Believe it or not, we just have three more Sundays of Cowboys' regular season football. Whether we'll be able to see them past December or not remains unknown. But for now, it's all about the Oakland Raiders. Just like Dallas, the season in Oakland has been pretty disappointing.
Things have changed for the Cowboys, though. After being blown out three times, they've turned the tide this last couple of weeks. After beating the Redskins and the Giants in consecutive weeks, they'll try to win one more game without Ezekiel Elliott.
After that, things should be back to normal. In the meantime, here is this week's Cowboys Wishlist!
Wish #1: Dak Prescott Passes for 300+ Yards
After failing to pass the 200 passing yards mark for four consecutive weeks, Dak Prescott was back on track last week as he threw for a career high 332 yards versus the Giants. After Zeke was suspended, most of Cowboys Nation expected Dak to put the team on his back during 21's absence.
Despite under-performing through the first games of the suspension, at least Dak has a chance to turn things around. The first time Dak passed for more than 300 yards was versus the Steelers in what was one of the best games of the 2016 NFL season. One week later, he threw for another 301 yards against Baltimore.
I wish Dak Prescott is able to pull off something similar this year by passing for more than 300 yards in consecutive weeks. And what a better time to do it than the last time he'll miss Zeke on the field.
Wish #2: Rod Smith Has an Increased Role on Offense
Alfred Morris was the player the Cowboys' coaching staff decided to turn to with Elliott suspended, and he did a decent job. After all, he brought experience to the table. Some will argue he didn't do enough, some will say it was the right call to play Morris as this team starting RB.
Despite Morris' 127-yard game versus the Redskins, I still wanted Dallas to give Rod Smith more touches. That wasn't the case. I really wanted to see what he can bring to the table as a long-term backup for Elliott. He's a better pass catcher and a better blocker than Morris anyway.
I wonder if what looked to be a breakout game versus the Giants translates to more carries this Sunday night. I wish it does, and that Smith takes care of business again.
Wish #3: La'el Collins Dominates Khalil Mack
A lot of us, myself included, questioned the decision to move La'el Collins from left guard to right tackle in the offseason. We liked the idea of him taking the position in which he had played during the 2015 season. However, through 14 weeks, it looks like Dallas made the right call.
Collins has had himself a pretty good season and has done nothing but improve week after week. Not even his injury has slowed him down these last two weeks. When he lines up versus Raiders' Khalil Mack, he'll be facing his toughest test yet.
Collins has faced players like Von Miller, Joey Bosa, Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Pierre-Paul… will he be able to stop Mack? I definitely wish he does. Dak Prescott has been sacked enough.
Wish #4: Dez Bounces Back
Dez Bryant had an amazing 50-yard TD a week ago just before halftime. It came just at the right time, as the Cowboys tied the game 10-10 in New York. That's why we love Dez. He finds the way to be in epic moments frequently.
But that's not enough. This year, Dez has been struggling. There're many reasons why he's struggled, and both Dak and Dez are to blame. It seems that for every epic moment, we get a couple of bad plays like this one:
But with 88, you never know. He's a play-maker and can change the outcome of a game out of nowhere. The Raiders' pass defense hasn't been good this year, and Dez might find a way to throw up the X… maybe even two times. I wish Dez has a bounce back week in Oakland.
Wish #5: Hold The Raiders Under 20 Points
With the return of Sean Lee and a few shake-ups on the Cowboys' secondary, the defense has been looking pretty interesting and promising. They held Washington to 14 points and the Giants to 10. It'd be impressive to see them hold their opponents under 20 points three weeks in a row.
#Cowboys Run Defense Splits
With Sean Lee (7G): 3.85 YPC (10th-fewest)
Without Sean Lee (6G): 4.71 YPC (2nd-most)
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) December 15, 2017
The Raiders will be playing without Amari Cooper, but they still have Derek Carr. Despite having a bad year himself, he still can be a headache in a close game.
If the Cowboys are able to hold Oakland under 20 points, I'll be satisfied.