"Rockin' around the Christmas tree, let the Christmas spirit ring... later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some caroling."
This line from one of the more iconic Christmas songs of all-time has been the subject of some serious debate between my friends and I over the last week.
If you're rocking around the Christmas tree and letting the Christmas spirit ring, how is the first thing that you think of pumpkin pie?!
Pumpkin pie is certainly not the most Christmas-y dessert in existence - it's not even the most Christmas-y pie that's available!
Rock around that tree, let the spirit ring, and have some pecan pie! Or candy canes! Or egg nog! Or gingerbread cookies! I could re-write this song a thousand different ways that would be better than pumpkin pie.
I've actually re-written some Christmas songs before... in today's Bold Predictions. As Christmas is less than a week away it felt appropriate to bring some holiday cheer in as we get excited for today's contest against the New York Jets.
Sean Lee Will Have 10+ Tackles
"FeLee Navidad! Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha. FeLee Navidad! Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha. FeLee Navidad! Sean Lee is so awesome at football!"
Sean Lee wants to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his heart.
The General has had quite the season in 2015. Cowboys fans have always looked to him to always make big plays and be the leader of the defense, and he's rarely someone who disappoints.
Lee has totaled 9 tackles once this season and hit the 7 mark on three occasions. With Rolando McClain out for the game Sean is going to have to step up and contribute even more than we're accustomed to seeing him.
This is going to be a vintage Lee game where he is just running around like a mad man and finding himself near the football. 10 tackles will be his before the clock reads triple zero.
Cole Beasley Will Lead The Team In Receptions
"I really can't see, but baby it's Cole inside. I've got to throw it away, but baby it's Cole inside. This play has changed, but baby it's Cole inside."
The New York Jets bring to town one of the NFL's finest defensive units. They're stacked at all levels, but specifically at the defensive line and secondary.
Matt Cassel has shown time after time that he doesn't like throwing downfield and even when he does it, it's done with little regard to the route that his receiver is running.
The Jets are going to get some pressure on him which is going to cause him to panic a bit, and look for Cole Beasley on some clutch inside routes. Look for #11 to catch quite a few passes because for Cassel... it's bad out there.
Gavin Escobar Will Catch A Touchdown
"I... don't want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need. Let's start using the presents underneath our offensive tree. I just want him in the endzone. More than you could ever know. Make my wish come true... Gavin is the redzone target we should throw to!"
There's a guy who plays for the Dallas Cowboys named Gavin Escobar. Ever heard of him?
He's a 6'6" tight end who supposedly has the best hands on the team.
Yea so we've got this super big, super tall, and relatively fast weapon at our disposal. It would probably make a lot of sense to use him, right? Wrong!
The last time that Escobar saw some usage was when Tony Romo was under center for the Cowboys. Yes, it's sadly been that long. Gavin even caught a touchdown from Romo back during the Week 1 victory over the Giants.
I'm calling for a Christmas miracle here in that the Cowboys finally realize that using an extremely potent offensive weapon is good for them. Gavin's going to find the paint today.
Randy Gregory Will Get His First Career Sack
"Just look at Randy Gregory wearing that silver and blue. His first sack is coming and is long and overdue. Outside the tackles he is starting to get what to do. Come on its lovely weather for his first sack or two."
Byron Jones and La'el Collins have made the Dallas Cowboys Front Office look like some pretty smart guys over this season. Their eye for talent is certainly on point, and that includes Randy Gregory.
The former Cornhusker has only played in nine games thanks to some injuries, but he's starting to find his way out there. Pass rushers don't typically develop right away in the NFL, but there's plenty to be excited about concerning Randy.
The new 94 has come awfully close to lassoing his first career sack. There will be no more close as Randy is going to finish for the first time - with Ryan Fitzpatrick tagging along for the ride.
Dan Bailey's Field Goals Will Cover More Yards Than The Offense
"Santa Bailey... slip a football over the goalpost-shaped-tree, for me, I've been an awful good fan. Santa Bailey, take your time putting those kicks in flight."
Dan Bailey is currently the bread and butter of the Dallas Cowboys offense.
As silly as that may seem, we need to appreciate Dan and his greatness. He's only missed one kick this year... the guy is money 99/100 times.
Dan can kick from short, he can kick from far. Bailey can kick with his eyes closed or he could even kick with his hands tied behind his back. He has checked off just about every which way that a field goal can be made great.
Dan is going to do something truly spectacular during this game when he amasses more yardage via field goals than the Dallas Cowboys offense is able to via running and passing the ball. Dan Bailey for President!
Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración
Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.
Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.
Cambios de Coach
A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.
A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.
Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?
A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.
A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.
En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.
La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.
Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.
Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.
No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.
Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story
Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.
Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.
Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.
Here's why those people are wrong.
Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.
Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).
Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.
There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.
Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.
Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.
Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.
Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.
And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
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