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Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions 1

Listen to an audio version of this article on Bumpers!

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"Do you guys want to play a game on the court?" was the question the Spurs Employee asked my friend Aaron and I.

It was May 10th, 2016 and the two of us were at Game 5 of the Spurs/Thunder Series in the NBA Playoffs. San Antonio, my place of residence, was tied with Oklahoma City through four games. Tonight was pivotal.

As Aaron and I made way to our seats, an employee asked if we wanted to be on the court at the end of the first quarter for a mini game of sorts. Immediately after being asked, I turned to Aaron. It had been his idea to come to the game, this was his call. I told him I was with him 100% whatever he wanted to do.

"Uh... sure." Aaron said, "What all do we have to do?".

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions

The employee explained the rules of the mini game and when we would have to make our way down to the tunnel (you know, the one the Spurs enter/exit from). After literally five seconds of digesting the idea, Aaron changed his mind. He told the employee we were good, and he walked away.

After I chased Aaron down I asked, "What?! We were going to go on the court! What happened?"

Aaron said that he changed his mind and "didn't want to miss any of the game." While that's a stance I can get behind, it's worth noting that the Spurs would go on to lose this game and that it would ultimately be Tim Duncan's last one in San Antonio. We could have been on the court for this, Aaron!

What's the lesson here? Never take any situation for granted. Always go for it. Always be bold. The Dallas Cowboys have what seems like a non-important game ahead of them (the Steelers play in the AFC so it really does mean less). It cannot be taken for granted.

America's Team has, stop me if you've heard this before, a chance to make a statement with this game in Pittsburgh. Go destroy one of the NFL's best. Put the league on notice. Take what's yours. Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.

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4-11 Plays A Big Part In The Cowboys Offense

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions 2

Dak Prescott to Cole Beasley... lather, rinse, repeat.

4 to 11 is quite the combination these days in the NFL. The rookie quarterback has developed some great - this word has become exhausting lately - chemistry with the Saucemaster and it's showing all over the field.

Cole Beasley is the only pass-catcher that Dak Prescott has a completion percentage above 80% when targeting. This connection is a big reason why the Dallas Cowboys Offense is averaging a poetic 411.5 yards per game.

#DakAndCole are going to hook up a lot in this game. The 4-11 connection is going to be big as the Cowboys continue their offensive yardage average by the same number.

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Maurkice Pouncey Has A Bad Snap That Results In A Fumble Recovered By The Cowboys

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions 3

It's really weird to hear that NFL teams have problems at the center position, because the Cowboys have Travis Frederick and never have to worry about such things.

Maurkice Pouncey, the ball-snapper for the Steelers, is currently dealing with a right thumb injury. If this were any other player, save a wide receiver, it really wouldn't be a big deal. Just slap a cast on it and do your thing; however, this is quite a troubling issue for someone who touches the football on literally every play.

Maurkice's right thumb - his snapping hand - is not going to be 100%. At some point in this game it's going to ail him just a bit too much, and he's going to have a bad snap that the Cowboys fall on top of. Close your eyes and you can see it, too.

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Ezekiel Elliott Is Going To Rush For More Yards Than Any Running Back Has This Season Against The Steelers

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions 4

When the Miami Dolphins hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers a few weeks ago, Jay Ajayi carried the ball 25 times for 204 yards. That's pretty impressive.

The last time the Dallas Cowboys visited Pittsburgh was December 7th, 2008. At the time the largest performance the Steelers had surrendered on the ground was a 73-yard day by New England's Kevin Faulk. All of that changed when Cowboys rookie running back Tashard Choice dropped 88 on Pittsburgh.

Just like Tashard rushed for more yards against the Steelers than anyone had that season, Zeke is going to do the same... it's just going to be a wee bit more impressive.

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Super Bowls X, XIII, & XXX Will Be Referenced

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions 5

When the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers meet up it's arguably a clashing of the NFL's greatest two franchises. In 50 total, three Super Bowls have featured a matchup between the two clubs, that's incredible.

The pages of Pro Football History are filled to the brim with legendary Cowboys/Steelers tales, but obviously the Super Bowl memories carry the most pomp and circumstance. Dallas and Pittsburgh have indeed squared off three times with football's biggest prize on the line. The Cowboys lost Super Bowls X and XIII (I believe Super Bowl XIII to be the greatest game ever played) to the Steelers, but they secured victory in Super Bowl XXX.

Considering this is America's Game of the Week on FOX and that the color analyst on call, Troy Aikman, was the winning quarterback of Super Bowl XXX... you can bet your bottom dollar these iconic games will be mentioned.

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Sean Lee Will Have The Game-Defining Play On Defense

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions 6

Many people believe that linebackers are forged in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, PA. A lot of those people believe that they play for the Steelers, or Penn State. Either way... Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania in general knows how to breed a good linebacker.

Sean Lee was in fact forged in Pittsburgh... literally. "The General" was born in Pittsburgh and attended Penn State - he's a linebacker down to the bone.

It really is amazing how unnoticed Lee's 2016 campaign is going. The best defensive player on the Cowboys is putting together quite the season, but part of the reason people haven't totally caught on is because he hasn't made his trademark big plays... that changes on Sunday.

This is the first time in his NFL career that Sean Lee will play the Steelers in Pittsburgh. He's going to make it a memorable event.

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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!

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Monsieur Cook always strings together quite the nice set of bold predictions, and this one is no different. If you buy my Zeke bold prediction then Donny hit the nail right on the head here, plus it looks like we're going to have a party on defense.

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Bonus Bold Prediction #2

Mauricio Rodriguez ✭ on Twitter

Hey @rjochoa here's a fun Bold Prediction. Anthony Brown picks a pass intended for Antonio Brown... Somehow...

Mauricio is getting creative! I dig it!

Anthony Brown has played lights out as a rookie in the Dallas secondary. Considering that they're still adjusting to life without Morris Claiborne and Barry Church, Anthony will need to have a big day with the NFL's best receiver on the other side of things. Get that pick, Anthony! Huzzah!

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Bonus Bold Prediction #3

https://twitter.com/zeke_n_deztroy/status/796700927168233472

This is a big plate for Dez Bryant to step up to.

Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are far and away the Steelers most potent weapons. It would take a pretty huge effort from Dez Bryant to have to top both of them in these three statistical categories, and the Cowboys gameplan doesn't really lend itself to that.

The only way I see this unfolding is if the game turns into a shootout of sorts, in which case the Cowboys are likely in trouble. Yikes!

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Bonus Bold Prediction #4

Chase Aguiar on Twitter

@rjochoa bold prediction: cowboys hold AB under 100 yards AND Leveon bell as well. And dak throws a long TD at some point

It seems like Chase and Zeke-and-Deztroy are hanging out, doesn't it?!

Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell are going to have to show up if the Steelers have any chance. The Cowboys still have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher on the season, but this is arguably the best one that they've faced. I do believe Dez gets a big play at some point, so maybe that optimism will spill over!

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Bonus Bold Prediction #5

Tony Hanna on Twitter

A cowboy will score his first TD of the season (Swain, Lucky, Smith or Defense) @rjochoa

I really, really, really like this Bold Prediction from Tony.

Here's the thing... if Gavin Escobar can score a touchdown then anyone can. This really does feel like Jeff Swaim's week. Book it for the Swaim Train!


Follow the new Total NFL Podcast, The RJ Ochoa Show, presented by Slant Sports Audible

What are YOUR Bold Predictions for this week’s Cowboys/Steelers game? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys At Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Bold Predictions" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

Star Blog

How Will Safeties Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier Fit Kris Richard’s Secondary?

Sean Martin

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How Will Safeties Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier Fit Kris Richard's Secondary?
(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, David Irving's most recent four game suspension is the main story for a Dallas Cowboys team finished with OTAs and mini camp, left only to wait for training camp now. I've chosen to focus on the players that were on the field for the offseason program, that will continue to contend for starting jobs in Oxnard. Standing out from a lackluster group of safeties, for a Kris Richard led secondary that is off to a fast start, are safeties Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier.

Joined by Jeff Heath, Tyree Robinson, Jameill Showers, and Marqueston Huff, the Cowboys are lacking a dominant force at safety to pair with their young and talented group of cornerbacks. With the likes of Chidobe Awuzie, Byron Jones (the former safety), and Anthony Brown already improving under Richard, the Cowboys hope is that the same will apply to this group of safeties.

It's still entirely too early to know how the Cowboys want to deploy their safeties this season, but the only players that have shown their strengths and weaknesses over any period of time are Heath, Frazier, and Woods. This is sure to cause an uphill battle for the fringe players looking to push this trio of versatile safeties.

Jeff Heath has appeared in 77 games over five seasons with the Cowboys. Frazier and Woods combined? Just 24 games, with 16 of them making up Woods' rookie season a year ago. This makes finding a potential role for both players vital to the Cowboys.

How Will Safeties Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier Fit Kris Richard's Secondary? 2

Dallas Cowboys S Kavon Frazier (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Safety Kavon Frazier

Working mostly as a special teams player through two seasons in Dallas, Kavon Frazier has patiently awaited his opportunity to spark the Cowboys defense as a sixth round pick of 2016. Doing so in a memorable week 13 win over the Washington Redskins, Frazier earned an increased role as an enforcer on defense.

This is a player whose straight line burst and power is ideal for a ST starter, and when Frazier connects coming downhill on defense, the results can be catastrophic for an opposing offense.  Surely these are traits that will remind Kris Richard even slightly of his Super Bowl winning "Legion of Boom" defenses.

The distinction between Frazier being a part-time player or one maximizing his potential to start deep in the Cowboys secondary is an important one. Limited in coverage, Frazier may be at his best when conceding snaps to another safety on the Cowboys roster with more of an all-around game -- which the Cowboys can only hope Xavier Woods continues to be.

Safety Xavier Woods

Xavier Woods may not have the pure stopping power that Kavon Frazier possesses, but as a fellow sixth-round pick there is more than enough to like about what Woods brought to the Cowboys in 2017 out of Louisiana State. With 14 interceptions and six forced fumbles out of college, Woods slid in the draft enough for the Cowboys to trade up for his services.

The team wasn't cheated out of their investment in Woods last season, giving him the "Byron Jones treatment" as Woods lined up all over the field. It was Richard that came to Dallas and almost immediately moved Byron Jones down to cornerback, seeing a better use of his natural size and skills there.

Doing the same for Woods -- while keeping the natural FS free to react -- should be next up on Richard's offseason to-do list. This is a player with sideline to sideline range, enough athleticism to cover down in the slot, and the functional strength to compete in the box.

Amidst this uncertainty for both Frazier and Woods, early reports out of the Cowboys practices thus far have Jeff Heath specifically matching up against the tight end. This is an ideal role for Heath, and one that could compliment Woods very well.

How Will Safeties Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier Fit Kris Richard's Secondary? 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Anthony Brown, S Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath

Regardless of where Heath is on the field, Woods should be able to coexist with him as a similarly instinctive safety.

There is also the possibility that both Heath and Woods struggle to handle these "starting" responsibilities, leaving the Cowboys with very little trusted depth at safety. If there is an area Woods needs the most improvement in, it is the angles he takes against the run to consistently make stops, a weakness also potentially mitigated by the Cowboys improved linebacker play (investing the 19th overall pick at the position).

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Between Frazier and Woods, it feels safe to say the Cowboys must find a starter for a secondary that could still achieve great things in 2018. The Cowboys are entering this season with a loaded group of cornerbacks, all capable of making a safety's job relatively easy, especially while learning under Richard.

Such can be the hope for a raw player like Frazier and, in a sense, Xavier Woods. The second-year player in Woods is a great unknown for the Cowboys right now, as he'll remain that way for some time before next month's training camp.

With this, we'll have much more time to sit around and continue pondering what certain position groups will look like once meaningful Cowboys football graciously returns. I've written before that I'm paying close attention to this team's group of wide receivers, and you can add in the secondary players they'll be competing against too.

Tell us what you think about "How Will Safeties Xavier Woods, Kavon Frazier Fit Kris Richard’s Secondary?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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No, Cowboys Shouldn’t Cut David Irving

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys' Pass Rush: Who Will Be QB Sack Leader In 2017?
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports

For the past five years, Dallas Cowboys fans have gone through painful offseason stories regarding upcoming suspensions for defensive players. It doesn't matter how much talent the front office is able to find through the Draft, there's always one player that ruins what feels like a successful offseason. This time, for the second consecutive year, David Irving is the player to let Cowboys Nation down.

On Friday it was announced that Irving will serve a four-game suspension after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Understandably, a lot of Cowboys' fans want to see Irving released by the franchise that has preached the "Right Kind of Guy" philosophy while failing to establish such a thing. It's disappointing to see such a talented player limiting himself  by not "wanting it" bad enough and by making mistakes like this repeatedly.

However, even if it's a very frustrating situation, the Cowboys shouldn't cut David Irving. 

First of all, Irving's hit against the cap space is pretty minimum and nothing to be concerned at all. After being handed a second-round tender earlier in the year, #95 was set to earn $2.91M during the season. With a four-game suspension ahead of him, that number will be even lower.

We're talking about a guy who in eight games managed to get to the quarterback seven times in 2017 and consistently pressured opposing signal callers. Not to mention he's going to be just 25 years old when the season begins.

For the Cowboys, David Irving has the talent needed to average one sack per game. All of this for less than three million.

Irving has proven by now that he's not worth a long-term extension. That much is clear.  In order to get one of those, a player must prove his availability.

Talking specifically about 2018, though, I'm sure the Cowboys will be better off if they count on Irving for the final 12 games of the season. The team counts with pretty decent depth at the position with Maliek Collins, Datone Jones and Jihad Ward, but Irving has the potential to end the season with double-digit sacks.

The team gains nothing by releasing Irving. The team will not even be "sending a message" if they were to release #95. Maybe if the team had consistently sent this kind of "messages" over the years it would make sense.

However, we know this team sticks with their players and supports them in moments like this. They have done just that with Randy Gregory and it seems like it will pay off soon.

Whether we're mad at Irving's actions or not, the truth is letting him go wouldn't be wise at all. The Cowboys are not paying him big-time money, he's young and he'll be productive on the field when the defense needs him to.

We're talking about a football team that wants to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy. They can't be letting starting-caliber players go just like that. They need all the help they can get and even though his situation is far from ideal, David Irving will play a big role on defense.

Tell me what you think about "No, Cowboys Shouldn’t Cut David Irving" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Should Cowboys Add Another Safety Before Training Camp?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Add Another Safety Before Training Camp?

The Dallas Cowboys are extremely thin at the safety position. Fact. They haven't really brought in anyone to upgrade the position from last season. Fact. I just wanted to point that out because there's a lot of discussion as to whether or not the Cowboys need to add another safety before training camp.

I don't know where you stand on this debate or how I feel about it personally, but it's definitely something that needs to be discussed from the Cowboys end. It is the one position where there is a lot of unknown and inexperienced. If one of their current safeties were to go down with an injury and miss any time, the whole defense would suffer.

As things stand right now, Jeff Heath is the only one who will reprise his starting role on the backend of the Cowboys defense. Behind him are Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier, but knowing exactly how they fit in at this moment is completely up in the air.

Unfortunately, that's the top three safeties for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2018 season. What's even more bothersome is their fourth might be an undrafted rookie, Tyree Robinson. I don't know about you, but I find that very concerning. But, maybe Kris Richard, the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, knows something we don't.

Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys DB Coach Kris Richard

Fortunately, Kris Richard was recently asked if he had any concerns about the safety position on the "Doomsday Podcast" with Matt Mosley and Ed Werder. He said he had "none".

"I'm confident. I feel really good at this point in time and it's because the level of character of our guys," he said. "We're going to get better. That's the deal because our guys are young, focused, I think the hunger's there. I love the look in their eyes. I love how everyone is buying in, is focused and paying attention to detail. It makes a difference when guys care. It makes a difference when each one wants to teach one. We're trying to build something special. We want to be tribe-like. We want to be more than a team."

It certainly sounds like Kris Richard is excited about the Dallas Cowboys current safeties. Of course, he would never just come out and say that this group is terrible or he wished they'd add Earl Thomas another available safety. That's just not how things work. He's here to coach up the guys on the roster and not worry about personnel moves.

I don't know about you, but I know I would feel a lot better if they had one more experienced safety who could come in and compete for a starting job. Maybe someone like Tre Boston or Kenny Vaccaro, who are still unsigned. Maybe make that trade for Earl Thomas? That's a dream that just won't die.

Regardless, the Dallas Cowboys need to do something to address their depth at the safety position. I don't know what their plans are moving forward, but hopefully they have a contingency plan in place. It's just smart business.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys need to add a safety before training camp?



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