I love the National Anthem at football games. Absolutely love it.
One of my favorite things to do when I've got a case of writer's block is to stumble down a YouTube rabbit hole of my all-time favorite renditions of this glorious song (The best version ever is Beyonce's Super Bowl XXXVIII one).
My love for this song and how it relates to the NFL was born on Christmas Day 2006 (a day in which I learned that anything can happen). Let me set the stage for you.
My Dad and I were attending a Christmas Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles at the storied Texas Stadium. We were at our seats and stood when the PA announcer said a few Cowboys Cheerleaders were going to sing the anthem.
I stood there, hand over my heart, and took it all in. This was the first Dallas Cowboys game that I'd ever attended in person, and it was all so beautiful. The atmosphere was unlike anything I'd ever witnessed. The way the sun peeked in through the iconic hole in the roof and kissed the sidelines was like a painting. Needless to say, my emotions were running high.
The energy in my body simply could not be contained any longer. I had to get it out. My body was like a soda can when you shake it… and I was about to crack it open.
This particular crowd was hushed over and enjoying the National Anthem, so it was shockingly quiet. The only sound in the whole stadium was the collective voice of the Cheerleaders singing. Suddenly the Cheerleaders hit the line, “O'er the Land of the Free…” and held that note. When they did, I erupted.
It was like I dropped a lit match into a Texas Stadium-sized tub of gasoline. My roar ignited the crowd and we cheered in unison as “…and the home of the Brave!” came out to finish it.
My roar was so spontaneous and so bold that my Dad actually jumped. Sometimes that happens with boldness. It's unexpected, unplanned, and one tiny bit of it can cause a fire.
The Cowboys are that fire. This is that tiny bit. Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
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Jason Witten Has His Best Game Of The Season
Jason Witten is making his 204th start for the Cowboys on Sunday, which will be the most by anyone to ever wear the Star. Witten is currently tied for first with Ed “Too Tall” Jones with 203 starts, so it just feels like destiny that this would be his night.
Witten has played 25 games against the Eagles in his career. In that time he's caught 146 passes for 1,592 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2015's two contests against Philly, Jason caught 13 passes for 99 yards.
This is a squad Jason Witten has dominated year in and year out. On this night – his night – he'll do it again.
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The Cowboys Defense Will Recover An Intended Lateral That's Ruled A Fumble
This is oddly specific, BUT THAT'S HOW WE ROLL WITH BOLD PREDICTIONS.
Look, weird things happen in division rivalries. Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz is being exposed to the bright lights that the Dallas Cowboys bring for the first time, and that's likely going to overwhelm his North Dakota roots.
Wentz, who has thrown literally three times as many career interceptions as Dak Prescott, is going to try and hit a screen pass in this game… I can smell it. It's going to fall short and whatever receiver it is is going to just assume it's incomplete, but Byron Jones is going to wisely snatch it up and score a possession for the Cowboys. Boo-ya.
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Lucky Whitehead Will Catch Two Passes
Guess how many career catches Lucky Whitehead has. Go ahead, guess.
The answer is one. Lucky Whitehead has caught a pass in an NFL regular season game only one time in the history of the world, and it happened the last time the Cowboys played (at Lambeau Field). I'm here proclaiming he's going to double that number!
Lucky is becoming a favorite toy of Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan (who is welcoming an old friend to town on Sunday). The 26 yards Whitehead picked up on a third down jet sweep at the end of the Packers game served as the catalyst for why Dallas won that game.
Linehan is going to get Lucky involved this game. Two beautiful passes are going to soar out of Dak Prescott's hand into Lucky Whitehead's ever-waiting palms.
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The Cowboys Defense Won't Allow A Single Touchdown From The Eagles Offense
The Eagles have scored four touchdowns in their last two games (at Washington and against Minnesota):
- 2 were kickoff returns.
- 1 was an interception return.
- 1 was a passing touchdown.
This team is predicated on its defense and special teams carrying it, the offense is the weakest link. That's a horrible recipe for success to have when you're facing the Dallas Cowboys who are going to dominate the time of possession.
The Philly Offense is going to be on the field sparingly, and when they are Rod Marinelli's group is going to make sure it's always in a failed attempt to score.
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Cole Beasley Will Have More Than Twice As Many Yards Than The Top Eagles Wide Receiver Does
There's a lot pomp and circumstance concerning the Dallas Cowboys Wide Receivers this week, and there should be. It's very likely that Dez Bryant will play for the first time since the last time the Cowboys were on Sunday Night Football, a Week 3 contest against the Chicago Bears.
No disrespect to Mr. Throw Up The X, but through six games the best receiver on the Dallas Cowboys is Cole Beasley. The Saucemaster has been on all kinds of fire this season, and as quarterback Dak Prescott's favorite weapon that is only going to continue in this game against the Eagles.
The Cowboys Defense is going to do a great job of limiting the Eagles playmakers throughout the contest, and Cole is going to do an even better job of doubling them up in the yardage department.
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Bonus Bold Prediction #1
Remember, if you want YOUR Bold Prediction featured here, tweet it at me! It’s that simple! Here are this week’s contributions, thanks to all those who shared!
Wentz throws picks and two TDs. Dak three TDs no turnover. Zeke over 150 yards again. Dez makes big catch. #boldprediction
— Chris (@ChrisD_Beast) October 24, 2016
Chris here thinks that Carson Wentz is going to double up on interceptions and touchdowns, eh? Well Wentz is coming off of a game where he threw two interceptions so I like that a lot. Ezekiel Elliott has crossed 130 yards in four consecutive games (an NFL record for a rookie) so I'll sign up for 150 yards as well, and there's no way Dez Bryant is leaving the stadium without a big catch on the night. Bam.
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Bonus Bold Prediction #2
@rjochoa want to get my bold prediction in before I forget: dez 3 tds.
— Chase Aguiar (@chaseaguiar) October 25, 2016
When the Cowboys visited Philadelphia in 2014… Dez Bryant exercised his will against the Eagles with a three touchdown performance. The win propelled Dallas over their division rivals and they never looked back.
Three touchdowns is a lot, and Dak Prescott has only thrown for as many in a single game one time through six total games. Dez is definitely going to find the endzone, a hat trick of times sure would be sweet. I know Triple X (xXx) would approve.
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Bonus Bold Prediction #3
BOLD PREDICTION: Zeke will get his first career receiving touchdown and first career 3 TD game! @rjochoa
— Chacho (@ChachoHL) October 27, 2016
It really is amazing that through all the incredible things Ezekiel Elliott has done that he hasn't caught a touchdown.
Zeke is far more likely to hit a hat trick of touchdowns than anyone else on the team, especially if he hauls one in as a reception. The gameplan on Sunday is going to be to ride Zeke and run him down Philadelphia's throat. If that happens into the endzone three times… so be it!
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Bonus Bold Prediction #4
— TravisFrederickBeard (@TFredsBeard) October 27, 2016
This. Would. Be. INCREDIBLE.
Close your eyes and imagine the situation here for a second. Dak Prescott rolls out, he hits Terrance Williams, Terrance runs towards the endzone, Terrance is hit, the ball is jarred loose, it's spinning on the ground waiting for someone, Travis Frederick lands on top of it and everything is beautiful.
This is one of my all-time favorite bold predictions.
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Bonus Bold Prediction #5
— Gage Eason (@gageeason131) October 27, 2016
Dak Prescott has yet to throw for 300 yards in a single game, but Joshua here must be hanging out with Chris because they're both anticipating Ezekiel Elliott surpassing 150 yards on the ground.
150 for Zeke seems fairly easy (how awesome is that?), but I have a hard time seeing 300 for Dak… especially if Zeke is indeed running wild. It's definitely conceivable that the defense could rally for three sacks, and boy oh boy three turnovers would be delicious.
[signoff author=”rjochoa” source=”rjoshow”]