The first order of business every season for any NFL team is to win their division. It's an automatic trip to the playoffs and assures at least one home playoff game. The Dallas Cowboys have done the best job of achieving this goal in the NFC East in recent years, with three division crowns in the last five seasons.
This current run of dominance within the division began in 2017. The Cowboys won each of their first two division games of the season handily against the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, mainly behind the legs of All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott who ran for over 100 yards in both. Week 11, however, saw the Philadelphia Eagles come to AT&T Stadium and lay a 37-9 smackdown on the Cowboys. They would finish strong, though, winning their final three division games in convincing fashion, which included a shutout win over the Eagles in the season finale as Elliott had his third 100-yard performance within the division for the season.
2018 was another successful season for the Cowboys within the division. After splitting the first two games in division play with the Giants and Redskins, the Cowboys put to rest any doubts about who wore the pants in the NFC East. They won their remaining four division games behind the outstanding play of Elliott and Amari Cooper. Elliott went over the century mark in three straight division showdowns (151, 121, 113) before setting out the season finale to rest up for the playoffs. Cooper caught eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-23 victory over the Redskins in Week 12. Two weeks later, he exploded for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-23 win over the Eagles. The Cowboys finished 5-1 in division play for the second consecutive season.
The 2019 season has been yet another display of superiority by the Cowboys led by their top three offensive players. Elliott has rushed for over 100 yards in two of the three division games played so far this season, giving him eight games of the sort in the last 11 he's played in vs the NFC East since 2017. Cooper has two 100-yard games himself (106 in both) and two touchdowns, improving his record to 7-0 against the division since arriving in Dallas in 2018. Dak Prescott has been excellent within the division as well, continuing a theme that's existed since he came into the NFL. He set an all-time opening game franchise record with 405 passing yards against the Giants in Week 1, had a perfect passer rating a week later vs the Redskins, and has thrown eight touchdowns in division play. The Cowboys are currently 3-0 against the NFC East this season.
When the Cowboys take the field Monday night at Metlife Stadium they'll be looking for their eighth consecutive division win. Dating by to the start of the 2017 season, the Cowboys are 13-2 against their division rivals. They're the standard within the NFC East currently and will look to remain undefeated in division play in 2019 in a potential trap game against the Giants.
Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks
The Dallas Cowboys received a bit of bad news today. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.
Connor Williams will have surgery on his knee Tuesday but the hope is he will be able to return after a few weeks. Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely move into the left guard role, which is how the Cowboys handled Williams' absence last year because of a knee... https://t.co/M55eVtYCIJ
Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This is a minor procedure but will keep Williams sidelined for a few weeks. Backup Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is expected to fill in during his absence, just like he did in 2018 when Williams missed time with a knee issue. More to come.
Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays
There's a lot of blame game being played around the Dallas Cowboys right now after a demoralizing home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Even the head coach seems to be getting in on the act as Jason Garrett went out of character and got unusually specific in explaining Kellen Moore's responsibility for play-calling.
Garrett is not known for calling people out. In fact, many fans have criticized him for not being more critical of his players. He tends to speak in vague, nebulous terms when it comes to discussing the Cowboys' weaknesses or failings after a loss.
But in a radio appearance this morning, Garrett didn't mince words on who was deciding the plays during the Cowboys' final drive.
Jason Garrett on @1053thefan on the two run plays late: "Kellen's calling the game. In that situation it's 2nd and 2. He felt like he had a good opportunity against a favorable box to run the ball in those situations. On each of those plays we had options beyond just the run.
Jason did try to excuse his offensive coordinator's decisions with some context, but he also made sure to clarify who was responsible for those calls. It was not very Garrett-like, and it may speak to his own growing frustration and concern over his future.
Garrett is on the final year of his contract and the Cowboys' front office has made it clear that any extension depends on the results of the 2019 season. With Dallas now dropping to 5-4 and only leading the division by a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, the future is increasingly unclear.
Jason Garrett famously uses "we" and "us" terms when talking about the negatives, not wanting to assign blame to any particular player or person when things aren't going well. That he strayed from this well-established behavior today may be an anomaly, but it shouldn't be ignored.
With a tough second-half stretch coming in this 2019 schedule, Garrett may be starting to feel like a dead man walking. We'll see in the coming weeks if this leads to anymore shifts in his usual demeanor with the media.
Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings
Well Cowboys Nation, the Dallas Cowboys let yet another winnable game slip to their grasp Sunday night after the devastating 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. By my count, that's three out of four games the Cowboys probably should have won this season. But, probably… maybe… and should have don't mean diddly squat in the NFL.
I'm not going to beat around the bush today because I would likely end up going into a long winded rant about what took place last night. So, let's go ahead and jump right into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section to voice your opinions and thoughts on the subject.
Unlike in weeks past, I had absolutely no problem deciding what to go with this week for this category from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. I don't think anyone would argue that the good had to be Quarterback Dak Prescott's play and the Cowboys overall passing game. This unit was the sole reason they had a chance to win at the end.
Prescott was simply phenomenal Sunday night. He threw for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. He was on point last night and was dropping dimes all over the place. It's one of the reasons why both Amari Cooper (147 yards, 1 TD) and Randall Cobb (106, 1 TD) both went over the 100 yard mark in receiving, and Michael Gallup wasn't too far behind (76 yards, 1 TD). All in all it's an MVP caliber performance from No. 4, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to seal the victory.
I thought and thought about what I wanted to go with in this category and I'll have to admit, I had a hard time deciding. There were individual players who deserved a nomination here, but in the end I think the bad for the Dallas Cowboys was them getting off to yet another slow start against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, it's been a trend for them this season.
It all started when Jason Garrett decided to send out Kicker Brett Maher to attempt an ill-advised 57 yard field goal. Maher is capable of making such kicks, but there's a time and place to use that kind of weapon. Last night on the opening drive of the game was not one of those times. After the missed FG, the Vikings had excellent field position and scored a quick TD. Not long after they scored another TD to go up 14-0 after another stalled drive by the Cowboys offense. It's a hole they were never quite able to dig themselves out of.
Deciding what to go with here in this category was pretty easy after narrowing down what I wanted to put in the bad category. I think the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings was their defensive play. In all honesty, it was absolutely sickening to watch the Vikings have their way with the Cowboys defense. Dallas has far too much talent on that side of the ball to be manhandled like they were.
The tackling was atrocious and so was the execution. I'm pretty sure the game plan was to neutralize Dalvin Cook the way they did Saquon Barkley in Week 9, but the league's leading rusher (Cook) would have none of that. He pretty much did what he wanted. He ran through arm tackles and had room to run, whether it was as a rusher or receiver. It looked a lot like what Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones did to the Cowboys in Week 5. It was completely inexcusable and unacceptable!
What is your good, bad, and ugly from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup?
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