The Dallas Cowboys started the 2019 season as hot as anyone winning each of their first three games. Dak Prescott had nearly 1,000 yards passing, All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott had the best three-game start of his career and the Cowboys had a two-game lead in the NFC East.
However, the next three games saw the Cowboys struggle mightily. They only scored 10 points against the New Orleans Saints, Aaron Jones had a career day with four rushing touchdowns for the Green Bay Packers and Sam Darnold of the New York Jets had his best day as a pro with 338 yards passing.
Sitting at 3-3 and in a first-place tie with the Eagles, the Cowboys hosted Philadelphia two weeks ago at AT&T Stadium. With NFC East supremacy on the line, the Cowboys had their best performance of the season in a dominant 37-10 victory.
With momentum on their side and the bye week to get guys rested and healthy, the Cowboys await the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Here are five players to watch as the Cowboys look to remain atop the NFC East.
Amari Cooper WR
Amari Cooper changed life for Dak Prescott and the entire Cowboys offense when he was acquired midseason in 2018. This season has been a continuation of that as the Cowboys entered Week 9 with the NFL's third-ranked passing offense due in large part to Cooper. He has 621 yards and five touchdowns in the first seven games of the season. Also, Prescott is completing an unreal 76% of his passes to Cooper.
He's made a living feasting on NFC East defenses since arriving in Dallas. He averages 108 yards per game, has scored seven touchdowns and more importantly, the Cowboys are 7-0 within the division with Cooper. The Giants entered Week 9 with the leagues 25th ranked passing defense so I expect Cooper to have a big game.
It's been a slow start to the 2019 season for the Cowboys top pass rusher. He only registered a half-sack in the first two weeks but seemed to gain momentum with a sack in back to back games against the Saints and Packers. Unfortunately, he's only had one sack in the last three games, and only has 3.5 for the season so far.
I feel Lawrence is due for a breakout performance that's worthy of the five-year 105 million dollar extension he signed back in April. He has more sacks vs the Giants than any team he's faced in his career. With rookie signal-caller Daniel Jones coming to town there's no doubt Lawrence will be licking his chops.
Ezekiel Elliott RB
The two-time NFL rushing champion looks to have found his groove in 2019. He's rushed for over 100 yards in back to back games and has three games of the sort in the last five. With 602 yards in the first seven weeks, he's still right in the mix for his third rushing title in four years.
Elliott has completely dominated the NFC East since the start of the 2017 season. The Cowboys are 10-1 in the last 11 games Elliott has played in within the division (3-0 vs the Giants) and has eight 100-yard games over that span. The Giants run defense is in the bottom third of the league so the Cowboys should feed Elliott early and often.
Michael Bennett DE/DT
The Cowboys added defensive line depth when they traded for former pro-bowler Michael Bennett late last month. Bennett is very familiar with the defensive scheme in Dallas having played under Kris Richard in Seattle during the "Legion of Boom" days.
Bennett has the ability to play on the outside as well as the interior. It will be interesting to see how much Bennett is used and how he's used against the Giants. Any combination of himself paired with either Maliek Collins or Antwaun Woods will be formidable. Also, putting Bennett on the edge opposite All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence or Robert Quinn is another possibility. There's plenty of options with a player who can play multiple positions and it will definitely be something to keep an eye on.
Randall Cobb WR
In March, the Cowboys added some veteran firepower to their receiving core by signing Randall Cobb. So far it's been a tough start for Cobb in Dallas as he hasn't had the impact everyone would have hoped. In the six games he's played in Cobb only has 19 receptions for 239 yards, with his only touchdown coming in Week 1.
Cobb finally playing to the level he's capable of will only add to an offense that came into Week 9 as the top unit of it's kind league-wide. The Giants pass defense leaves much to be desired so this is the perfect opportunity for Cobb to make the impact he and the Cowboys have been waiting for all season.
This is what you might call a "Trap Game" for the Cowboys. In all phases of the game, they are better than the Giants but games aren't played on stat sheets. These five players can help the Cowboys avoid a letdown and improve to 4-0 vs the NFC East in 2019.
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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