If you ever wanted to learn to bet on sports then I would suggest you click on over to Sportsbook Review, but if you ever wanted a lesson in resolve then I would submit to you as evidence the Dallas Cowboys' 36-35 win over the Giants last week. It was a game that meant nothing to Dallas, after already clinching the division crown and waiting to see which wildcard entry they would host. But they came to play, not roll over, and mustered a victory that was steeped in pride rather than desperation.
Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett didn’t completely mail it in but let’s just say the package was nearly full as he held out Ezekiel Elliott and two of his top offensive linemen. He did, however, allow Dak Prescott to suit up and air it out against Big Blue in Week 17 and the results were nothing short of dazzling.
Prescott melted the New York secondary like butter in a blast furnace and when the dust settled, he had passed for 387 yards, four touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Let’s also not forget Tight End Blake Jarwin, who caught seven of the eight passes thrown to him for a season-high 119 yards and notched three touchdown receptions after failing to score all season.
Whether this victory translates into plenty of good vibrations in their game against the Seahawks this week is anyone’s guess. However, it would appear that having your starting quarterback buoyed by what was arguably his finest performance of the year, coupled with a refreshed offensive line and a superstar tailback who has had two weeks free of violent hits, is nothing but a big ball of good karma when the team needs it most.
Head Coach Jason Garrett had this to say after the game:
"That might be for people outside our building, talking about the meaningful or meaningless nature of a game. They're all very meaningful to us. It's opportunity for us to improve as a football team, to finish strong, to have some momentum going into the playoffs."
It’s unlikely Garrett would have shared the same sentiment had the Cowboys come out flat and lost to their divisional rival from New York. After all, if all the games were truly meaningful, then Elliott would have started and so too would have his entire starting offensive line.
But let’s give credit where credit is due. Garrett did start Prescott and more importantly, he let him finish what he started.
The coach didn’t get squeamish down the stretch and pull Prescott when the team needed him most. With just over a minute to play, Prescott took the snap from center, scanned the field on fourth and 15, and found Cole Beasley for a 32-yard touchdown strike. Garrett then ordered his charges back on the field to go for the win via a two-point conversion. Prescott, hot as a pistol, found Michael Gallup for a quick conversion and victory was imminent.
As the Seattle Seahawks enter the postseason, their Week 17 result may have been identical to Dallas’s in terms of the W on their record, but their execution in doing so against the worst team in football, the Arizona Cardinals, was hardly inspiring. For those that want to learn to bet on sports, the first rule is to learn what a point spread is, and in this case, Seattle won the game 27-24 but never even sniffed covering as 14 ½ point home favorites.
Many Cowboys fans will remember the 24-13 loss suffered early in the season to Seattle but this team has evolved since that time and the acquisition of Amari Cooper has given the Dallas offense far more swagger than it had before.
And finally, the Cowboys have won seven of their last eight and are 7-1 straight up at home this season.
Although it would be foolish of the Cowboys and its fans to overlook Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week, they do say Los Angeles is beautiful in mid-January. Here’s hoping we find out for ourselves after the week is done.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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