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Dallas Cowboys Vs. Atlanta Falcons: 5 Bold Predictions

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Vs. Atlanta Falcons: 5 Bold Predictions

Jerry Jones got an early start on this week's Bold Predictions on Tuesday morning.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jerry Jones on @1053thefan: Brandon Weeden is "a thing of beauty throwing the football. Frankly, you won't see a more gifted passer.

Alright then!

Jerry believes in Brandon Weeden, and you know what? So do I.

I'm not saying that Brandon is about to throw for 400 yards against the Falcons on Sunday (no Cowboys quarterback has ever reached that mark against the Falcons FYI), but he's in a great position to manage the game and lead the Cowboys to victory.

According to almost everyone on earth, I checked, the Cowboys have the greatest offensive line in the NFL. They also have some solid playmakers outside of Dez Bryant (not diminishing #88 at all here) and a collection of running backs that will serve as nice dink-and-dunk options for "the most gifted passer" in the history of the world.

As bold as Jerry got, I can't let him outdo me. It's time to get BOLD! If you read my bold predictions from last week's win over the Eagles, then you know that I got two right. Philly never did stumble their way across the 50-yard line in the first half, and DeMarco Murray didn't top 50 yards on the ground (or 3 yards on the ground for that matter). Please remember that these are bold predictions. Vamonos! Let's dance the night away.

1. The Dallas Cowboys Defense Scores A Touchdown

Holy Sean Lee does the defense look good! These guys are absolutely swarming to the ball and whoever is carrying it. They've really impressed fans (and made DeMarco Murray sad) through two weeks of 2015.

We saw this unit generate 3 turnovers last week in Philadelphia. I have no doubt that they'll find a way to force another. These guys are focused and want to do their part to carry the team in Tony Romo's absence. Look for a tipped ball at some point that a Cowboy defender snatches and takes to the house!

2. Julio Jones Doesn't Top 50 Yards

I care about the environment so I'm going to recycle here. That's right, I'm calling for Julio to stay locked down on Sunday! Morris Claiborne has shocked us all this season by not giving up 28 touchdowns in two games. Not to mention that he kept Odell Beckham Jr. in check.

Dallas knows that Julio Jones is the wind beneath the Falcons' wings. They're going to devote the majority of attention to him and force someone else to beat them. Leonard Hankerson is going to be the Falcon receiver with the biggest day in the box score. Write that down right now (even though I just typed it).

3. Lance Dunbar Has 175 Total Yards

The backfield of the Dallas Cowboys has been discussed very rarely in all of 2015 (about as rarely as Deflategate). Joseph Randle seems to have emerged as the leading ball carrier, but Lance Dunbar has found a place of significance on this team.

He has been used in a lot of passing situations and was a huge contributor to the critical drive that Tony Romo mounted against the Giants two weeks ago. He's a shifty back that figures to be used heavily in the passing game, especially with Tony Romo out.

How have the Falcons fared against those type of running backs? In Week 1 the Falcons hosted the Philadelphia Eagles and Darren Sproles... who ran 5 times for 50 yards and caught 7 passes for 76 yards. In Week 2 Atlanta went to New York to play the Giants and Shane Vereen... who ran 6 times for 19 yards and caught 8 passes for 76 yards.

Put Lance Dunbar in your fantasy lineups now. You're going to want his jersey on Sunday afternoon.

4. Brandon Weeden Rushes For A Touchdown

The wheels of Brandon Weeden are going to be moving fast on Sunday!

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys And Atlanta Falcons: 5 Bold Predictions

Weeden has had a full week to prepare for the starting gig, cool. He's had a week to work with offensive geniuses Scott Linehan and Tony Romo (that's right). Romo is going to be coaching Weeden up through this game - wait and see.

Atlanta has also had a week to prepare for Weeden. They're banking on him checking everything down and are going to force him to beat them... and he's going to!

I can see it now... 2nd and Goal from the 4-yard line, Weeden takes the snap, he drops back, he makes his read, there is NOBODY in front of him, so he just skips to his lou into the end zone for a score.

5. Brandon Weeden Is Sacked 0 Times

I really liked what I saw from Dan Quinn's Falcon defense when they played the Eagles. It seemed like he was having a very strong influence on them already and that they're going to get after the quarterback this season.

I still believe that. Just not against the Cowboys.

Sports are awesome, man. What's really great about them are the things that you just can't explain with logic or reason.

The Cowboys are in rally cap mode. They have come together as a team for a common purpose, and that's a scary thing for opposing teams. These guys are so focused and so dedicated on this season, and getting Romo and Dez back, that they are going to play out of their minds on Sunday.

We're going to see one of the best games that we ever have from this offensive line. They know how much the team is depending on them, and they're going to deliver with enough time for Brandon to knit a sweater in the pocket. His jersey is staying clean all day long.


What bold things do you think will happen when the Cowboys play the Falcons? Let me know at rjochoa@insidethestar.com or Tweet @rjochoa.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Vs. Atlanta Falcons: 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!

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What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

For many years, Linebacker Sean Lee has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys defense. However, that's quickly changing. The young duo consisting of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken over the linebacker position by dominating the field from sideline to sideline with their explosive talent. As a rookie, Vander Esch filled in for Lee at the weak linebacker position when the veteran went down injured and never gave the job back.

Currently, uncertainty surrounds Sean Lee, who took a pay cut earlier in the year to stay with the franchise he's played for since the beginning of his professional career in 2010. What will his role be in a young fueled defense in the upcoming season?

As we've all been able to see throughout his career, Sean Lee is one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's not very often. His injury proneness led him to a position change years ago, when he was moved from the MIKE (middle linebacker) to the WILL (weak side linebacker) position. Now, those two spots are taken care of.

Where does this leaves Lee? The main question is whether or not he'll move to the strong side. Many question if this would be the correct call, given that he could be at even more risk of suffering yet another injury in a position that leads to more contact. The other option would be for him to be Vander Esch's backup at WILL.

Wish List for Dallas Cowboys 1st Preseason Game

Dallas Cowboys LBs Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee

Lately, it seems like the Cowboys will indeed move him to the strong-side. After all, it only makes sense to have your best three players on the field at the same time. On minicamp, the Cowboys have been playing the veteran at SAM, letting him get reps and grow comfortable in what seems to be his new job.

But even if Sean Lee starts lining up on the strong side, what can we expect from him next season? The way the NFL offenses operate now leads to teams sending their nickel packages to the field more often than not. For the Cowboys 4-3 defense, that means three cornerbacks, two linebackers. When that's the case, it will be Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith who we see out there, not Lee.

Damien Wilson was the team's "starter" on the strong side, and he only managed to get 286 snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. That represents 28% of the team's total snaps. Even if Sean Lee becomes the starting strong side linebacker, we likely won't be seeing him as much.

Even still, I'd expect Sean Lee's experience to play a big factor when the team needs Jaylon Smith or Leighton Vander Esch to catch their breath. Lee could jump in and play a few snaps at any LB spot and do a good job at it.

After all, we can't forget that despite his injuries, Lee is a remarkable player on defense. He should still be one of the smartest linebackers with extraordinary instincts. There's a reason why, before Vander Esch arrived to America's Team, the defense crumbled without him. Last year, despite losing the starting gig, Lee still had 118 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and an interception. The longtime veteran can still play.

It will be odd for Cowboys Nation to watch Lee on a completely new role. It's also hard to put the finger on what his production will look like at the end of the year. If there's one thing we know though, is that the veteran will work hard every practice trying to get the most playing time he can. We should be excited about the team's top three linebackers.

Tell me what you think about "What Are Realistic Expectations for Cowboys LB Sean Lee?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



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Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



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