Connect with us

Star Blog

Can the Cowboys Catch the Giants?

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Can the Cowboys Catch the Giants?

While America as a whole has big plans to stuff themselves tomorrow, many in Cowboys Nation are already filling up on hopes and dreams. After Tony Romo's return last Sunday and a long-awaited return to winning, we're looking up at the division-leading New York Giants and wondering if we can catch them with six games to go.

Let's set the stage. The Giants are 5-5 with a 2-2 record in the NFC East. The Cowboys are 3-7 but thankfully are also 2-2 in division play. The teams have already played twice and split those games, leaving things pretty wide open in terms of tiebreakers.

Here are the remaining six games on each teams schedule:

COWBOYS GIANTS
WK 12 vs. Panthers @ Washington
WK 13 @ Washington vs. Jets
WK 14 @ Packers @ Dolphins
WK 15 vs. Jets vs. Panthers
WK 16 @ Bills @ Vikings
WK 17 vs. Washington vs. Eagles

 

These schedule couldn't be more evenly matched. In their remaining NFC East action, both teams have a road game with Washington remaining and then close out with home games against Washington and Philadelphia, both of whom have 4-6 records right now. The only downside for Dallas here is that it looks like the Eagles headed into a free fall while Washington may have still have some fight in them. Still, there's no significant advantage either way in division play.

Outside of the division, both teams have home games against the 10-0 Carolina Panthers and the 5-5 New York Jets. Both go on the road to face 7-3 NFC North teams, with the Cowboys facing the Packers and the Giants headed to Minnesota. Both also have road games against middling AFC East teams, with Dallas going to Buffalo (5-5) and the Giants facing the 4-6 Dolphins.

Nobody will be able to blame the scheduling gods if they come up short. If anything, Dallas has a little edge thanks to the long rest they get after tomorrow's Thanksgiving game. It will come a crucial time with back-to-back road games coming up after the holiday. Also, getting to play the undefeated Panthers on a short week is a nice advantage for the home team.

The best news for Dallas is that the Giants have no real momentum right now. They have been on a "win one, lose one" streak going back six weeks now. Unfortunately, they just had their bye week and may have had a chance to reset and correct a few things. What's more, New York tends to play its best ball late in the year during the Coughlin-Manning era.

To be sure, Dallas overcoming this standings deficit and winning the division is far from probable. New York only needs to win four of their next six to finish 9-7, while Dallas has to win all of them. That's daunting, to say the least.

That said, probability and possibility are two very different things. A six-game winning streak is certainly doable. In fact, the Cowboys had one just last year during the early part of the season. Don't let November and December scare you, either. Last year, Dallas also went 6-1 to close out their schedule.

The weeks ahead will offer more clarity about the NFC as a whole and what the Wild Card situation is. If Dallas can run the table and get to 9-7 then that may be another possible way into the playoffs. For now, though, the division race should be our primary focus. It's the best opportunity to extend our season and contend for a championship.

Dallas is 10-2 in its last twelve games with Romo as the starting quarterback. If that success ratio continues, then this mountain can absolutely be climbed. If they can hang a loss on the Panthers this week and then then Giants falter on the road in Washington, now you're only one game back with five to go. The margin between possibility and probability gets a lot more narrow.

As Romo's tweeted clip from "Major League" put it last week, "I guess there's only one thing left to do..."

"...Win the whole #$*@&% thing!"



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Advertisement
Comments

Star Blog

What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.

Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?

As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.

Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.

But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.

Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.

Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.

After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.

It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.

Tell me what you think about "What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?" 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!



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



Continue Reading

Star Blog

Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending