I don't know about you, but I took the opportunity during the bye week to look at the teams still remaining on the Dallas Cowboys schedule and what chance they have at possibly making a push for the playoffs. Taking into consideration how up-and-down the Cowboys have been this season, I think they still have a chance to sneak in the playoffs if a few things fall into place.
We still don't know what the Dallas Cowboys will look like after acquiring Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, so that makes it a little bit difficult to predict how they will perform moving forward. I decided to take the optimistic approach though and it really impacted my outlook on how the Cowboys could close out this season. Continue to read below to see my predictions of the remaining games on the Cowboys schedule.
Week 9: Cowboys Vs. Titans
Out of all the teams remaining on the Dallas Cowboys schedule this season, the matchup against the Tennessee Titans might just be the most winnable. Nothings guaranteed in the NFL, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys are the more talented team across the board.
I believe the defense will shut down the Marcus Mariota led offense and Dallas' offense will be able to have their way with the Titans defense. This will also be the first opportunity we get see how Wide Receiver Amari Cooper can help open up the offense and established himself in the passing game. This game could be the confidence booster the Cowboys need to make a playoff push.
Prediction: Cowboys, 27-10
Week 10: Cowboys @ Eagles
On paper, the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles are pretty evenly matched. Both teams are really talented, but inconsistencies in all phases of the game have kept them from playing up to that talent.
Since both teams are so evenly matched, I think this game will come down to the wire. With the way the Cowboys have played on the road this year and the fact the Eagles not only will have extra time to prepare coming off their bye week, but also home-field advantage, this game ends up favoring Philadelphia a little too much for my liking.
Prediction: Eagles, 23-20
Week 11: Cowboys @ Falcons
This matchup has revenge written all over it for the Dallas Cowboys. It was against the Atlanta Falcons when things started to fall apart for Dallas last year and I'm sure they will be looking for some payback this season. This time they will have Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott and that will make a huge difference.
Luckily, this isn't the same Falcons team they faced a year ago. They are still a talented offensive unit with plenty of playmakers who can cause some trouble for the Cowboys defense, but defensively they are decimated with injuries. I think the Cowboys defense can slow down the Matt Ryan led Falcons offense enough for QB Dak Prescott and his teammates to put more points on the board.
Prediction: Cowboys, 27-17
Week 12: Cowboys Vs. Redskins
The last time these two teams faced off against one another should be fresh in our minds still. It ended in a controversial snap infraction penalty and a missed field goal for the Dallas Cowboys, allowing the Redskins to narrowly escape with the 20-17 victory. You can bet Cowboys players are looking forward to a rematch and I think that will make a big difference.
After being on the road for two consecutive games, the Cowboys get to come home to play in front of their fans and prove to them why they should be sitting atop the NFC East division, not the Redskins. I think will see an entirely different Cowboys team this time around than we saw in the previous matchup. I don't think the Redskins defense can contain Ezekiel Elliott again and I believe he will absolutely dominate.
Prediction: Cowboys, 24-17
Week 13: Cowboys Vs. Saints
Watching the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints play on Thanksgiving day makes for some must watch TV. Playing a Thursday night game doesn't leave much time for preparation in a short week for either team, so whoever executes better will likely be the victor in this primetime matchup.
You may disagree with me, but I think these teams are pretty evenly matched. Having said that though, I think the Saints know how to get the best out of their talent and that will be the difference in this matchup. I think they probably have too much firepower on offense and are good enough defensively to keep the Cowboys from putting more points on the board. I don't believe it's going to be a blowout, but I also don't think Dallas' offense can outscore QB Drew Brees and his talented playmakers.
Prediction: Saints, 30-20
Week 14: Cowboys Vs. Eagles
Unlike in the first matchup between these two teams this season, the Dallas Cowboys are the ones with a little extra time to prepare and the ones with home-field advantage. Those two advantages were the reason I gave the win to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10, but this time the script flips in favor of the Cowboys.
Dallas plays like an entirely different team at home this season as opposed to when they're on the road. I think that will be the difference in this matchup. It will definitely be another slugfest, but I think the Cowboys will provide the knockout punch in the end. This game will have huge implications as to who wins the NFC East division and earns one of those coveted playoff spots.
Prediction: Cowboys, 17-13
Week 15: Cowboys @ Colts
There are very few games left on the Dallas Cowboys schedule this season in which I believe they should absolutely win, but this one against the Indianapolis Colts is one of them. Anything can happen of course, but even considering how poorly the Cowboys have played on the road in enemy territory, this should be an easy win.
QB Andrew Luck has been improving as the season progresses, but he still doesn't look quite like his old self. The Cowboys defense should absolutely dominate this game because Luck doesn't have a lot of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Dallas should control the game offensively as well. I don't believe the Colts defense can stop Ezekiel Elliott, which plays right into the hands of what the Cowboys want to do on offense.
Prediction: Cowboys, 27-13
Week 16: Cowboys Vs. Buccaneers
The matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has "trap game" written all over it. The Cowboys could be in playoff contention by this point in the season and could be a little overconfident when squaring off against a Buccaneers team they should probably be able to beat pretty easily. That overconfidence could get them in trouble though.
The Buccaneers are just talented enough to pull off the upset on Dallas' home turf. The Cowboys coaching staff has to express the importance of this game to the players to get them locked in and focused instead of looking ahead. If they do that, the Cowboys should absolutely dominate this game both offensively and defensively.
Prediction: Cowboys, 24-13
Week 17: Cowboys @ Giants
Can the Dallas Cowboys sweep the New York Giants two years in a row? I think they can, especially considering QB Eli Manning might be seeing his time as the starter coming to an end. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Giants have a new QB being evaluated these last few games of the season, which should only help the Cowboys close out the 2018 regular-season with a victory.
As of now, I don't know if the Cowboys will have secured a playoff spot or need this game to do so, but I don't see any reason why they shouldn'd be playing to win. Luckily, the Giants already look like a team who are ready to lay down and die, and that should only continue to get worse as the season progresses. This should be a relatively easy win and something to build off of heading into the playoffs if my predictions are correct.
Prediction: Cowboys, 21-13
I know I'm being a little optimistic with my predictions considering how up-and-down the Dallas Cowboys have been this year, but I do believe they have a chance to go 7-2 in their final nine games of the 2018 season. That means they finished the year 10-6 and have a real shot at not only winning the NFC East division, but securing a playoff spot. Wouldn't that be something after how frustrating things have been so far?
What do you think the Dallas Cowboys win/loss record will end up being?
Cowboys Have Had Quiet, Yet Successful, Free Agency
Yet another free agency without a big splash by the Dallas Cowboys. What a surprise. Despite entertaining Earl Thomas rumors for a long, long time, the Cowboys' front office has stuck with its philosophy of not overpaying free agents and building the team mainly through the NFL Draft. However, they've actually had some pretty good signings over the last few days that will really benefit the Cowboys when the season comes around.
They've done so with inexpensive free agents who will contribute at a high level on their respective positions. Sure, top free agent signings are fun. But many times, they end up backfiring to teams for spending so much money in one single player. At the end of the day, the Cowboys' way has gotten the team three NFC East Championships since 2014. Many factors come into play, but their team building philosophy can't be as bad as many claim it to be.
The most recent acquisition came in form of former Cincinnati Bengal and Minnesota Viking Safety George Iloka. The Cowboys had a desperate need at the defensive backfield and finally they've done something about it. On a heavy safety market, the Cowboys sat tight while watching the top free agents get top contracts around the league, including Landon Collins' record breaking deal with the Washington Redskins.
Now, they've gotten a guy who can play both safety positions. I'll be surprised if he doesn't take Jeff Heath's job. He's played as a free safety most of his career but being a good tackler, he should do a good job in the box. Iloka will also shine on special teams in Dallas.
So far, my favorite signing may be that of former Green Bay Packer, Randall Cobb. The Cowboys had an important need at the wide receiver position despite counting with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup leading the room. Cole Beasley is a tough guy to replace and although Cobb may not be a better slot receiver than him, he certainly has the experience and the skill set to be a starting slot WR. What's more, he'll only cost the Cowboys five million while Beasley got a four year deal with which he'll earn $17M over the first two years.
Cole Beasley will be missed, but the good thing is the front office did a pretty good job at filling the concerning hole on offense. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb are definitely not a bad starting trio to have.
Other under the radar moves will also help the Cowboys. Kerry Hyder may not be a well-known in the NFL but he'll surely contribute to this defensive line as a rotational player. Hyder had eight sacks in 2016 with the Detroit Lions before suffering an Achilles injury in 2017 and dealing with a scheme change last season. Hyder will surely be happy about being back to a 4-3 defense in Dallas.
Christian Covington was another overlooked signing. Covington will help on the interior of the defensive line and although he'll likely not be a starter, he'll be an important piece in the rotation for a very reasonable contract ( also a one-year deal).
For a football team that's constantly criticized for not being active in free agency, the Cowboys have done something at pretty much every position where they need help. Safety, defensive end, defensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end have all been addressed this offseason prior to the NFL Draft. This will give them great flexibility in April and could lead to a pretty good "best player available" strategy.
Now granted, there are still concerns regarding the young "to be extended" group of players. DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't reached an agreement with the Cowboys and will continue to postpone surgery until he does. If the front office doesn't strike a contract with the star pass rusher, it won't be possible to consider this offseason a good one no matter what happens. Dallas can't let him leave.
In the meantime though, they've had a pretty quiet yet successful March. And they're not done yet. Robert Quinn could end up wearing the Star if a trade with the Miami Dolphins does end up taking place. We'll see if the Cowboys continue to build on an already pretty good free agency.
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019
In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.
Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.
The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?
Let's take a look.
As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.
Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.
As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.
Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.
Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.
There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.
Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.
While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.
Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.
In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.
Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.
With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.
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