After the big win against the Detroit Lions this week, the Dallas Cowboys improved their 2018 seasonal outlook by getting back to .500 and staying close to the division leading Washington Redskins (2-1). Not only did they improve their record, but our opinion of them improved some as well.
The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott finally got their passing game going “for he first time in forever.”
Sorry, when you have a two-year old daughter you get Frozen songs stuck in your head.
But seriously. How different do we feel about the Dallas Cowboys passing game heading into week five than we did heading into week four. They finally got some things clicking downfield. Dak Prescott showed some really good accuracy going 5/8 for 113 yards and a touchdown on passes greater than 10 yards down the field. Including a couple of bombs to Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott.
I know one week doesn’t erase all of the negative things that we saw over the last half of the 2017 season and the first three games of 2018, but it will go a long way toward proving that Dak Prescott is the quarterback we saw in 2016 and the first half of 2017.
We weren’t the only ones who thought the Dallas Cowboys looked better on Sunday. As we take a stroll through the national football media, let’s round up some weekly power rankings to see where the Dallas Cowboys made the jump after week 4.
USA Today: For the Win
Last Week: 21
This Week: 21
“I thought about putting the Cowboys higher on this list after an encouraging performance by the offense on Sunday. Then I remembered Sean Linehan is still in charge of getting this unit to play well so I’ll just leave them here.”
Steven Ruiz – For The Win: USA Today
Perhaps this week the mind-meld of Sean McVay and Scott Linehan called the plays and that is why the Dallas Cowboys were so effective on offense in their week four win over the Detroit Lions. I had to double check that Mr. Ruiz actually wrote “Sean Linehan” several times before I felt comfortable leaving it in the quote above.
Last Week: 24
This Week: 22
“The Cowboys evened the score on the season, putting them in a second-place tie with Philly and just a half-game behind the Redskins in the NFC East. Dak Prescott had much to do with Sunday’s outcome, making the accurate throws in small windows that Dallas fans have been waiting for — especially that nine route to Ezekiel Elliott on the game’s final drive. Elliott went off, rushing for 152 yards on just 25 attempts. At center stage, though, should be the offensive line, which gave Prescott plenty of time to make those throws, and paved the way for Elliott. Key for Dak moving forward: maintaining this level of performance against teams that can bring more heat than the Lions, and doing it consistently, week in and week out. The Cowboys are sure glad they don’t have to play Golden Tate every week. Good grief.”
Elliott Harrison – NFL.com
Ain’t that the truth. Golden Tate was a nightmare for the Dallas Cowboys secondary. Elliott hits the Dallas Cowboys’ proverbial nail on the head. If they can get performances out of Dak Prescott similar to what they received on Sunday, they’re going to be very difficult to beat.
Last Week: 22
This Week: 21
“Rookie snaps leader: OL Connor Williams, 230 snaps out of 230 (100 percent). The Cowboys’ five-man offensive line has not missed a snap in the first four games. Williams is one of seven rookies (all OL) who have not missed an offensive snap.”
Vince Masi – ESPN.com
This week, ESPN.com highlighted a rookie from each team in their power rankings by snap count. Obviously Connor Williams has played the most out of the rookies this season and has improved his play since the week one outing vs the Carolina Panthers.
The Washington Post
Last Week: 26
This Week: 18
“The Dallas offense showed some signs of being functional and, even with their early-season issues, the Cowboys are only a half-game out of first place in the NFC East.”
Mark Maske – The Washington Post
It was a huge game for the Dallas Cowboys to be able to keep pace with their division rivals. Just as important as the win were the losses by the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants putting the Dallas Cowboys in second place behind the idle 2-1 Washington Redskins.
Last Week: 23
This Week: 16
“They got back to running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott against the Lions. That’s something that they have to do more of coming up.”
Pete Prisco – CBS.com
I don’t think Pete was going out on a limb with this one. It’s evident since 2014 that the Dallas Cowboys want to run the football and if they’re going to have any success, they are going to have to continue to have success running the football. However, they never went away from the run game. Game script dictated that they pass more and they were effective in the run game when they ran it. The big difference in week four is the passing game showed signs of life for the first time since late in the 2017 season.
Pro Football Focus
This Week: 18
“The Cowboys needed some late-game heroics from Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to beat the Lions at home. Prescott has been less than impressive to start 2018, and while some of the blame can be attributed to his receivers, he still has the third lowest adjusted completion percentage among current starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Our model pegs their playoff chances at 32% with a 20% shot of winning the division.”
Eric Eager and Ben Brown – Pro Football Focus
So you’re saying there’s a chance? A 32% shot at making the playoffs sounds great after how we felt about this team following the loss in Seattle. The Dallas Cowboys are right in the thick of the NFC East Divisional race and can reassert themselves in the conference with a win against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
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With the win on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys certainly turned some heads as they rose in every power rankings save for one. But that guy doesn’t know the offensive coordinator’s first name, so we are going to give the team a pass for not climbing in his rankings. Who knows what he’s thinking.
Power rankings are completely subjective, but it’s good to get an idea of how the Dallas Cowboys are viewed by national observers from time-to-time, even if it appears the national observers aren’t observing very closely. Looking at you Pete.