Believe it or not, there is a rumor going around Cowboys Nation that NFL officiating is purposely avoiding calling penalties against the Dallas Cowboys opponents these last few weeks. It's a little strange to think such a thing possible, but it's hard to argue against it after watching the Cowboys play the Atlanta Falcons Sunday afternoon.
It's a little bit difficult to believe there is some kind of conspiracy going on in the NFL. But then again, it wouldn't be the first time conspiracy theorist stirred things up. I mean, look no further than the entire Colin Kaepernick situation and the rumors of collusion between NFL owners to keep him out of the league. Anything's possible I guess and there certainly seems to be enough ammunition in the barrel to believe the NFL might have it out for the Dallas Cowboys.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones are obviously on the outs with one another. Jerry Jones has recently hired a lawyer in an attempt to block Goodell's new contract, but this fight started long before this.
The NFL has seemed to have it out for the Dallas Cowboys ever since they started the investigation into Ezekiel Elliott's domestic violence accusation. A lot of people believed it was a witchhunt from the get-go since Elliott was acquitted because of lack of evidence after a police investigation, but for some reason the NFL decided to conduct their own investigation anyway.
This of course all spilled over into the on-again/off-again suspension situation that Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in currently. Who knows how this will all work out in the end, but this was the ammunition I was speaking about that has fueled the conspiracy theory fire.
I personally don't know if there's a conspiracy between the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys. But, one thing is for sure. The NFL officiating has been absolutely terrible in the Cowboys games the last few weeks and it has definitely benefited their opponents. But, don't take my word for it. Let's take a look at a little bit of evidence from the Cowboys/Falcons game.
I want you to take a good long look at the picture above and try to explain to me why a photographer from the sideline can take a picture like this, but an NFL official standing a few yards away misses the facemask/hands to the face penalty? It doesn't really seem possible they can miss a blatant penalty like this, especially with the focus on protecting quarterbacks.
That of course was just one of many missed penalties that should've been called on the Atlanta Falcons. Let's take a look at a few more, because the conspiracy theory doesn't look that far off base.
One of these was called roughing the passer. Another one was not. https://t.co/MvtR8wDOKY
This is yet another example of the NFL officials missing an obvious penalty against the Atlanta Falcons. The officials could've called a roughing the passer penalty, a helmet to helmet hit, or even a launching penalty. They could've gone any direction they wanted here, but instead they failed to unleash the flag. Strange isn't it?
The missed penalties not called on the hits on Dak Prescott should have absolutely been seen by the officials, but the hit on Dez Bryant should have been seen as well and flagged.
This was somehow not a foul. Don't tell me your league cares about safety, @NFL https://t.co/eCkFRnyxa2
I don't know how this wasn't flagged by the back judge. This is the definition of a hit on a defenseless player and this wasn't the only time it happened in Sunday's game. The Falcons secondary was extremely aggressive and there were a few other instances where they completely laid out the Cowboys WRs like they did Bryant in the clip above.
I want to show you one more example that feeds into the conspiracy theory that the NFL officials have it out for the Dallas Cowboys.
HOW DO REFS MISS THIS https://t.co/IUzhYTdW3p
Dak Prescott wasn't the only Dallas Cowboys player who failed to get a facemask penalty recognized by the officiating Sunday afternoon. I honestly don't know how they didn't see Alfred Morris get his head and helmet twisted by a Falcons player pulling his facemask. It looks pretty obvious to me, but I wasn't wearing a zebra suit.
Now, I don't know if there is some kind of conspiracy going on or not, but it is blatantly obvious that the NFL officiating has been absolutely terrible when the Dallas Cowboys take the field. It's hard to argue there isn't some kind of conspiracy, but I'll let you decide for yourself.
I do know one thing though. It's going to be really tough for the Dallas Cowboys to win games when they have to beat their opponent and the officials week in and week out.
Do you think there is a conspiracy against the Dallas Cowboys?
Jaguars Waive Barry Church; Could Cowboys Bring Him Back?
Veteran safety Barry Church was released today by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Could he return home to the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent his first seven seasons?
Despite his leadership and consistency on defense, Dallas allowed Church to leave in free agency when Jacksonville gave him a lucrative deal. But if he clears waivers, could the Cowboys consider bring him back for depth and support during their likely playoff run?
Jane Slater of the NFL Network reported on this potential reunion:
Cowboys haven't reached out to S Barry Church but I'm told they are discussing the possibility of bringing him back to Dallas according to a source informed. Church, 30, was released by the Jags today and is familiar with the system having played there from 2010-2016.
The Cowboys have had solid play from their current starting safeties, Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. Neither is a star, but the duo has not been a liability during the team's current five-game winning streak.
Church was a similar player, reliable if never exceptional, during his time in Dallas. He could be a nice insurance policy for the playoffs if something happened to one of the starters.
Barry knows the system. He never played for Kris Richard, but he was with Rod Marinelli for three seasons before leaving in free agency.
According to reports out of Jacksonville, Church is being released because the team wants to go with younger, cheaper players now that their season is over. There is no known injury keeping Barry from playing.
Of course, Dallas would have to make room on the roster to pick Church up. They could third-year prospect Darian Thompson, who is the current fourth man at safety.
Barry Church must now go through the 24-hour waiver process. A team may claim him, including the Cowboys. We'll see what the future holds.
How the Dallas Cowboys Can Win the NFC East This Week
It's only Week 15, but the Dallas Cowboys could become the 2018 NFC East Champions this week through a couple of scenarios. I thought we'd take a moment today to break down how the Boys can win their division and assure their spot in the playoffs.
With three weeks left in the regular season, most of the divisional games have already been played. The only two left to play are the Week 17 finales; Cowboys at Giants and Eagles at Redskins.
Here are the current standings:
- Dallas Cowboys 8-5 (4-1 in division)
- Philadelphia Eagles 6-7 (3-2 in division)
- Washington Redskins 6-7 (2-3 in division)
- New York Giants 5-8 (1-4 in division)
The Giants have been scrappy lately, winning four of their last five, but it's too late for them to try to win the division. Even if the Cowboys were to fall to 8-8, the best New York could do is tie them in overall record. They would have also split their head-to-head series, negating that tiebreaker.
At that point, it would come down to the record within the division. New York would improve to 2-4 with a win over Dallas in Week 17, but the Cowboys would still be 4-2 against the NFC East. Dallas would still be the division champion.
So, that knocks out New York. Technically, the Eagles and Redskins are still alive. But their margin is about as slim as it gets.
Both Philadelphia and Washington need the Cowboys to lose their last three games, and then to also win out themselves, to steal the NFC East crown.
For the Redskins, it's about their record against division opponents. The best they can finish is 3-3, assuming they'd win their last game against the Eagles. With the head-to-head series against Dallas split this year, they would have to finish 9-7 overall and have the Cowboys drop to 8-8 to become NFC East Champions.
The Eagles also need to finish one game ahead of Dallas, but for a different reason. Philadelphia lost both their games with the Cowboys this year, so Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker.
So that really makes thing simple for Dallas; win just one of your last three games and you're the division champion.
Not only that, but even if Dallas were to fall this week against the Indianapolis Colts, they could still clinch the division with losses by the Eagles (@ Rams) and Redskins (@ Jaguars).
It would certainly behoove the Cowboys to get the division locked up now. They could then use the last two weeks of the season to get ready for the playoffs.
Dallas would have the freedom rest banged up players like Ezekiel Elliott and Zack Martin. It would also allow them to work in returning players such as Sean Lee and Tavon Austin and figure out their new rotations without pressure to win.
Beating the Colts on Sunday isn't a given; they're at home and desperate to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture. They are the toughest opponent Dallas has left until January.
But despite that, with the Eagles facing a juggernaut team and Washington trying to play football without a quarterback, there's a great chance that the Cowboys will be the NFC East Champions by Sunday night.
#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone
In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.
This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.
In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.
There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.
For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.
Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.
I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.
Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.
Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.
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