That was one long bye week. Not only did we have to survive to the aftermath of a heartbreaking loss to the Packers but Nolan Carroll was released, Stephen Paea decided to retire, NaVorro Bowman was set to visit the Cowboys before signing with the Raiders and the Ezekiel Elliott drama was on full effect.
But today, we get back to football! Actual Dallas Cowboys football!
The Dallas Cowboys are in San Francisco to play the 0-6 San Francisco 49ers. It's a bigger game than what it appears to be, as Jason Garrett and his team try to turn their season around.
Right now, Cowboys Nation is just anxious to see this team on the football field. It's been a difficult wait. We deserve a win. We want a win... and a few other things as well, if it's not too much to ask. Let's get into this week's Dallas Cowboys Wishlist!
Wish #1: Defensive Backs Get More Than 2 Interceptions
The 49ers will start C.J. Beathard for the first time in his career. The rookie out of Iowa will be looking to give his winless team the spark they need on offense. Brian Hoyer will be watching from the bench.
To be fair, I think playing Beathard is the right call for San Francisco. However, he is a rookie. And with a struggling defense, the Cowboys will try to boost their confidence welcoming him to the NFL.
I expect to see a lot from Jourdan Lewis and the rest of the secondary. This group is full of talented, young, athletic players and they just need to develop as the season continues. Playing against a rookie, getting two or more interceptions would be huge for these guys.
Wish #2: Linebackers Shine, Dominate in Rush Defense
Even though the lack of a pass rush has been haunting our dreams for years now, linebacker has arguably been the biggest problem for this defense. Currently, Jaylon Smith isn't 100% ready to go and with Hitchens and Lee suffering injuries at different times, he's been forced to be on the field as a starter.
However, 50 and 59 will be healthy today and I expect to see a lot more from them and a lot less of Jaylon.
I think the Cowboys' linebackers will have their best game of the season yet. Lee is the most important player on that defense and Anthony Hitchens is pretty underrated.
I wish they hold Carlos Hyde and the 49ers running game under 60 yards today and hope to see a few big plays from their part.
Wish #3: Ezekiel Elliott Is Fed, Runs for More Than 200 Yards
We are all tired of hearing about all of the legal talk surrounding Ezekiel Elliott. I can't imagine how it's like for him.Today, I wish he goes out there and forgets everything for a while and destroy the 49ers defense.
Zeke has been better than what many fans are giving him credit for this season. Sure, he probably has been distracted with all off his off-field stuff right now. Who can blame him? What is true though, is that he is yet to put on a 4-quarter long impressive performance.
With all of the Cowboys team looking to get their third win of the season and start making things right, I'm ready to see Zeke having his first 200 rushing yards game.
Wish #4: Dak Prescott Runs For an Heroic TD
Dak Prescott is still a great football player. Yes, even though a lot of people want to convince you otherwise. In fact, he hasn't regressed from his 2016 form. It has been a difficult season, but Dak isn't on a sophomore slump. I think it's time to stop confusing the fact that the Cowboys are having a bad season as a team with the idea of "Dak is not good anymore."
Having said that, my fourth wish of the week includes Dak running for an heroic touchdown.
This is the second Cowboys game of the season that has a feel of turning things around. The first one came against the Arizona Cardinals and when the team was struggling early in the game, Dak Prescott had his best moment of the season.
@DAK flips over #Cardinals defenders for #Cowboys touchdown! #Dak #Prescott #DallasCowboys #DALvsAZ https://t.co/eGuuSQGue0
It would be awesome if he has that kind of moment once again and gets this offense going.
Wish #5: Win Comfortably
Every week, it's all about winning. It doesn't matter if it's ugly or if it isn't, the objective is to just win.
Even still, my final wish this week is for this team to win comfortably. San Francisco is a win-less team. However, they have kept just about every game very close. With the Cowboys looking to make a statement, it would be nice to see a dominant performance.
This team should be much better. This team can be much better. The Dallas Cowboys still have a chance of getting to the playoffs. But before, we have to see what they are made of. I wish they win by at least 10 points.
Cowboys Nation Bonus Wishlist!
We’ll be doing this weekly here on Inside The Star, so if you have any wishes you’d like to see on this series, make sure to tweet them at me!
@PepoR99 I wish dak to get 2 pass td and a rushing td, zeeke 1 rushing td as well
Give me all of the touchdowns! This offense should put more than 20 points on the board today, so I think it's fair to say this wish is probably coming true.
Brett Maher’s 62-yard FG Gives Cowboys 6-0 Halftime Lead over Eagles
Brett Maher drilled a 62-yard field goal, a new Dallas Cowboys record, to give his team a 6-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.
A holding penalty by Tyron Smith seemingly took the team out of field goal range, but Maher bailed him out with the monster kick.
The lead could be bigger it not for some Dallas mistakes. Dak Prescott threw an interception on an otherwise strong drive, and Maher ended another drive with a missed field goal.
However, the Eagles have also struggled. A strip sack by Tyrone Crawford ended their last drive of the half. Randy Gregory also got a sack on Carson Wentz earlier in the game.
Overall, though, Philadelphia just isn't converting downs and being stifled by this exceptional Cowboys defense. They only have 70 total offensive yards at the half.
Ezekiel Elliott is putting together a big day, already with 72 rushing yards and another 20 yards receiving. Rod Smith also has 24 yards of offense, adding to the major production from the RB position.
Speaking of position production, the Cowboys tight ends have already accounted for six catches for 37 yards. Blake Jarwin has four of those receptions, which is a new career high.
The Eagles will get the ball to start the second half.
Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14
The Dallas Cowboys are certainly playing like a playoff team as of late, but aren't in the clear yet when it comes to holding off Sunday's opponent -- nor the Washington Redskins -- in the NFC East. At 7-5, the Eagles and Redskins sit a game behind the Cowboys with identical 6-6 records.
The Cowboys going 5-0 from their first win at the Eagles in week 10 to their third divisional game of this stretch would go a very long way in cementing the Cowboys mid-season turnaround. As has always seemingly been the case in this division though, the same is said of the defending Super Bowl champs.
With a loss, the Cowboys stand just over a 50% chance at the postseason. A win would add 42 percentage points to this figure, setting up the Cowboys favorably through a December schedule that features the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants.
NFL playoff leverage week 14
The only team with more at stake today is the visitors of AT&T Stadium. The Eagles gain 47 percentage points on their playoff hopes with a win, though even this marginally moves the needle over 50% for them. An Eagles loss all but ends their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.
Though the Redskins are reduced to their third quarterback in Mark Sanchez, their early kickoff at the 4-8 Giants provides hope that they'll remain in contention through the regular season. In a division that will be dictated by the moves made at the trade deadline, it sure feels like the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away however - with Dallas in prime position to lap the competition starting Sunday.
If the Cowboys and the Giants win today, Dallas would have to lose out, and the Redskins or Eagles would have to win out in order for the Cowboys to lose the division. In other words, Dallas and NYG winning today would mean one more victory and the Cowboys clinch the NFC East.
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has made a bigger difference than Dallas could have ever hoped for. With the Eagles secondary banged up again for their meeting with the Cowboys, a home team with sights set on playoff football could begin to fine tune their offense to match a defense that set the tone against Philadelphia last time out.
National pundits may be forecasting a "classic" late season collapse for the Cowboys, but fans know better than this. It was in fact early season losses that dug the hole the Cowboys are viciously fighting out of. Asking for this opportunity against the Eagles is as good as it gets for Jason Garrett's young team, once 3-5 after eight weeks that feel like ages ago.
So does any dominant stretch of football from the Eagles, though the Cowboys shouldn't be quick to find out just how much Philly wants to play spoiler.
Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary
It's rivalry weekend for the Dallas Cowboys as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. It will undoubtedly be a special game since the Eagles are practically playing to save their season this time around. Tables have turned for these two teams with now the Cowboys as home favorites for this fun matchup.
As always, here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist. Enjoy!
Wish #1: Get Jourdan Lewis Playing Time
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did a fantastic job versus the New Orleans Saints last week and I'm intrigued to see if the Cowboys will continue to find a job for him and get him on the field. Lewis had an interception and some other key plays in just eight snaps. Lewis has been an interesting narrative this year.
He's a good player and getting him more involved could result in good things for this team. We'll see if the Cowboys use him in this important divisional game.
Wish #2: Get The Early Big Lead, Rest Elliott
Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has done an amazing job for the Cowboys over the past four weeks. Both in the passing and running game, Zeke has been able to consistently move the chains as he's received a huge workload to carry the offense and control the time of possession. He currently leads the league in touches per game.
If the Cowboys are able to get a big lead early, I wish we get to see a lot of backup RB Rod Smith. As much as we all love to watch Zeke be fed, this time Cowboys Nation should appreciate seeing him on the sideline a bit more than usual. For that to happen, though, an early considerable lead is required.
Wish #3: Improve on Red Zone
So far, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to efficiently move the ball and get first downs. What they have struggled with though, is the red zone. Many times, we've seen the offense settle for three instead of getting seven.
This Saturday I argued why, if the Cowboys are able to improve on red zone, this could be a playoff caliber unit. This team shouldn't struggle as much in this area. With Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Amari Cooper lined up and a mobile QB, Scott Linehan's squad simply needs to do better.
Wish #4: Dak Prescott Gets 300 Yards
The Philadelphia Eagles have placed CB Jalen Mills on IR. With Ronald Darby out already, the Cowboys are about to face a very injured secondary. Philadelphia ranks 26th in passing defense. Dak Prescott's stats have greatly improved since week 7.
However, a big 300-yard performance has yet to occur. I wish he gets just that against the Eagles. For this, he'll certainly need help from his receivers, including Amari Cooper, who has been outstanding with a Star on his helmet.
What are your wishes for this week's matchup versus the Eagles?
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