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Hold Down The East: 5 Bold Predictions For The Cowboys In New York On Sunday

RJ Ochoa

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Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant

Listen to an audio version of this article on Bumpers!

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At the culmination of every NFL week I adjust a set of mini helmets to reflect the standings as they are at that particular point in the season. This is the most recent rendition:

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

NFL standings through Week 13, according to my mini helmet display.

After Week 1 of the 2016 season the Dallas Cowboys were in 4th Place in the NFC East. When Week 2 was done the Cowboys had moved up to 3rd Place in the NFC East, where they stayed through Week 3. At the culmination of Week 4 the Cowboys managed to claw their way up to 2nd Place in the NFC East. Finally, after Week 5 of the 2016 NFL season… the Dallas Cowboys sat atop the NFC East.

Since then (Week 5 ended on Sunday, October 9th) America’s Team has never surrendered the title of Lead Dog in the NFC East race. When the Cowboys officially begin play against the Giants in New York this Sunday, that will mark 63 straight days of dominance in the NFL’s most storied division.

There’s another thing about this upcoming Cowboys game against the G-Men. While a victory would certainly extend their streak of sitting atop the NFC East, it would add permanence to it. A win in New York on Sunday wins the NFC East for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys have been holding down the NFC East for basically the entire season. It’s time to write that message in stone. We hold down the NFC East, and we are going to prove it. Welcome to my 5 Bold Predictions. Let’s roll.

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Anthony Hitchens Gets The Interception That Wasn’t This Time Around

Anthony Hitchens

Last week in Minnesota the Dallas Cowboys saw a star-studded effort by one of their up-and-coming young linebackers – Anthony Hitchens. “Hitch”, as he’s known, had what would have been one of the finer interceptions on the season if not for a penalty committed by his teammate, Orlando Scandrick.

Later in the ballgame Hitch almost secured another interception… it was just seemingly his night out in Minnesota. We saw Anthony Hitchens kind of catch lightning in a bottle late down the stretch of the 2014 season… this is simply the time that he has a proclivity to shine for.

Get that interception, Hitch. You deserve it.

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Jason Garrett Wins Another Challenge

Cowboys Headlines - Hold Down The East: 5 Bold Predictions For Cowboys In New York On Sunday 2

Even though the Dallas Cowboys entered last week’s game in Minnesota with 10 wins to their name, Jason Garrett managed to do something in the game that he hadn’t all season.

With the Cowboys rocking color rush uniforms, Jason Garrett threw a red challenge flag… and won! For the first time across the entire 2016 season, Jason Garrett’s red handkerchief came in handy. Oh, what a sweet season.

The nature of the NFL in 2016 is that weird calls are made all the time – by the way, how sad is that? – and coaches continually have to challenge so many things in order to make sure the correct call is made.

Warm up the arm, Jason Garrett. You’re going to be tossing a red flag on Sunday Night.

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Jason Witten Has 10+ Catches On The Night

Cowboys Headlines - Hold Down The East: 5 Bold Predictions For Cowboys In New York On Sunday 3

The only thing the Cowboys left in Minnesota last week was an impressive streak of Jason Witten’s, 130 consecutive game with a catch. At the end of the day stuff like this is significantly less important than a win, but it still stings just a bit.

A lot of comparisons have been made about the 2016 Cowboys to the 2007 Cowboys. These are the only teams in franchise history to go 11-1 through their first 12 games, and they both dominated teams in epic fashion.

On December 9th, 2007 – nine years ago to the date, on the day this being published – the Cowboys traveled to Detroit for a game against the Lions. In the same timeless effort he exhibits almost a decade later, Jason Witten was dominant. He had 15 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown as the Dallas Cowboys clinched the NFC East.

Big Wit is going over 10 catches. It’s destiny.

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Dez Bryant Channels This Night From 2014 With A 3 TD Performance

Cowboys Headlines - Hold Down The East: 5 Bold Predictions For Cowboys In New York On Sunday 1

Obviously the last time the Dallas Cowboys had this level of success was the 2014 season. That year, seven days after Thanksgiving, they traveled to face an NFC North team (the Chicago Bears) and picked up an important victory.

Those Cowboys had 10 days of rest following Chicago and used it as momentum before a big-time divisional showdown in Philadelphia against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. There was a lot of trash-talking going on before that game, but the real trash on the field was the quality of play the Eagles defensive backs exhibited. Dez Bryant caught 6 passes for 114 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The 2014 Cowboys would end up clinching the division a week later, but these Cowboys have the chance to do it in the primetime divisional showdown with the Giants. It is, for all intents and purposes, the same set of circumstances for them. They traveled to face an NFC North team (the Minnesota Vikings) seven days after Thanksgiving, and they are now on the road against an NFC East team with 10 days of rest on Sunday Night Football.

Just like he did in this game two years ago, Dez Bryant is going to hit the hat trick of touchdowns on the night. Bam, bam, bam.

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The Dallas Cowboys Win By A Poetic Score Of 37-34

Cowboys Headlines - Hold Down The East: 5 Bold Predictions For Cowboys In New York On Sunday

The Cowboys and Giants have squared off many a time in their long history, but they have only ever met once on December 11th (like they will on Sunday). This was December 11th, 2011, and it was the famous JPP-block game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

We find ourselves with another December 11th Sunday Night Football game upon us, but unlike five years ago Jason Pierre-Paul won’t be on the field as he had surgery tending to a groin injury.

That 2011 Giants victory in Dallas propelled New York to a run that would culminate in a Super Bowl XLVI Championship. It also propelled the Cowboys to a road that saw them finishing 8-8 on the season, a feat they’d match each of the next two seasons.

This is poetry at its finest, except this time it rhymes with Dallas. Sometimes fate circles back around, seemingly giving us another chance at what we once almost had. Here is our chance. Here is our December 11th. Let’s win it exactly like we lost it five years ago, by a score of 37-34. Huzzah.

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Bonus Bold Predictions

Remember, if you want YOUR Bold Prediction featured here, tweet it at me! It’s that simple! Here are this week’s contributions, thanks to all those who shared!

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brock on Twitter

@rjochoa early #boldprediction first game, cowboys won turnover battle and lost game, this week we lose turnover battle and win the game

Upon Further Review on Twitter

We’ll talk plenty of #DALvsNYG this week, so our bold prediction for @rjochoa is that @ninjafast22 has a special teams TD! @CowboysNation

buzz phelps on Twitter

@rjchoppy @rjochoa Bold prediction. Anthony Brown shuts down Odell. 2 INTS

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Chase Aguiar on Twitter

@rjochoa ok so for bold predictions: Eli manning is going to throw a pick to give the Cowboys the divison and the win! As well as

Tre Pruden on Twitter

@rjochoa bold prediction vs the G-men Sunday RJ, Dak throws for 320, 4 td’s, Dez 120 yards 2 td’s,Zeke 140 yards 1td,Beasley 100 yards n 2td

Denz Bri on Twitter

@rjochoa I got a prediction Butler and Beasley will get a td.. and Irving will get a force fumble

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Josh Russell on Twitter

@rjochoa Bold prediction is that @nino9brown picks off Eli twice, one being a pick 6. And holds his matchup to less than 30 yards.

El Sancho on Twitter

@rjochoa …2 int’s from our defense and both Dak and Zeke have rushing TD’s.


Follow the new Total NFL Podcast, The RJ Ochoa Show, presented by Slant Sports Audible

What are YOUR Bold Predictions for this Sunday’s Cowboys/Giants game? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

Tell us what you think about “Hold Down The East: 5 Bold Predictions For The Cowboys In New York On Sunday” in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

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I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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2 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    Real shame if that Pats helmet fell off the table… ;^)

  • Russ_Te

    Witten had 9 catches in Week 1, so I think the Giants are working on
    getting LOS chucks on him and trying to limit his damage. Dez on the
    other hand only had 1 catch in the 1st game. The Giants had not faced
    Elliott yet & probably did not load the box much. This game they may believe they need to walk the SS up on early downs. So yep, Dez could have a
    big night.

    And if they focus on Witten it probably lightens up the coverage on Beasley. The Giants are without JPP and will need to blitz more. Pickups on those and some moving pockets might yield some big plays.

    Remember the Giants OL is not very good & does not create a big ground game. If a Dallas DL’er like Crawford, Lawrence or Collins can tee off and come up with a big night, it could be the biggest factor in a division-clinching W.

Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Pursue Veteran Backup at Quarterback?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys en Español: Cooper Rush
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys only have two quarterbacks under contract right now, starter Dak Prescott and backup Cooper Rush. With only three years of combined experience between them, one could argue that a veteran presence would be useful. Should Dallas make a veteran QB a free-agent priority in the 2018 offseason?

Of course, there’s plenty of other QB experience on the Cowboys staff. Head Coach Jason Garrett played professionally from 1989-2004, and started his coaching career with quarterbacks.

Scott Linehan has been coaching offense with an emphasis on the passing game for 30 years.

Kellen Moore, who is taking over for the departed Wade Wilson as quarterbacks coach, has played very recently and will bring a fresh perspective.

However, losing Wilson’s experience from the room, and the lack of any veteran player at QB, shouldn’t be dismissed.

Dak Prescott has said veteran Mark Sanchez — who was with Dallas in 2016 — was a major help during his whirlwind rookie season. Tony Romo enjoyed veteran advice from guys like Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Kyle Orton throughout his playing career.

This isn’t to say Dallas would want to bring in a veteran to knock Cooper Rush down the depth chart. After a surprising preseason, Rush took the backup job from Kellen Moore and certainly has intriguing upside.

If the Cowboys were to add a veteran, that player would have to come in with the understanding he’s competing with Cooper and may not be guaranteed a job.

The good news is that it’ll be a buyer’s market for veteran quarterbacks this offseason.

Guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Matt Moore could all be available. Even a player with more pedigree, such as Sam Bradford, may have trouble finding starting work with many jobs taken among the NFL’s 32 teams.

Dallas could even consider bringing back Mark Sanchez, given his previous relationship with Dak Prescott. He only had a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

Given Prescott’s seeming durability, Dallas will likely only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2018 and for years to come. Because of that, they may be content to focus on Dak and Cooper Rush, and just get through the offseason with training camp bodies.

However, the case can certainly be made for adding another veteran player with the desire to teach to help these young quarterbacks develop. Prescott was not the same guy in 2017 that we saw as a rookie, and perhaps the absence of guys like Sanchez and Tony on the sideline had something to do with that.

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Dallas Cowboys

Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal is a Good Hire for Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Why WR Coach Sanjay Lal Is A Good Hire For Cowboys

Yesterday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys will hire Sanjay Lal to be their new wide receivers coach. Lal spent 2017 with the Indianapolis Colts in the same position, but has made multiple stops around the NFL prior to joining the Cowboys staff.

Most recently and arguably most notably, Sanjay Lal was the receivers coach for both the New York Jets (2012-2014) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-2016). This means he coached on Rex Ryan’s staff for two different teams, with two very similar offensive philosophies.

Run the football.

As seen in the video below, Sanjay Lal has experience working as the wide outs coach for an offense with a run-first philosophy. He even says himself that their offense in New York was “ground and pound,” but notes that “without a pass game there’s no pound.”

Cowboys fans became all too familiar with the truth behind that statement during the 2017 season, as even solid efforts in the run game were rendered meaningless by their lack of explosion through the air.

Jets Nation Inside Camp: Sanjay Lal Mic’d Up

Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is mic’d up during training camp, and also discusses trying to play pro football before becoming a coach in the NFL.

A lot has been made of Sanjay Lal’s lack of 1,000-yard receivers during his time as a coach. The offensive philosophies of the teams which he coached for, however, show why this criticism is flimsy.

It’s quite possible the Cowboys will once again be without a 1,000 yard pass catcher this season, but if Ezekiel Elliott and the run game are clicking, and Dak Prescott is spreading the ball to different targets, this stat won’t mean a thing.

Lal was also the coach in Buffalo when Sammy Watkins had the best years of his career, including a 1,000-yard season.

During that stint he coached Robert Woods to productive seasons as well. Now Woods is a dangerous target for the Los Angeles Rams after being coached by Lal for multiple seasons.

These were also the same years that quarterback Tyrod Taylor was at his best.

While in New York, with the Jets, Lal’s most productive receiver was Jeremy Kerley, who finished with 827 yards in 2012 and 523 in 2013. What’s important to note here is that Kerley played as a slot receiver for much of his time as a Jet.

The Cowboys lacked any type of production from the slot in 2017, but maybe Lal can change that by getting the best out of Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer, as he did with Kerley.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Know that some believe he had a real shot to be an OC in this league one day. https://t.co/1s21w2jZGR

All indications from those “in the know” suggest Sanjay Lal is on his way to becoming an offensive coordinator soon. Many believe he has the smarts and the football IQ to command an offense himself, as soon as he gets the right opportunity.

Maybe that opportunity will come down the line in Dallas, where he can continue to coach within that “ground and pound” style, which he has done for many years while also implementing elements of his own passing game expertise.

Everyone has been critical of the Cowboys’ inability to bring in external hires, and to spark up new/creative offensive ideas. Lal has spent time among some of the smartest offensive minds in football.

Maybe he’s the man to bring in that outside creativity this offense seems to lack.

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Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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