many to believe that Collins could become a dominant 3-technique defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. Collins has been good, but perhaps not as productive as many might have predicted.

On the year, Maliek Collins has three sacks, which is third for the Dallas Cowboys behind Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence. Per Pro Football Focus, Collins is tied for 17th in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. Tied for 17th might not sound very good, but when the league leader in sacks among interior defensive linemen has just six, Collins isn't far off from threatening for the league lead. In fact, Maliek Collins is tied with All-Pro Defensive Tackles Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones, and Geno Atkins in sacks.

In total pressures, Collins is tied for eighth in the NFL per Pro Football Focus with 27 along with Quentin Jefferson and Vita Vea.

Though he's not racking up a ton of tackle this season, Collins has been excellent as a pass rusher. On Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, he'll have a tremendous opportunity to build on his first-half numbers.


Against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, Collins has an enormous opportunity. Among quarterbacks with at least 196 drop backs, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been under pressure at the fourth highest rate in the NFL. His 40.8% pressure rate is only better than Daniel Jones, Russell Wilson, and Sam Darnold.

Vikings Guard Pat Elflein has allowed five sacks on the year, which is tied for the third most in the NFL this season among interior offensive linemen and his 20 pressures allowed is tied for eighth. When Maliek Collins gets an opportunity to line up across from Elflein, he's going to have a chance to get home.

With teams having to pay so much attention to DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and newcomer Michael Bennett, Collins should be freed up to face more one-on-one blockers.

Collins hasn't had a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn't necessarily been the dominant player we thought he could be after his strong preseason. That perception could change when the Dallas Cowboys play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The opportunity is there for Collins, he just has to seize it.


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