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I like to think that everyone else is like me in that we all have seasonal things in life. By that I mean there are certain movies I like to watch, songs that I enjoy listening to, and things that I feel at a certain time of the year.
Earlier this week I dropped a reference to Jonathan Larson's Rent when I pounded the table that Jason Garrett is 2016's Coach of the Year. This is a musical that this time of year reminds me of, so the soundtrack is in my music-I-listen-to-while-I-write rotation at the moment (Tango: Maurren is currently blasting through my headphones).
If you've never seen this production, you've likely heard the reference I made in the Garrett post - 525,600 minutes. This is how many times that the second hand on a clock rotates across a given year. I remember when I first heard that I thought, "There's no way! There's surely more than that many minutes in a year." Nope, that's the exact number.
When Dallas kicks off against Philadelphia tomorrow it will mark 524,160 (this was a leap year) minutes since their first official contest of the year... which came on January 3rd, 2016. That day the Kellen Moore-led Cowboys lost in their final game of the season to a Washington Redskins team already wearing the NFC East Crown.
524,160 minutes later it is our crown, our top seed in the NFC, and our home-field advantage on the way to the Super Bowl. In that span the Cowboys became the world's most-valuable sports team, opened their new facility appropriately named The Star, and oh yea drafted Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. It's amazing how much can happen in a year.
While we all hope and believe that there's far more left in the 2016 season, the rest of it will take place in 2017. It's been an incredible ride, and today is a good day to reminisce on all that took place across it. Let's finish this year off in style, and let's have a whole lot of fun doing it. Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
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Mark Sanchez Tops 200 Yards And Gets Ultimate Revenge On Philadelphia
When you're talking about meaningless games - yes, this is a meaningless one - you have to get a little crazier than normal with bold predictions. This game is so difficult to measure to any degree because we don't know how much certain players will or won't play.
Here's what we do know: Mark Sanchez used to play for the Eagles, the Eagles are the worst, and sometimes epic things happen for no reason. Mark Sanchez looking like a stud in Philadelphia a season after they traded him away is a dish that I think we'd all sign up to eat. Give it to us, Marky Mark. Do your thing.
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Carson Wentz Throws A Pass That's Deemed A Backwards Lateral And Recovered By Dallas
Remember the rule today, friends! Get crazier than normal.
The same way that epic things sometimes happen, sometimes a firestorm of gross is inescapable for you... this is every single day of life for Philadelphia Eagles fans. Remember the days when Carson Wentz was actually compared to Dak Prescott? Oh world, you're so silly!
Look, Carson Wentz looks to have all the makings of a potential franchise quarterback; but, Carson Wentz has also looked a little Matt Cassel-ish (what a crazy world that he's starting an NFL game this week, too!) at times in his rookie campaign. Close your eyes and imagine this with me... Carson tries to throw a screen pass, it hits the ground, Philadelphia just stands there, Byron Jones falls on it as an astute-minded person, Jason Garrett challenges, we win it, life is awesome. Book it!
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Dan Bailey Does Not Get Called For A Personal Foul
Remember the rule - GET CRAZY!
The last time that the Dallas Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia, Dan Bailey legitimately got called for a personal foul. This happened because the former Cowboy DeMarco Murray was a tad bit sensitive, and couldn't handle such greatness touching him.
We all know that Dan Bailey is one of the baddest dudes to ever inhabit this big blue marble that we call home, but we didn't know how much fear he put into the Philadelphia Eagles until last year. I've never wanted to be wrong about a bold prediction more than this one.
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The Eagles Fail Miserably On A Fake Punt
For some teams - the bad ones - this isn't a meaningless game. Hi, Eagles!
Teams in the position of Philadelphia, the position being the bottom, are soaking every last second of this game as it is the last time their team will play one until September of 2017. When you're in that position, you have to try and find ways to keep yourself entertained.
In an effort to build camaraderie, the Eagles are going to try some silly things... like a fake punt. Remember though, that a year ago when these teams met on this very field that the Cowboys blocked an Eagles punt.
Bring it on, Eagles. We dare ya.
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Jason Witten Becomes The All-Time Leading Receiver In Dallas Cowboys History
This is part of the whole "get crazy" mentality, trust me.
Jason Witten is likely going to get very minimal playing time in Philadelphia. If we're being honest with ourselves, it's very likely that he won't get the 27 yards that he needs to pass Michael Irvin in order to become the all-time leading receiver in Dallas Cowboys History.
This is why saying that Witten will do it is bold... it goes against the grains of logic. Witten has had some of his finest moments as a Dallas Cowboy in Philadelphia, so it would be a bit sweet to set such a record in a house that he owns.
Go get it, Wit. Gold Jacket Wit!
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Bonus Bold Predictions
Here are this week’s contributions, thanks to all those who shared!
boldprediction Romo will escape a sack a la Romo and connect with Brice butler for a td @rjochoa
@rjochoa @InsideTheStarDC Bold Prediction Romo will throw 2 touchdowns to Jason and Dez and won't get hurt.
Remember, if you want YOUR Bold Prediction featured here, tweet it at me! It’s that simple!
NFC East Showdown: Cowboys Offense Primed to Dominate Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys are probably as confident as they have been all season as an offense after completely manhandling the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. They were able to put up 40 points on the Jaguar's top-ranked defense and now have to do the same against their division rival, the Washington Redskins.
I don't think there would be any argument if I were to say the Washington Redskins defense isn't nearly as talented as the Cowboys faced last week with the Jaguars. In fact, the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category, which should have Dallas' offensive players primed for this matchup.
As things stand right now, the Washington Redskins are giving up 21.2 points per game which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are also giving up 344 total yards (25th in the NFL) and 227.2 passing yards a game (24th). The lone bright spot of their defense is stopping the run, where they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL and are only allowing 116.8 rushing yards to opposing running backs.
Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott looked to have found a groove with their passing game last week against the Jaguars top-ranked passing defense. With the Redskins ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, I think the Cowboys should and probably will build upon the success they had last week.
Now, I fully expect the Cowboys passing game to find success once again against the Redskins, but I also believe Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to dominate on the ground like he has in the past against Washington.
Zeke only played in one game against the Redskins last season, but absolutely dominated in that contest. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he is close to that milestone this week as well, even if it is against the strength of Washington's defense.
I'm really hoping I'm not a being a little overconfident here, but I guess I'm just buying into the success the Cowboys had on the offensive side of the ball last week. The offense finally started to do the things that have made them successful in the past and I'm expecting that to carry over into this week.
I believe we will see Prescott using his mobility once again, although I don't know if he will rush for 83 yards. I'm also expecting to see Wide Receiver Cole Beasley heavily involved in the passing game again because Washington doesn't have a defensive back who can cover him. Of course, let's not forget Ezekiel Elliott. I'm expecting him have a big game as well.
Overall, I really don't see the Washington Redskins defense giving the Dallas Cowboys any problems on the offensive side of the ball as long as they execute the way they did last week. I know when these two teams square off against one another it's usually a slobber knocker, but I think the Cowboys are the better team and is the one that comes away with the victory.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys offense will dominate the Redskins defense?
Can Dak Prescott Continue His Washington Domination On Sunday?
There has been a lot of change within the Dallas Cowboys since 2016.
One thing hasn't changed these past two years, however, and that is the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins. In fact, since Dak Prescott took over as the starting quarterback in Dallas the Cowboys are 4-0 against Washington. Even as the sky was falling in Dallas a year ago, and the Cowboys offense looked like the worst in football, they still found a way to dominate Washington 38-14 and snap their then-three game losing streak.
In his four career games against Washington, Dak Prescott has quarterback ratings of 103.7, 108.9, 82.2, and 93.4. To put this into context, Prescott's average quarterback rating this season is 85.5 and that is really driven by his outlier positive rating of 118.6 against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, however, his 54.5 rating against Seattle was also a heavy outlier.
Prescott isn't the only Cowboy who has exercised this dominance over Washington, though. As Staff Writer John Williams has pointed out, Jason Garrett is 11-4 against the Redskins since becoming the Cowboys head coach, and Dallas has won six of their last eight against Washington since 2014.
So heading into Sunday's rematch with their division foe, history says the Cowboys should be feeling rather confident, right?
Well there's another streak occurring the Cowboys will actually be looking to break on Sunday. That, of course, is their winless start on the road this season.
Ironically the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have actually been a good road team until now, going a combined 12-4 the past two seasons. And, since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Cowboys have been historically better on the road than at home, making this year's 3-3 start even more bizarre.
To put it simply, "somethings gotta give" on Sunday. Either Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to beat up on the Redskins and get a leg up in the NFC East, or this horrendous road start will continue for another week.
Either way, I'm sure the takes will be hot on Monday morning.
Cowboys Defense Getting Players Back at the Right Time
The Dallas Cowboys have played really well on defense this season allowing the seventh fewest rushing yards per game, the third lowest yards per carry, and the eighth fewest passing yards per game this season. They've done it for most of the 2018 season without Defensive Tackles Maliek Collins and David Irving, and Linebacker Sean Lee, who's missed the last three games with a strained hamstring.
This week the Cowboys play the NFC East leading Washington Redskins, making this a very important matchup for the Cowboys playoff chances. The Dallas Cowboys are 2-2 in the NFC in 2018, so a win against the Washington Redskins on Sunday carries much more importance. If the Cowboys have hopes of making the playoffs, they're going to have to improve their record against the NFC and they can on Sunday with their defense getting back to (nearly) full health.
Still awaiting word on Chidobe Awuzie's availability for this week.
Antwaun Woods, Tyrone Crawford, and David Ross have held up really well on the Cowboys defensive interior without Irving and Collins, which makes their return even more important. Better depth along the defensive interior is only going to help those guys have more productive snaps. Both Collins and Irving are explosive penetrating defensive tackles that give interior offensive lineman fits with their combination of strength and quickness. They play the run and pass with equal effectiveness and make life a lot easier for the linebackers and the defensive ends.
In their first game back in week six, Irving and Collins combined for two quarterback pressures, a quarterback hit (Irving) and a sack (Collins). Irving also drew a holding call on a punt.
Getting them back takes so much pressure off the defensive ends to generate pressure in passing situations. With better pressure from the interior of the defense, DeMarcus Lawrence and the other defensive ends will have better opportunities for sacks because opposing quarterbacks won't be able to step up in the pocket with as much ease as they have through the first five games of the season.
The linebacker duo of Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch have been one of the best position groups for the Cowboys this season. As good as they've been, Sean Lee is still one of the better linebackers in the NFL. Though he's leading the Cowboys in solo tackles with 43, Leighton Vander Esch probably sees a decrease in his snaps with Lee returning. They'll all play, however, and the Cowboys will look for ways to have them all on the field together.
Getting Lee, Irving, and Collins on the field at the same time with the defensive parts that the Cowboys already boast in Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Byron Jones is going to make playing offense nearly impossible.
How do you attack these guys?
The Washington Redskins rank in the bottom third in passing yards, yards per attempt, and are 18th in the NFL in passer rating. Washington ranks in the top half of the league in rushing yards per game, but rank 23rd in yards per attempt.
If there's an area where the Dallas Cowboys defense has been susceptible this season it's against the pass and having all of their best defensive players available for this week seven NFC East matchup is going to make all the difference. They'll be able to generate pressure with fewer blitzes because of the ability of Irving and Collins to generate pressure from the interior.
Though the Redskins have had some success on the ground in 2018, it's going to be tough sledding for Adrian Peterson and the Redskins run game. Lee, Vander Esch, and Smith all play the run extremely well and with the improved talent at defensive tackle, Peterson is going to find very few open lanes against the Dallas Cowboys defense.
The elite defense that we imagined this team could be may be right around the corner. Having everyone healthy and on the field together as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for the stretch run of the NFL season is huge.
Get ready NFL. Points are going to be really hard to come by.
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