Finally! This is the Dallas Cowboys team we have been expecting to see all season. They were finally able to put four quarters of football together and did so by getting back to the blueprint that has worked for them in the past. This blueprint helped lead them to a dominant 40-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers and hopefully is just a glimpse of what we will see from them the rest of the season.
How much better does it feel to finally watch a Dallas Cowboys game and not be left with a bad taste in our mouths afterwards? I don't know about you, but that is exactly what I needed after sitting through the last two Cowboys games and the long bye week. It was just such a relief to see the Cowboys dominate for a change and not have to worry about them giving away the lead.
There is so many good things we can take away from this game, but there were also several things that need to be improved upon still. Let's dive into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, feel free to use the comment section at the end of the article to express your own thoughts and opinions on this topic.
There are obviously a number of different directions I could have gone this week for the good for the Dallas Cowboys against the San Francisco 49ers, but Ezekiel Elliott's dominance stood out the most for me. But, I could've easily went with Dak Prescott here or the fact that the Cowboys were finally able to maintain a lead for all four quarters. Ultimately though it was Elliott who won out.
Surprisingly enough, I think this was the first game of the entire 2017 season where Elliott actually looked like himself, or at least the player we all fell in love with last season. He completely dominated from the get-go and accumulated 147 rushing yards on the ground on 26 carries with two TDs, and added one reception for 70 yards and a touchdown. That's over 200 yards of offense just from Elliott and the 49ers had absolutely no answer for him the entire game.
For me, the bad for the Dallas Cowboys against the San Francisco 49ers was the injury to arguably their most consistent player, Dan Bailey. Bailey unfortunately had to exit the game relatively early due to what was later diagnosed as a pulled groin muscle. This of course is a huge blow to the Cowboys because he is such a consistent player and one of their best weapons.
Bailey was replaced by Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath during the game and surprisingly enough he was able to make 2 of 3 extra point attempts. He also wasn't too shabby on kickoffs either, but he isn't who you want in there if Dan Bailey has to miss an extended period of time.
There is no way of knowing as of yet how serious Bailey's injury is, but the Cowboys would be wise to work out some kickers as soon as possible. Hopefully Bailey's groin injury isn't too serious and he can get back on the field next week against the division rival Washington Redskins. But, the Cowboys definitely need a better contingency plan in place.
I actually downgraded the Dallas Cowboys defense from the bad category over the last two games, to the ugly category this week. The Cowboys defense continues to be the Achilles' heel of the organization. They were able to hold things together this week against a 49ers team who have been able to put points up the board against opponents this season though, so there's that.
The Dallas Cowboys continue to struggle in the run game and also give up big passing plays, but they have been able to get after the QB this season. They were able to sack QB C.J. Beathard five times and create two turnovers off of those sacks. Both DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith had strip sacks, and it was definitely a welcomed site for the Cowboys, especially considering the have been losing the turnover battle this season.
Hopefully this can be a confidence booster for the entire Cowboys defense in order to start putting everything together. They have found their pass rush this season, but a missed tackle here or missed assignment there is keeping them from finding any kind of consistency. I think they're on the verge of finding the consistency and that would definitely be a good thing.
What is your good, bad, and ugly for the Cowboys against the 49ers?
Cowboys Defense Getting Players Back at the Right Time
The Dallas Cowboys have played really well on defense this season allowing the seventh fewest rushing yards per game, the third lowest yards per carry, and the eighth fewest passing yards per game this season. They've done it for most of the 2018 season without Defensive Tackles Maliek Collins and David Irving, and Linebacker Sean Lee, who's missed the last three games with a strained hamstring.
This week the Cowboys play the NFC East leading Washington Redskins, making this a very important matchup for the Cowboys playoff chances. The Dallas Cowboys are 2-2 in the NFC in 2018, so a win against the Washington Redskins on Sunday carries much more importance. If the Cowboys have hopes of making the playoffs, they're going to have to improve their record against the NFC and they can on Sunday with their defense getting back to (nearly) full health.
Still awaiting word on Chidobe Awuzie's availability for this week.
Antwaun Woods, Tyrone Crawford, and David Ross have held up really well on the Cowboys defensive interior without Irving and Collins, which makes their return even more important. Better depth along the defensive interior is only going to help those guys have more productive snaps. Both Collins and Irving are explosive penetrating defensive tackles that give interior offensive lineman fits with their combination of strength and quickness. They play the run and pass with equal effectiveness and make life a lot easier for the linebackers and the defensive ends.
In their first game back in week six, Irving and Collins combined for two quarterback pressures, a quarterback hit (Irving) and a sack (Collins). Irving also drew a holding call on a punt.
Getting them back takes so much pressure off the defensive ends to generate pressure in passing situations. With better pressure from the interior of the defense, DeMarcus Lawrence and the other defensive ends will have better opportunities for sacks because opposing quarterbacks won't be able to step up in the pocket with as much ease as they have through the first five games of the season.
The linebacker duo of Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch have been one of the best position groups for the Cowboys this season. As good as they've been, Sean Lee is still one of the better linebackers in the NFL. Though he's leading the Cowboys in solo tackles with 43, Leighton Vander Esch probably sees a decrease in his snaps with Lee returning. They'll all play, however, and the Cowboys will look for ways to have them all on the field together.
Getting Lee, Irving, and Collins on the field at the same time with the defensive parts that the Cowboys already boast in Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Byron Jones is going to make playing offense nearly impossible.
How do you attack these guys?
The Washington Redskins rank in the bottom third in passing yards, yards per attempt, and are 18th in the NFL in passer rating. Washington ranks in the top half of the league in rushing yards per game, but rank 23rd in yards per attempt.
If there's an area where the Dallas Cowboys defense has been susceptible this season it's against the pass and having all of their best defensive players available for this week seven NFC East matchup is going to make all the difference. They'll be able to generate pressure with fewer blitzes because of the ability of Irving and Collins to generate pressure from the interior.
Though the Redskins have had some success on the ground in 2018, it's going to be tough sledding for Adrian Peterson and the Redskins run game. Lee, Vander Esch, and Smith all play the run extremely well and with the improved talent at defensive tackle, Peterson is going to find very few open lanes against the Dallas Cowboys defense.
The elite defense that we imagined this team could be may be right around the corner. Having everyone healthy and on the field together as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for the stretch run of the NFL season is huge.
Get ready NFL. Points are going to be really hard to come by.
#WASvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction
Despite each looking awful during their week five match up, both the Cowboys and Redskins bounced back in a huge way a week ago. Dallas now sits at 3-3, just a half game behind the 3-2 Washington Redskins for first place in the NFC East.
This is a massive week seven game between these two hated rivals, especially considering it appears the Philadelphia Eagles are starting to hit their stride.
The winner of this game will be in a very favorable spot heading into the second half of the 2018 season, as they each look to steal this division from the Eagles' hands.
Cowboys +1.5, O/U 41.5 Points.
Through the first five weeks of the season it seemed clear the Cowboys offense was broken, specifically through the air. And entering their sixth game on the year, this time against the league's best defense, it was hard to imagine them putting up many points at all.
Then football happened. And, somehow, the Cowboys dominated the Jaguars defense all game long, to the tune of a 40-7 victory.
The win helped the Cowboys keep pace in the NFC East, as both Washington and Philadelphia got their third wins of the season as well. Those three teams may be in a fight the entire season, and these division games are very meaningful.
A victory on Sunday would put the Cowboys in a fantastic spot moving forward.
Are the Redskins good? Honestly, it's hard to say. Before the season I predicted they'd be in second place in the East, and a possible wild card contender. Through their first five games I'd say that prediction looks solid, but they also got destroyed by the Saints just two weeks ago.
This whole division is wonky and that's probably how it will continue to be. Washington has talented players though, and could give the Cowboys offense some issues on Sunday.
Alex Smith and company looked very impressive in their week six victory over Carolina, but like the Cowboys this team has been up and down all season. It's impossible to peg how they'll play on a given Sunday.
- The Cowboys are 5-2 against the spread their last 7 games against Washington.
- The score total has gone over the last 5 Cowboys/Redskins games.
- Washington is 5-1 their last 6 games at home.
- The Cowboys haven't won a road game all season. (I just wanted to throw that in).
This is a really tough one to call.
Are the Cowboys going to score 40 points again? Probably not, but then again the Jags defense is much more talented than the Redskins. Are the Cowboys ever going to win a road game? I mean, eventually, but why should we believe this is the week?
I don't think anyone should bet on this game, and there's really no value in the line either way. But taking over 41.5 points might be your best bet, especially considering that both match ups between these teams would've hit that over last season.
I could see a 23-20 final score, which would hit the over of just 41.5 points.
Takeaway Tuesday: Cole Beasley is Your Interim WR1
Watching the Dallas Cowboys beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7 was undoubtedly fun for Cowboys Nation. There were not many positive expectations for the Cowboys heading into this game but both the defense and offense put on impressive performances at home in an attempt to remain serious contenders within the NFC East.
We learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday as they beat one of the top defenses in the NFL. Let's talk about in this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!
Cole Beasley Is Your Interim WR1
The Cowboys have yet to find their #1 wide receiver, but Cole Beasley is making a serious statement looking like the most reliable target in Dallas. Being 5'8 and a slot receiver doesn't really help Beasley's case to be the #1 guy, but he's making plays.
Last Sunday, he was the only wide receiver on the team with more than one catch. The other player with more than one reception was Geoff Swaim, who only got his hands on the ball twice. Beasley finished the day with nine receptions for 101 yards and two touchdown catches. The Cowboys need other WRs to step up but in the meantime, let Beasley put the sauce on opposing defenses. Hopefully he continues to hurt defenses like he did versus the Jaguars' feared secondary.
The team still needs a guy who can be a consistent threat on the outside, though. Third-round rookie Michael Gallup could develop into that, but he isn't there yet. We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, it's all Beasley.
Bright Future for the Defensive Line
Blake Bortles was sacked three times by the so-called "Hot Boyz" last weekend. To be quite honest, the future for this defensive line looks brightest than it ever has. The return of Maliek Collins and David Irving to the field were desperately needed for this defense to take the next step. Collins and Irving were somewhat limited, but their snap counts will surely increase as the season continues.
A lot of little details went into this sack from Maliek Collins. From his alignment pre-snap to his timing on the spin, it was a beautiful display of rushing the passer by @SavageSevv. https://t.co/CYcfLH6AfB
Randy Gregory also got limited snaps versus the Jaguars, but he was able to make an impact either way. He finished the day with one sack, two hits and one QB hurry. I can't wait until these guys' snaps increase. This should be a very scary unit for opposing quarterbacks.
Dak Prescott's Stats Don't Reflect His Performance
The Jaguars are the best defense this team has faced and yet it's been the offense's best performance. Dak Prescott's passing stats may not look great, but his play was. Even though he failed to cross the 200 yard mark on the air, he rushed for 82 yards and kept Jacksonville's defense honest. Dak has faced a lot of criticism this year and will likely continue to do so.
Even still, we've seen him ball out on various occasions now. Dak can play. He may not be an elite passer, in fact he's far from being that, but he can make this offense work if they play to his strengths.
We've heard players talk about "turning the corner" in Dallas. Cowboys Nation should hope that is the case. What's more frustrating than watching an offense being unable to move the chains and score touchdowns, is knowing they could do it with a better execution and play-calling. Thanks to players like Dak, Ezekiel Elliott and Cole Beasley, there's a silver lining for the Cowboys' offense.
Inconsistency is the Problem for Cowboys
Simply put, this is not the team we had witnessed in the first five weeks of the season. Even in the two prior wins this year, the Dallas Cowboys had not looked dominant at all. Specifically the offense. They hadn't faced a defense as tough as the Jaguars', but they were able to drop 40 on them. Now granted, they did it with the help of the defense, but still. We hadn't seen this version of the Cowboys.
Even with a 40-7 win over the Jaguars, it is tough to imagine Dallas will keep this up as the season continues. Hopefully, they do and I'm wrong about this. They need to be more consistent if they want to end up surprising the NFC East and walk away with the division title.
Although they got the big win, they still left points on the field and fail to execute for touchdowns in the second half. Even when the defense forced turnovers. In close games, this cost you wins in the NFL. The Cowboys can't afford to lose many more games, even in a weak division.
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