As a young Dallas Cowboys fan, last season's loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round has been one of the most painful moments for me. And I'm sure a big portion of Cowboys Nation feels the same way.
This Sunday, the 'Boys host Aaron Rodgers and company for what promises to be one hell of a matchup.
We all want Dallas to beat Green Bay and avoid a dreaded 2-3 opening to the season. This is not a team that should have such a record. This team is better than that. Thus, we want them to win.
But we would also like to see a few other things. Because... well, we love football. Here is this week's Cowboys Wishlist!
Wish #1: David Irving Returns With 2 Sacks or More
To start the season, DeMarcus Lawrence has had an impressive performance with 7.5 sacks through four games. And this week, the pass rush for this team gets another weapon.
DL David Irving is back on the Cowboys after serving a four-game suspension that kept him out of the first quarter of the season.
Irving's 2016 breakout game came against the Packers last year, when the Cowboys traveled to Green Bay to pull an awesome upset on the road. Even though he sacked Rodgers just once, he forced a fumble and pressured the QB consistently.
After his long awaited return, my first wish of the week is seeing 95 sack Rodgers twice or more.
Wish #2: Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer Combine For 10 Receptions
When you root for the Dallas Cowboys, and when you just saw your team had the success it had a season ago, it's hard to realize they are sitting at 2-2. A lot of things have gone wrong for this football team and there's a lot to work at.
Earlier this week, I've written about the lack of involvement Cole Beasley has had to start the season, as well as how the Cowboys have misused rookie WR Ryan Switzer.
This team should go back to what made this offense work last year, and explore the possibility of having Switzer and Beasley on the field at the same time.
Wish #3: Byron Jones Has a Big-Time Interception
The dramatic playoff game between Dak Prescott's team and Aaron Rodger's team was decided with one play by the Packers quarterback. One can't say much, except it was a very good play.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
Awesome throw, awesome catch. And the Cowboys player beaten on that play was Byron Jones. Personally, I think Jones is a very good football player and that he is very important for this defense.
I wish Byron gets back at Rodgers by picking him off in a big moment of the game this Sunday. How epic would it be?
Wish #4: Ezekiel Elliott Runs For 150+ Yards
Ezekiel Elliott has faced the Packers twice in his NFL career. The first time, the Cowboys won after he ran for 157 yards. The second, Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs even though he ran for 125.
Zeke dominated Green Bay's defense and he might do it again. The Packers are 19th in the league on rushing defense.
I want the Cowboys to not only feed Ezekiel Elliott but to keep feeding him in the second half.
Give Dak Prescott the chance to make it work for the entire 60 minutes of playing time. But let the running back win this game for us. Let's go.
Wish #5: Xavier Woods Starts At Safety
The Dallas Cowboys defense will face a challenge this Sunday. Against Aaron Rodgers, there's always a challenge. And Jason Garrett's squad knows this.
This team's secondary features a group of young, talented defensive backs and they should all probably be starting. Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Xavier Woods are players who will be very important for this football team down the road.
Problem is, Jeff Heath is the starting safety for the Cowboys. I really believe they should change that up.
Xavier Woods has proven to be a better player than Heath, and if Woods starts this Sunday, Dallas will have a bigger chance to stop Aaron Rodgers.
If the Cowboys lose today, the season could get very ugly. Starting 2-3 with a schedule that doesn't seem to get any easier can get you in trouble. Dallas should be very careful.
However, the 'Boys are looking to go out there to give a statement. They will be out there showing us that all that there was... was a slow start. Nothing else. And that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are still for real.
That is, by far, my main wish for this week.
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 @InsideTheStarDC @CowboysNation 2 defensive scores, 6 sacks of Aaron Rodgers, Zeke gets 35 touches, Dez with 10 catches 200 yards #CowboysNation
Donny here knows what's up. The boldness is there, but this NFL season has been crazy. I'm 100% certain that if all of those wishes come true, the Cowboys will walk away victorious.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis
In a game we all hoped would clinch the NFC East division, the Dallas Cowboys instead got shut out by the Indianapolis Colts in one of their worst performances of the season. It was a deplorable performance in every aspect of the game and something we hope to never see again.
I knew sooner or later the Dallas Cowboys self-inflicted wounds would catch up to them, and that's exactly what happened against the Colts. They had far too many penalties and mental mistakes once again and it allowed Indianapolis to take over the game. The Cowboys beat themselves plain and simple.
Before I get on a rant about yesterday's game, I better stick to the topic at hand and share with you what I believe to be The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys. As always, please feel free to use the comment section located at the end of the article to share any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
In a game where just about everything went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys it sometimes a little difficult to find any kind of silver lining. That was the case this week after the Cowboys were shut out by the Indianapolis Colts. But, the good for me is that Dallas still holds their playoff fate in their hands, despite the embarrassing loss.
Any thoughts of sitting any of the starters for the Cowboys has now gone out the window. They absolutely have to play to win to close out the 2018 regular-season, because they failed to do what needed to be done against the Colts to secure the NFC East division title. Luckily though, it didn't close the door on their playoff aspirations.
With the Buccaneers and Giants left remaining on their schedule, the Cowboys will have to find some way to get back to their winning ways. Hopefully this was just the slap in the face they needed in order to put things in perspective. They simply can't afford another showing like they had against Indianapolis at any point moving forward.
I knew exactly what I was going to put in the section as soon as it happened during the game. The bad this week for the Dallas Cowboys against the Indianapolis Colts for me was without a doubt their banged up, patched together offensive line.
The Cowboys were forced to go with a patchwork offensive line for the majority of the game against the Colts yesterday afternoon after Xavier Su'a-flio left the game after an eye injury, forcing the Cowboys to go with their third string offensive guard Adam Redmond. Su'a-flio immediately had to leave the stadium to have his eye examined by an optometrist, suggesting that it was a pretty significant injury.
Unfortunately, another injury on the OL for the Cowboys leaves them severely thin depth wise at the most inopportune time. Hopefully a week of rest has done Zack Martin's injured knee some good and he will be able to return to the lineup as soon as possible. That would allow Connor Williams to move back to LG and hopefully solidify the offensive line once again.
Maybe I underestimated the Indianapolis Colts offense or maybe I just overrated the Dallas Cowboys defense, but something was clearly off yesterday afternoon on the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys. After being so good nearly all season, they were just plain ugly against Indianapolis.
The Cowboys defense didn't have an answer for the Colts offense, especially in the running game. Marlon Mack, a solid runner although not spectacular, completely gashed the Cowboys usually stout run defense. He ran for 139 rushing yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns, something that's been unheard of against Dallas' run D.
I was honestly completely shocked he had so much success. There were far too many missed tackles and blown assignments to my liking and I believe the coaching staff will make sure to focus on clearing that up moving forward. This team can't afford to let opposing offenses control the clock with their rushing attack. That's the Cowboys MO.
What's your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against Indianapolis?
IND 23, DAL 0: Cowboys Get Shut Out, Embarrassed by Colts
The Dallas Cowboys must think they've already won the NFC East, because they looked like a team with nothing to play for today. The result was an embarrassing 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since the 2003 season, which was Jason Witten's rookie year.
Dallas squandered a major time-of-possession advantage in the first half, finishing three drives with a blocked field goal, punt, and a failed 4th-and-1 play near the Colts' goal line. Indianapolis capitalized on their own drives and took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
The Colts got the ball back to start the third quarter and drove down for another touchdown. Down 17-0, Dallas responded with a weak drive and a punt. The game felt out of reach even then, with the Cowboys just looking flat from that point forward.
Ezekiel Elliott had 87 rushing yards 41 receiving for some empty production. Amari Cooper won't be winning any awards this week, held to just four catches for 32 yards.
Dak Prescott completed 62% of his passes for 206 yards. He was sacked three times and threw a late interception; an overthrown ball got tipped by the receiver and picked off on the team's final offensive series.
While the offense was especially bad today, the defense wasn't much better. Dallas surrendered 139 yards rushing yards and two touchdown to Colts RB Marlon Mack, who hadn't had a 100-yard game since October. Andrew Luck wasn't sacked and went virtually untouched the entire day.
The Cowboys could have taken the NFC East with a win, but they didn't come close. Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call with the postseason only a few weeks away.
- With the Redskins defeating the Jaguars today, Dallas will have to wait until next week to try to clinch the NFC East. The Cowboys needed losses by both Washington and Philadelphia if they didn't win themselves. The Eagles are visiting the Rams tonight.
- The Cowboys will get some softer competition to finish the year, hosting the Buccaneers next week and then going to play the Giants in Week 17.
- With the Bears defeating the Packers today and moving to 10-4, they will likely stay the #3 seed in the playoffs. That means Dallas, assuming they do win the NFC East, will almost certainly be hosting the 5th-seeded Seahawks in the first round.
- Jaylon Smith led the Cowboys with 11 tackles, but neither he or Leighton Vander Esch were making the big plays that we've grown accustomed to.
- Xavier Woods had the highlight play on defense, delivering a perfect hit to dislodge the ball from Colts TE Eric Ebron and stop a potential big gain.
- Blake Jarin and Dalton Schultz combined for seven catches for 68 yards; another week of increased TE production from what we've seen must of the year.
- Fullback Jamize Olawale doesn't get many opportunities on offense, and he may not get more after dropping an open touchdown on the team's second drive of the day.
Cowboys Can’t Finish Drives, Trailing Colts 10-0 at Halftime
The Cowboys have had no trouble moving the ball today, but they've failed to finish drives with points. Dallas is thus trailing the Indianapolis Colts 10-0 at halftime.
Dallas has had possession for over 19 minutes compared to just 10 for the Colts. But their three drives have ended with a blocked field goal, a failed 4th-and-1 play near the endzone, and a punt.
The offensive line continues to suffer from health issues. With Zack Martin already out and Connor Williams starting at right guard, Xavier Su'a-Filo left the game with an eye injury during the second quarter and will not return. Backup Adam Redmond is now playing.
The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win in any of their final three games. They could also clinch today if the Redskins and Eagles lose. Washington is trailing 10-3 in Jacksonville at halftime, and the Eagles are visiting the Rams tonight.
Hopefully, Dallas will start showing up on the scoreboard in the second half.
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