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Bengals At Cowboys: ITS Staff Picks And Notes

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The Star News - Bengals At Cowboys: ITS Staff Picks And Notes

Welcome everyone. It's another beautiful Sunday afternoon in Dallas, with clear skies and a very nice temp in the mid-70s. It's perfect for some NFL football. The Cincinnati Bengals have traveled to town to meet the Dallas Cowboys for their 11th game against each other.

I'm sure you all know exactly where things stand this week, from Jeff Heath being added as the backup kicker to A.J. Green and the challenge he presents for Morris Claiborne and the Dallas secondary.

The Cowboys are currently 3-1, having won their last three games after a rough outing and close loss to the Giants on opening day. Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have looked better each game they've played and are starting to look like the real deals. Elliott is even the NFL's leading rusher coming into this week. Dez Bryant will likely miss another game, Tyron Smith is still having issues, and Dan Bailey seems to be pushing through his issues enough to kick a few this afternoon.

The Bengals are currently sitting at 2-2 on the season and haven't played the Cowboys since 2012, when they lost 20 to 19. In a rare matchup today, the Bengals are looking to walk away with their third win of the year and have unfamiliarity on their side. The Bengals aren't the same team we played in 2012.

But enough with the stuff you already know. Today's game is going to be interesting, we get that. So let's get to the picks.

Ian Koplowitz | @BleedingTheStar

I'd love to be wrong here. But this is the first opponent on our schedule that actually has a very solid team. The banged up left side of the line may show a little too much against this high powered Bengals defensive line. I'm not sure we'll be able to do what we need to do on the ground to pull out the win.

Cowboys 17 – Bengals 27

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Brian Martin | @Bmart0204

The Cincinnati Bengals might just be the most complete team the Dallas Cowboys have played thus far in 2016. I think we will finally get the first glimpse of what this year's squad is made of in all three phases of the game. I expect a close game but I think the Cowboys can squeak by and come away with a victory in their last home game before the bye.

Cowboys 24 – Bengals 21

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Kevin Brady | @Kevinbrady88

This is going to be a tough one. Defensively, the Cowboys have to deal with A.J. Green, but I expect their improved secondary to play better than most do. The return of DeMarcus Lawrence results in some increased pressure on Andy Dalton, and the Cowboys offensive line wins at the line of scrimmage despite the tough match up. Dan Bailey wins it, bad back and all, to get the Cowboys to 4-1.

Cowboys 26 – Bengals 23

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Sean Martin | @ShoreSportsNJ

The Ezekiel Elliott hype train is about to take off and never look back, as the Cowboys will outscore the Bengals with their rookie RB and rookie QB Dak Prescott. I see Dallas sustaining long drives, and finishing them off with touchdowns, allowing the defense to do just enough late in this game to secure the win. DeMarcus Lawrence forces a fumble at some point in the win.


Cowboys 31 – Bengals 21

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John Williams | @John9williams

The Cincinnati Bengals continue to struggle scoring touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys rushing attack leads the way to their fourth straight victory.

Cowboys 24 – Bengals 20

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Justin Grohowski | @Grohowknowhow

It's time to finally see if the 2016 Dallas Cowboys are for real as they face off against a truly complete team. Dallas' offensive line has gotten better with each passing week, and so has Ezekiel Elliott. This group alone allows the team to dictate games on their own terms, and they continue that trend again today against Cincinnati. DeMarcus Lawrence is back, and the pass rush shows some signs of improvement here. For as good as Morris Claiborne has been, A.J. Green gets the better of him in this one. Dak Prescott makes just enough plays in the passing game, and the team pulls out a close one down the stretch. Brice Butler has a big game here, and Dan Bailey sinks the game winner.

Cowboys 27 – Bengals 26

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RJ Ochoa | @RJOchoa

This is a great litmus test for the 2016 Cowboys. The Bengals are unarguably the best team they'll have faced this season, but with an offense that can move the ball slowly and methodically - taking time off the clock - it's hard to bet against Siegfried and Roy, aka Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

Cowboys 27 – Bengals 23

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Bryson Treece | @BrysonTreece

The Bengals are a team we rarely face, who have improved greatly since we last faced them, and who happen to be the best team we've played this year, so far. Their defense and offense pack some punches these Cowboys haven't yet gone up against, and I expect some struggles early. I expect some struggles middle and late, too. But in the end, I've got the 'Boys coming away with the W. Continued clock management with Zeke Elliott and decisive play by Dak Prescott to go on the run and spread the ball around. Brice Butler will score today.

Cowboys 24 – Bengals 21

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I don't think anyone really knows what to expect today. The Bengals are capable of being 3-1 and the Cowboys are just as capable of being 2-2, if not for luck of the draw. So we'll just have to wait and see how Dallas handles the stiffer competition.

As always, stay safe, drink responsibly, and LET'S GO COWBOYS!!!


This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Rookie Report: Which Cowboys Draft Picks Stood Out Against the 49ers?

In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.

Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot

Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.

If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.

Can WR Devin Smith Sneak Onto the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo / Josie Lepe)

Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting

The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.


His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.

Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again

Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.

While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.

Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer

Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.

But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition" 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!


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Game Notes

DL Kerry Hyder Impressive In Cowboys Week 2 Preseason Win

Kevin Brady

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Kerry Hyder

Kerry Hyder joined the Cowboys this offseason on a one year deal, and while the four-year NFL veteran has put up some solid tape in his time around the league, it was hard to project just what he could bring to the Cowboys defense.

Listed at 6'2" 270 pounds, Hyder is a bit of a tweener on the defensive line. Though the answer to "will he play tackle or end" seems to be "both" to this point in the preseason.

As he fights for his life on this deep defensive line, Kerry Hyder had himself a day in the Cowboys 14-10 victory over the Rams last weekend.

Hyder made an excellent play defending a screen pass in the first quarter, reading the play perfectly and reacting quickly to running back Darrell Henderson coming out of the backfield. Hyder also created some pressure on the quarterback, and finished with 3 combined tackles in very limited playing time.

Hyder's versatility is working well for him as he looks to make the final roster. Like a Tyrone Crawford type player, Hyder will be able to move inside and out depending on the situation. This allows the Cowboys to be flexible in how they structure their depth chart on defense, and in how they decide to rush the passer on third down.


A pass rushing package involving Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge with the combination of Hyder and Maliek Collins on the inside could turn out to be a very dangerous one for opposing offenses to deal with.

Rod Marinelli spoke to this versatility a couple of months ago, showing just how much he values what Kerry Hyder can bring to this team.

"Maybe you adjust him sometime, once in a while – in a one-on-one pass rush situation, stick him over a guard and start to get a feel for it.” - Rod Marinelli

Earlier this offseason, I wrote that Kerry Hyder could end up being Rod Marinelli's next great under-the-radar find on the defensive line. And if he continues to play with the hustle and awareness that he had on Saturday, he's going to make Rod look very smart in his evaluation.

Kerry Hyder is making it very difficult for the front office to let him go. And, at the end of the preseason, I do expect Kerry Hyder to find himself on the Cowboys' active roster. Especially considering how Mike White is playing at quarterback, and how his release could open up an extra spot at a different position group.


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Game Notes

#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he’s no Longer Darrell Henderson’s Backup

Brian Martin

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#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he's no Longer Darrell Henderson's Backup

For the better part of three years Tony Pollard was forced to play second fiddle to Darrell Henderson during their time with the Memphis Tigers. But, Saturday night in the second week of preseason Pollard emerged from the shadows and proved he's no longer Henderson's backup.

Tony Pollard put on an impressive show Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. He touched the ball a total of six times and turned it into 51 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 42 yards on the ground, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, and had one reception for 9 yards. All in all it was an impressive performance and one that arguably outdid his former teammate, Darrell Henderson.

Tony Pollard is starting to look like a real weapon for the Dallas Cowboys. It's still a small sample size, but in the first two preseason games he's proven the jump up in competition isn't too big for him. As a runner he's been decisive, picking up what yardage is given and not dancing around. He hasn't been utilized much in the passing game yet, but that time will come.

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't be happier with the way their rookie RB has performed thus far. He's everything they've said he was, and quite possibly much more. Maybe those Alvin Kamara comparisons weren't that far off after all.


We all know Ezekiel Elliott will return to the Dallas Cowboys at some point, but for now Tony Pollard doesn't look completely out of place as their lead back. He still needs to work on his pass protection, but everything else he's been asked to do he's excelled at.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited about seeing what No. 36 can do when these games start to matter in 2019. He will once again have to accept a backup role like he did behind Darrell Henderson in college, but you can bet the Cowboys coaching staff will reward him based on his play so far in preseason.

Pollard's versatility to be a weapon as both a runner and receiver in the passing game should make him a unique chess piece in the offensive game plan each and every week. He's been exciting to watch so far and we haven't even seen him in the return game yet, which was a big part of his game in college. I'm personally expecting big things from him this season. What about you?

What do you think of Tony Pollard's preseason performance so far?


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