The Dallas Cowboys look to rebound from their worst loss since Dak Prescott became the starting quarterback for the team. The Cowboys are facing a team that has had some early struggles of their own in the Arizona Cardinals.
As the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys travel to play the 1-1 Arizona Cardinals, there are a lot of interesting things to note in this matchup. From the series, to the players, to what is happening this season, this matchup has some great story lines.
The Amount of wins the Cowboys have against the Cardinals in the Jason Garrett coaching era.
Both the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals come into week three with a single victory in the win column. Dallas' one win came over division rival New York Giants. The Arizona Cardinals struggled to eek out an overtime win to the injury-riddled Indianapolis Colts.
DeMarcus Lawrence's ranking in sacks through two games. After having one and half in the first and two in the second, he has a good chance to get two more in this game.
Carson Palmer also is tied for first in the league with Andy Dalton and DeShone Kizer; in interceptions.
In two of the four losses since 2008, the team's backup quarterback was the starter for those games. Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee combined for a loss in 2010 and Brandon Weeden spared us all to death while filling in for Tony Romo at the tail end of the 2014 season.
The number of times Patrick Peterson has been selected to the All-Pro's first team. He's another high-level to elite cornerback that Dez Bryant will be forced to contend with.
Only four players remain in the league from that 2006 Dallas Cowboys victory. Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald, Jason Witten and L.P. Ladouceur of the Dallas Cowboys, and Minnesota Vikings cornerback, Terrance Newman.
Sitting at fourth in the league, the Arizona Cardinals only allow 2.8 yards per rush. Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas offensive line are going to have some tough sledding again this week.
The amount of sacks by both teams through two games.
Carson Palmer has also been sacked five times through two games.
Five also represents the amount of touchdowns that each team has allowed in the 2017 season. Both have allowed four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown through the first two weeks of the season.
The average point differential during the four-game losing streak is 6. The smallest margin was a one point loss in 2010. The largest loss came in 2014.
The Cardinals rank sixth in the league in total plays run and 11th in yards/play, but struggle to turn their drives into points as they've only scored on 29% of their drives, good for 23rd in the league. Dallas' offense scores on 36% of its drives, good for 16th in the NFL. On the flip side, the Cardinals defense only allows 33% of its drives to end in points. Dallas is 9th in the league at 27%.
It's been 11 seasons since the Dallas Cowboys' last victory over the Arizona Cardinals in 2006. That game was Tony Romo's fourth start in the NFL and he played excellently. 20/29 for 308 yards, two touchdowns and a 126.8 passer rating. His two touchdowns went to Patrick Crayton--who led the team in receiving that day with 105 yards on five catches--and "That's my quarterback" Terrell Owens.
Despite his and the team's poor performance in week two, Ezekiel Elliott is 14th in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 162 total yards.
Arizona sits 16th in the league in points at 19.5 points per game. Unfortunately they give up more points per game than they've scored at 24 points per game allowed. That bodes well for a Dallas team looking to get back on track.
The number of catches for the NFL's league leader in receptions, Jason Witten. That's nine more than Rob Gronkowski, seven more than A.J. Green and Alshon Jeffrey, eight more than Amari Cooper, 12 more than Brandin Cooks, and 15 more than 2016 tight end TD leader, Cameron Brate.
This just in; Jason Witten's still really good at football.
Sorry, sir for saying anything about your age.
Where Dak Prescott sits in the NFL in passer rating through two weeks. Definitely not a great start, but if we know anything about Dak, it's that he is the king of the bounce back. Look for him to have a good game this week.
The combined seasons for two key players in the game this week: Jason Witten and Larry Fitzgerald.
Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten sit at numbers three and four on the all-time receptions list, respectively. They've combined for 2,240 receptions over their careers; an average of 77 receptions per season for the two of them.
Carson Palmer's completion percentage is not good and sits at 31st in the NFL.
The amount of rushing yards the Arizona Cardinals have managed through two games in 2017.
Palmer's passer rating, which is ahead of only four players with qualifying statistics: Jacoby Brissett, Josh McCown, DeShone Kizer, and Andy Dalton. Yuck!
The number of pass attempts through two games for Carson Palmer, who ranks fifth in the NFL in attempts and yards.
The number of attempts through the air for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. I think nobody would have expected this through two games. Prescott and Scott Linehan need to be better moving forward. More misdirection in the passing game and more delayed draw plays for the run game to try to soften things up.
More Game Notes
- Dak Prescott and Carson Palmer represent the two lowest passer ratings of any players in the top-10 in attempts.
- On defense, the Arizona Cardinals have allowed the third most amount of plays in 2017, but rank 9th in yards per play at 4.6. For reference, the Dallas Cowboys are 13th in y/p at 4.9.
- Looking for a week to get the passing game back on track, and this may be it. The Cardinals have allowed the 9th most passing yards in the NFL's first two weeks.
- The Cardinals have forced only two turnovers in their first two games.
- Dallas leads the all-time series with a record of 55-32-1.
- Despite his poor week two, Ezekiel Elliott sits 14th in the NFL
Two of the Greatest to Ever Play
This game will feature two players who have played every single game for more than 10 years with their respective teams. Larry Fitzgerald for the Arizona Cardinals and Jason Witten for the Dallas Cowboys.
When their careers are done, they will both find themselves enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten are two of the most respected players in the game. They have been pillars of the game and in their communities for more than a decade.
Whatever happens on Monday Night Football this week, take a moment to soak in these two legends being on the field with one another; perhaps for the last time.
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While Arizona hasn't played all that well, the numbers say this will be a tough matchup for your Dallas Cowboys. Arizona loves to throw the ball. Maybe even more so than Scott Linehan has these first two weeks. Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie's health will be important to watch throughout the week. Everybody will be needed in the secondary. EVERYBODY.
Be on the look out for our writer's predictions to come out later. Go Cowboys!!!
Should the Dallas Cowboys Trade for These 2 Oakland Raiders?
The trade deadline on October 30th will be here faster than we know. It's the final opportunity that NFL teams will have an opportunity to make a significant upgrade to their roster. And if you're a frequent reader of the Dallas Cowboys, then you know that the Dallas Cowboys could use some help, especially on the offensive side of the football.
On Thursday, Marcus Mosher from The Raiders Wire on USA Today posed a hypothetical trade involving the Dallas Cowboys. In his scenario, he has the Dallas Cowboys trading for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and thinks that Cooper could net the Raiders a top 75 draft selection.
Amari Cooper is a good wide receiver, but he's not a receiver I would trade a top-75 pick for. Cooper is a player that has a lot of talent, but has struggled with drops and inconsistency. Even now, with the Raiders he's having a hard time getting consistent opportunities.
Cooper's second on the team in targets, but third on the team in receptions behind a tight end and a running back. Cooper's also third on the team in yardage behind the two guys that I'd be way more interested in trading for; Tight End Jared Cook and Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson.
Yes, these guys are on the wrong side of 30, but they are guys that have been around a long time and can help your offense this season. Both would be upgrades at the position, even at their advanced NFL age.
Jared Cook - Tight End
You've heard the adage, "if you can't beat em, join em." Well, this is the reverse of that. "If he always beats you, acquire him."
That's what Oakland Raiders Tight End Jared Cook is to the Dallas Cowboys. Point of evidence.
Uploaded by Kafin Walker on 2017-01-16.
That remarkable catch by Jared Cook still haunts me and many of you in Cowboys Nation. It was a perfectly thrown ball by Aaron Rodgers and Cook made an incredible catch along the sidelines that led to Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.
Jared Cook's Oakland Raiders team isn't going anywhere this season. They're already four games back of the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC is looking deeper than it has in recent years. The Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts are the only teams in the NFC with less than two losses. That means there are 14 teams with better records than Jon Gruden's Oakland squad. This week the Raiders face a Seattle Seahawks team that beat the Dallas Cowboys and lost by only a couple of points to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.
Cook has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season and would be a veteran presence that the Dallas Cowboys could add if they felt like they could make a run at the playoffs.
At 31, Cook is averaging six catches and 78 yards receiving per game. He'd give the Dallas Cowboys someone they could run on post, corner, and seam routes to challenge safeties deep. Something that they're lacking from the tight end position at the moment. Cook is leading the Oakland Raiders in targets, receptions, yards, and is second on the Raiders in touchdowns in 2018.
No offense to Geoff Swaim, who's been surprisingly good this year, but Jared Cook makes this offense better. He allows you to make Rico Gathers your TE3, which would allow Rico to continue learning the game without the responsibility of being a primary target on certain pass plays.
Jared Cook is in the last season of his deal, so you wouldn't have to be committed to him beyond 2018. The perfect rental who could step in and play pretty quickly.
Jordy Nelson - Wide Receiver
I know this team is allergic to adding veteran players, especially veterans over 30, but Jordy Nelson is another name that they should take a long look at.
At 33 years of age, Nelson leads the Raiders in receiving touchdowns and is second on the team with 15.9 yards per reception. He's also third in receptions and second in yards.
His numbers -- 20 receptions for 317 yards and three touchdowns -- would lead the Dallas Cowboys in all receiving categories.
Nelson's still got some juice left and he's always been a good route runner with good hands.
Here are some highlights from Jordy's week three performance against the Miami Dolphins.
Check out Jordy Nelson highlights, racking up 173 yards receiving! The Oakland Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins during Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season. Subscribe to NFL: http://j.mp/1L0bVBu Check out our other channels: NFL Vault http://www.youtube.com/nflvault NFL Network http://www.youtube.com/nflnetwork NFL Films http://www.youtube.com/nflfilms NFL Rush http://www.youtube.com/nflrush #NFL #Raiders #JordyNelson
Nelson doesn't have any guarantees left on the deal he signed this past offseason so if you cut him in the 2019 offseason, you'd get zero dead money added to your 2019 salary cap, but would get $7.2 million in savings.
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Because of their age and the fact that they'd likely be one-year rentals, I don't imagine that you'd have to give up much more than a fifth round pick for either of these guys. And while I don't think the Dallas Cowboys would take a look at trading for either veteran, it's something they should do if they have aspirations of making the playoffs in 2018.
The Dallas Cowboys offense could use a boost.
What's the most you'd be willing to offer for either Jordy Nelson or Jared Cook?
Cowboys’ Issues Are Deeper Than The Division Race
Yesterday, Inside The Star staff writer Jess Haynie posed an interesting question: "could the wide-open NFC East help Jason Garrett's job security?"
The Dallas Cowboys started off their season a disappointing 2-3, but despite this rough start, they are right in the thick of things in the NFC East. The defending champion Eagles, who most expected to run away with the division, are now just 3-3. The lowly New York Giants are probably done at 1-5, and the Washington Redskins looked pathetic on Monday night, dropping to 2-2.
This division looks average at best, though I still somewhat expect the Eagles' talent to take over at some point and allow them to make a run. Still the Cowboys are alive, and if they can pull off the upset at home this Sunday, they may even be in first place come Monday morning.
So, Jess fairly asks, could this help Jason Garrett and the Cowboys' coaching staff keep their jobs? After all, it's rare you see an owner change coaches after remaining competitive within the division throughout most of the prior season. And given Jason Garrett's relationship with Jerry Jones, it might take an awful season to see any real change occur.
Here's the thing: this team could win the division at 9-7, and it would still be time for changes. Incompetence of others does not mean that you are competent, even if you are competent in comparison to those others.
The Cowboys have players openly questioning play calls, alluding to lack of trust in the quarterback, and pretty consistent drama swirling around the locker room. Yes, some of that is the media created Cowboy drama we always see, but there is disfunction within the organization without a doubt.
As a franchise the Cowboys need new blood in the building. To be honest, they could use a general manager separate from the Jones family name, but that is very unlikely to ever happen. So we focus on the coaching staff, specifically on the offensive side of the ball where the Cowboys have struggled the most.
Dallas is 29th in passing yards, 28th in passing yards per attempt, and tied for 26th in passing touchdowns through five weeks. Plainly put, they're horrible, and bringing back an offensive minded head coach and/or offensive coordinator who oversaw this terrible passing offense is counterproductive.
Regardless of where the Cowboys stand within this average division, they need to look themselves in the mirror this offseason. They need to be seriously comparing themselves to teams like the Rams (and not by lying to themselves like Jerry Jones did), not the 1-5 Giants.
The Cowboys should be striving for more than just being the best of a group of average football teams, and if that means cutting ties with Jason Garrett, then so be it.
Opposition Outlook: Versatile T.J. Yeldon Too Much for Dallas Cowboys?
If you haven't heard the news yet, then let me be the first to tell you. Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back Leonard Fournette has been ruled out of this week's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jaguars. Don't let his absence fool you, though, T.J. Yeldon is a back that can hurt the Cowboys in many ways.
T.J. Yeldon was the Jaguars second round pick out of Alabama in the 2015 NFL Draft and was expected to be a featured back for them. That never really materialized and the Jaguars then went out and selected Fournette early in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Yeldon is now more of a passing game back for the AFC South contender, but with Fournette out, he's getting an opportunity in a full-time role. He's not at all the same back as Fournette, as Yeldon has much more ability in the passing game.
Already in 2018, Yeldon's caught 22 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, which is more than any Dallas Cowboys wide receiver this season. T.J. Yeldon's averaging 8.8 yards per reception to go along with his 4.4 yards per carry on the season.
He's averaging 90 total yards per game on 16 touches and a touchdown a game. Even when Fournette was active in weeks one and four, Yeldon still received 17 and 21 touches in those games.
He's not at all an afterthought in the Jaguars offense and shouldn't be as the Dallas Cowboys defense prepares to stop them in week five.
Here's how he ranks among running backs with at least 24 targets:
- Tied for second in receiving touchdowns.
- 11th in receiving yards.
- 14th in reception percentage.
- Eighth in targets
- 10th in receptions
- Fourth in yards per reception
- Seventh in yards after catch
- Fifth in yards after catch per receptions.
- Sixth in receptions that led to a first down.
- Second in drops.
- He has the 10th highest quarterback rating among running backs when targeted.
T.J. Yeldon isn't the best back in the NFL, but as a dual purpose back, he's really good. He's 15th in the NFL in total yards and for two of those games he was sharing the load with a former top five pick.
The Dallas Cowboys have been really good against the run this season. They've allowed the 11th fewest rushing yards and their 3.4 yards per carry allowed ranks tied for second in the NFL. Where they've struggled is with running backs in the passing game.
Through five weeks this season, they've allowed running backs to go for 47.6 yards per game. In weeks one, two, and five, they allowed 66 yards receiving to Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Alfred Blue.
If there's an area where the Jaguars can exploit the Dallas Cowboys defense, it will be in targeting T.J. Yeldon in the passing game. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and (hopefully if he plays) Sean Lee will be enough to slow him down and make Blake Bortles take chances down the field.
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