If you're like me, you probably felt weird waking up this morning because you realized that you won't have to worry about what time the Dallas Cowboys play today. While that means you can actually enjoy your Sunday– and check out some other exciting matchups around the NFL– don't hold your breath too long because the Boys will be on a bigger stage tomorrow.
With all of America likely tuning in for their bout with the Giants (because everyone loves to watch America's Team whenever they are on primetime), beyond hoping the Cowboys can pull out a victory on the road, there are three things I will be looking for from them.
Now, I understand fans can say, “Just three?”–since there are many things you could look for on the Cowboys–these three things stood out to me the most.
So, to ease your curiosity, check it out below.
TEs Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot shine with increased opportunities.
TE Dalton Schultz is currently questionable for Monday's game with an MCL sprain, but the odds of him playing is slim. To me, it wouldn't make sense to risk a player in the third week of the season, as you still have a lot of games left.
So with that in mind, the team will turn to TEs Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, who I hope to have breakout games. As we all know, one of the elephants in the room is the front office's hesitancy to break the bank for Schultz.
While Schultz is a talented and proven TE stats-wise, this game could serve as a preview for the future if the team decides not to bring him back this offseason. I'm looking for OC Kellen Moore to incorporate Ferguson or Hendershot in plays–and allow them to use their massive frames for contested catches and sneaky athleticism to move the chains.
Both showed their capability to catch the ball and gain YAC in the preseason, so I'm hoping Moore uses them both to give QB Cooper Rush another weapon in the offense– but also show a preview of the TE position for the future.
Having both TEs perform well would be positive for the team because once Schultz returns, then they can be confident trotting out Ferguson or Hendershot in two-TE sets with him. Plus, having another weapon in the offense helps whoever is leading at QB.
RB Ezekiel Elliott finally finds the end zone and “eats.”
Through two games this season, these are RB Ezekiel Elliott's stats: 25 attempts for 105 rushing yards, two catches for -7 yards, and zero touchdowns. Compare those stats to last season, Elliott had: 27 attempts for 104 yards, four receptions for 32 yards, and one touchdown.
Now you all are thinking, “So, you're telling me that Elliott is the same running back through two games last year? Nice.”
Well, yes, sort of, but hear me out.
While we could debate forever about whether Elliott has fallen off or is still good this and that, this game serves as a perfect game for him OR RB Tony Pollard to instill some confidence and get the run game going.
In this Week Five matchup last season with the Giants, Elliott and Pollard combined for 35 carries for 185 yards and one touchdown, as the Cowboys routed them 44-20. With a game script working towards incorporating either running back, the team can control the ball for a heavy amount of time and never let the Giants offense get in a rhythm.
Plus, successfully running the ball would have Rush less stressed to make plays. Although the subheading says for Elliott to eat, and I mentioned both running backs, I expect Pollard to be utilized more in receiving.
I'm looking for Elliott to get featured more to get his mojo back, but also for him to get in the endzone again, as he hasn't scored since last season's Week 15 matchup.
WR Jalen Tolbert gets snaps.
I plan to keep this short and sweet because I could talk about WR Jalen Tolbert forever, but I'm praying that Tolbert finally gets on the field. With wideout Dennis Houston now on the practice squad and WR Michael Gallup coming back, I don't see how Tolbert can't earn any snaps.
Gallup will likely see a fair share of snaps, but he's coming off an ACL injury. So, I wouldn't be surprised to see him with some rust. However, the team has Tolbert that they spent a third-round pick on, and he showed his flashes in college, practice, and during the preseason in little moments–so why can't he see snaps?
While we may never know why the coaching staff has held him back, Tolbert is another weapon the team is letting sit on the bench, and it's a shame because he can make an impact. This offense needs playmakers beyond Lamb or Gallup (thank you, Noah Brown for balling out), and Tolbert can be that answer.