Cowboys Projected Inactive List:
Bryant and Gregory are obvious choices with their injuries; Leary is very interesting as he could play if his groin is better before the game, his missing several days of practice makes his status a game-time decision. If he is not active, take this next part seriously.
Mackenzy Bernadeau starts over La'el Collins. During practice this week - Bernadeau took first-team snaps - Not Collins. Unfortunately, Collins is not yet ready to be an NFL starter. This may disappoint those who have become accustomed to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin immediately being productive after being drafted, yet it should not.
Not every first round talent (which Collins was largely thought as being) can immediately start in the NFL. It does not mean Collins will never start for the Dallas Cowboys, it just means he is not there yet. Although Jason Garrett did leave the possibility open stating there was a competition between Bernadeau and Collins for the Left Guard spot if Leary is unable to go.
If Brice Butler is even close to being ready, I would take him to the 46 over Street. His drop last week was huge which may have hurt Tony Romo's confidence in the young receiver. Brice Butler has the speed to be a deep threat if he can get a clean release off the line. I favor his big play ability over that of Street. The Coaching Staff could work him into a few packages in the short week allowing him to help replace the Dez Void and provide some immediate production.
Bottom line, if he is comfortable with the playbook, I would play Butler Sunday. I just do not feel he will be.
With Cole Beasley becoming even more important on offense, I would keep Lucky Whitehead active solely for Punt Return duties. I question the reasoning as to why he was active for the game against the Giants, as he was rarely used on offense. This week is a different scenario.
His explosive return ability could be an effective weapon when facing an offense that is better than the New York Giants. Simply flipping field position could be paramount in this game. I have my concerns with his ball security, yet I would give him the opportunity for at least this week.
I do not see how they could make Christine Michael active this week when facing an up-tempo Philadelphia Eagles offense. Davon Coleman has some position flex on the Defensive Line and having an additional body for the rotation would pay dividends. There were, at times against the Giants, plays where the Defensive Line looked a little winded when the Giants played no huddle. Coleman could help keep the unit fresh going into the second half of the game.
Cowboys Offense vs Eagles Defense
The Eagles did not manage much of a Pass Rush against an Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line that is far inferior to that of the Dallas Cowboys. That does not mean one should ignore Fletcher Cox or Connor Barwin as they do have the ability to produce. Yet, it should encourage Cowboy fans that the Eagles rush was only able to produce a sack, a hit, and three hurries the entire game. Yet there is no question they will blitz.
There were also some running lanes the Eagles gave up all night as well, which gives me the impression that the Cowboys will be able to open up some holes for both Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden.
Personally, I would love for Michael to be active and grab a few carries as I feel this Eagles defense can be worn down by a bigger back. The numbers just do not add up to forfeit another position for him though; however, I feel Darren McFadden has more physicality, vision, and speed than Randle and could be the more effective runner against the 3-4 front of the Eagles.
With that stated, if the Eagles are not able to put pressure on Tony Romo, it will be a long day for their secondary. While Byron Maxwell struggled against the Falcons, their other starting Cornerback Nolan Carrol is the player the Cowboys should target. Carrol is projected to play the slot, which is where the Cowboys can exploit him.
While this footage is of him with the Dolphins, his play has not taken a leap with the Eagles, being a mostly average player that is pressed into starting duties because of injury. Him in the slot against either Beasley or Lance Dunbar is a huge mismatch in the Cowboys favor. Especially, if he plays off coverage on either. Each is a better slot option than what the Falcons featured last Sunday.
Malcolm Jenkins is a playmaker for the Eagles, he could be used to cover Jason Witten as he has shown solid coverage skills. The above highlight package also shows that he can tackle in space, which may be a key factor in this game as I feel whether run or pass the Cowboys will be able to get players in space often against this Eagles team.
If he goes into the slot to take Beasley, I do not feel that is a matchup the Eagles will stay with for long. Cole has the quickness to immediately defeat him off the line of scrimmage, but that is a matchup he will have to win if it happens.
While the loss of Dez is a big one, Chip Kelly recognizes the Cowboys offense still presents a serious challenge come Sunday. Without Dez, the Cowboys may face a defense that does not play their Safeties in a different zip code, which could open the back of the defense up for several deep throws. If they give single coverage, Terrance Williams and whoever lines up as the X receiver will have to beat their man and get up the field. Gavin Escobar should also see a significant role in the passing game as he presents a matchup problem.
One or two deep completions will force the Eagles into a more conservative defense and open up the running game even further than I feel it already will be. If for some reason they start the game playing back, we will see a lot of what the Cowboys did last week and Romo will systematically pick them apart.
I could see the Eagles attempting to disguise their defense until the final seconds of the play clock, but that could be a fruitless endeavor. If Romo picks up on that, he will begin to make his adjustments faster to counter that approach.
Key Match Up: Cowboys Offensive Line vs Eagles Front Seven
Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Connor Barwin, and Vinny Curry can disrupt the Cowboys game plan. If the Cowboys Offensive Line can consistently give Romo time, the Cowboys Receivers will have the opportunity to beat coverage and the offense will stay ahead of the chains.
As mentioned above, the Eagles' Cornerbacks are not exceptional, therefore if Romo gets the time then skill players will get open. It will be paramount for Bernadeau - if he indeed starts - to acknowledge the blitz and pick it up. Romo will need to have time.
The Travis Frederick matchup against Logan will be key for the running game. Frederick needs to put Logan on rollerskates and not get defeated by Logan's quickness on the first move. This is the key matchup to watch as the running game will set up everything else for the Cowboys and will keep the Eagles honest.
Keep your eye on the trenches here. If the Cowboys are to win this game, the Offensive Line will need to be effective and prove they are the best unit in the league.
Slight Advantage Cowboys
Cowboys Defense vs Eagles Offense
Do not expect the Eagles to throw the ball fifty-two times again.
The only way that will happen is if they are far behind on the scoreboard. The Eagles spent a lot of money on DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews; it is in their best interest to use those players.
Their Wide Receivers are not overly dangerous, yet they have a number of weapons they can distribute the ball to, let's take a quick look at them:
- Jordan Matthews
- Nelson Agholor
- Josh Huff
- Riley Cooper
- Miles Austin
Not one of them presents a huge problem, yet when adding Zach Ertz and especially Darren Sproles to the equation, their sheer numbers make them hard to defend.
This says all you need to know about Sproles. With the way the Eagles run their offense, he should receive 10-12 carries and another 5 receptions per game. The Eagles run east-west quite a bit, which favors Sproles' speed over Murray and Matthews who are nowhere near as quick. He is the biggest matchup issue for the Cowboys defense. You have to hope that the Cowboys can stay accountable for where he is and make sure to swarm around him whenever he touches the ball.
Sproles is by far the Eagles most dangerous weapon, yet his snaps may get limited because of the focus on Murray and Matthews. Which I feel the Cowboys defense is active, tough, and disciplined enough to hold up against either.
Jack Crawford and Jeremy Mincey will have to play a solid game along the front for the Cowboys Defense to have continued success in this game. Also, Nick Hayden's ability to eat up blocks on early running plays will be key.
Key Match Up: Cowboys Defensive Line vs Eagles Offensive Line
Get to the Quarterback. Sam Bradford is not very efficient when he is under pressure; while he does not typically throw the ball down the field, the pass rush is vital. We may not see a number of sacks on Bradford as he does get rid of the ball quickly, but if this Defensive Line is able to get pressure on him, the Cowboys are at a major advantage.
I question the quality of the Guards the Eagles will display; they are far inferior to Evan Mathis whom the team released after a contract dispute. Tyrone Crawford needs to have a big day and consistently get quick pressure on Bradford when he drops back. With Gregory sitting out at least this week, DeMarcus Lawrence will have to step up as well.
Eagles Left Tackle Jason Peters presents a challenge. If the Defensive Ends can get pressure off of Peters, it will bring quite a few headaches for Bradford, especially if Cowboys are getting pressure up the middle as well. Whatever this team can get out of Ryan Russell will be welcomed, as every player on this unit has to play effectively and disrupt the Eagles.
Slight Advantage Eagles
Special Teams Matchup
In a game that could be extremely close, Special Teams could really play a huge role. The Cowboys have an advantage with Dan Bailey being far more consistent than Cody Parkey. Yet, the Punt Return unit will again need to be stout when dealing with Darren Sproles. Chris Jones is a solid directional Punter, so he should be able to help limit Sproles by placing the ball close to the sidelines.
If Lucky does return Punts this week, he will need to make something positive happen.
He has big play ability and several nice returns could be vital. The unit can also ill-afford the same mishap which happened last week when Beasley was kept from fielding a Punt. That cost the Cowboys around twenty yards of field position, that cannot happen this game.
Slight Advantage Cowboys
My prediction was spot on last week, the Cowboys needed to have a -3 turnover ratio to keep the New York Giants competitive. This Eagles team is far more talented on paper than the Giants. If the Cowboys have a ratio close to -3, they will not win this game and it will not be close.
As you read above I feel the Cowboys have a slight advantage on Offense and Special Teams while the Sproles factor gives the Eagles offense a slight advantage over the Cowboys defense. Therefore, this game will come down to coaching. Jason Garrett will have to make sure the team is mentally prepared while Scott Linehan will have to dictate to Eagles Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis.
Rod Marinelli will need to get his defense off the field on third downs. If he is able to do that, the Eagles tempo will make it impossible for their defense to hold through four quarters. Third down defense will be the most critical stat for the Cowboys.
I honestly feel the Cowboys will win this game, the Eagles will have several costly turnovers that Romo will capitalize on. However, I expect this to be a battle as the Eagles are in a vulnerable situation. If the Cowboys are able to move to 2-0 within the division, it really puts them in a great early season position.
The Way Of Smooth
I personally cannot stand when players trash talk to the media.
I have been a fan of Jason Garrett from the beginning due to his constant preachings of worrying about the team, improving each day, and being above useless media squabbling. This mindset led to a mentally tough and disciplined team last year, that allowed their play to do the talking.
The Cowboys do not care about the rumblings outside of Valley Ranch. That is why I have an issue with one Bennie Logan. Jason Garrett uses the mantra; nameless faceless opponent, yet it is hard to forget Logan's comments made last year about the Cowboys Offensive Line. He also made a comment challenging the Cowboys manhood during Training Camp.
Logan is a player that does far too much chirping; I hope Frederick is able to dominate him all game and the Cowboys run game finds holes all night up the middle.
Players like Logan really should worry about their play and not getting their banter spread across social media. Landon Collins found out last week that it is better to keep quiet and hopefully, Logan learns that lesson as well.
#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction
The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.
Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.
The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.
After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.
Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.
Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.
Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.
The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.
The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.
Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.
- The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
- Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
- Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
- The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.
While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.
This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.
I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks: Inside The Numbers
The Dallas Cowboys will travel to the Pacific Northwest this weekend to face the Seattle Seahawks in an important game for both teams in the NFC race.
The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 and risk being buried in an NFC West that has seen the Los Angeles Rams become the divisional power. With the San Francisco 49ers trending up, the Seahawks might find themselves left behind. On Monday Night Football, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks had little answers for a Chicago Bears team that has one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL. Well, maybe not so underrated now. They battered Wilson and the Seahawks offensive line for six sacks and were able to pressure him into an interception they were able to return for a touchdown.
The Dallas Cowboys rebounded from a week one disappointment to take care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. It wasn't a pretty win on offense, save for the first and last drives of the game, but it was a solid win. The defense dominated the New York Giants' offensive line and left them searching for answers at 0-2.
As we get ready for week three let's go Inside The Numbers for yet another important matchup for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys lead the all-time series 10-8, but have dropped the last two matchups and are 2-3 over the last five games. They've split the last two meetings that played in Seattle, winning the most recent showdown in 2014, 30-23.
If you'll remember, that was the game that had us all believing that Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray led Cowboys team was for real. Sadly the 2014 season ended with the typical heartbreak that we've grown accustomed to in the last 23 years.
Let's take a look at how the matchup breaks down on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks offenses are eerily similar statistically as both rank near the bottom in most offensive categories.
As you can see from the chart above, there aren't many categories where either team ranks inside the top 20 in total offense.
- The Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage along the offensive line. They rank inside the top 15 in rush yards, rush TDs, first downs on the ground, and have allowed fewer sacks than the Seattle Seahawks offensive line.
- The Dallas Cowboys have been excellent through two games at protecting the ball, having only turned it over one time; a fumble by Dak Prescott in the week one loss to the Carolina Panthers.
- Through two games, the Seahawks haven't rushed for a touchdown. They haven't run it often and haven't run it very well either. They only average 3.6 yards per attempt on the ground. Advantage Cowboys.
- While the Seahawks have thrown for more yards this season, Dak Prescott has a better completion percentage. For the year, Russell Wilson has completed only 59.4% of his passes. Dak Prescott is at 64.8%.
It's on the defensive side of the ball where the Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage, particularly with their pass rush.
As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys have the statistical edge in nearly every category.
- The Dallas Cowboys rank in the top five in several defensive categories including points allowed, yards allowed, yards per play, passing yards allowed, passing touchdowns, net yards per attempt, first downs achieved through the air, and sacks.
- Where the Dallas Cowboys have struggled in the first two games, particularly against the Carolina Panthers was against the run. Though they're around the middle of the pack through two games, the Panthers were able to find a lot of success on the ground. The New York Giants, not so much.
- The Cowboys are going to have to continue to be careful with the football as the Seattle Seahawks continue to be one of the best at creating turnovers, especially in the secondary. They're tied for first in the NFL in interceptions with five. Through two games, Prescott hasn't thrown one, but he's had a couple potential interceptions dropped. This week he won't be so lucky.
What it All Means
The Dallas Cowboys are going to have a pretty difficult challenge corralling Seahawks' Quarterback Russell Wilson, but the numbers seem to point to it being a long afternoon for Wilson.
The Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage when the Seahawks drop back to pass. The Seattle offensive line has allowed the most sacks in the NFL. Coming off allowing six sacks to the Chicago Bears, Wilson could be in for another long day against a Dallas Cowboys defense that is second in the NFL -- to the Chicago Bears -- in sacks with nine.
The Seattle Seahawks won't be able to rely on their running game to keep the Dallas Cowboys defense off balance as they only average 3.4 yards per carry through the first two weeks of the season. If the Cowboys can get an early lead this Sunday, it will present a really favorable opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys pass rush.
Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks Stat Notes
Dak Prescott hasn't thrown an interception this season. If we can make any observations through two games, it's that he seems to be back to his ball protection ways. As a rookie, Prescott only through four interceptions, before doubling that in 2017 with eight.
Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson are tied for 27th in the NFL in yards per route run. That number is better than Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings, Golden Tate of the Detroit Lions, Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers, and Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Seattle Seahawks have had a hard time getting to opposing passers and have collected only three sacks through the NFL's first two weeks. Prescott was sacked six times in week one, but the Dallas Cowboys offensive line rebounded to keep the New York Giants from collecting a sack in week two.
Tyler Lockett has played 53 of his 79 offensive snaps from the slot, but has only been targeted four times, catching four passes for 85 yards. His 1.60 yards per route run out of the slot is tied for 11th in the NFL among players who have played at least 50% of their snaps from the slot.
Seattle Defensive Lineman Jarran Reed has been the best run defender for the Seahawks, earning a run stop on 13.5% of his run snaps. Overall he sits eighth in the NFL. Among defensive lineman with at least 50% of their team's run snaps, only Da'Shawn Hand and Linval Joseph have a better run stop percentage.
The amount of snaps per reception allowed by Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Anthony Brown. No player who has played at least 50% of his coverage snaps in the slot has a higher snap per reception rate in the NFL than Brown's 19.
According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson's been sacked on 36.4% of his drop backs this season. Only Ryan Tannehill and Nathan Peterman have a worse percentage of players who have dropped back to pass a minimum of 22 times this season.
Wilson's been under pressure on 38.8% of his drop backs, which is sixth in the NFL.
Dak Prescott's adjusted completion percentage, which "accounts for factors that hurt the passer's completion percentage but don't help show how accurate they are," per Pro Football Focus and "It accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the QB was hit while they threw the ball."
Prescott's adjusted completion percentage is ninth in the NFL. Better than notable names such as Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ben Roethlisberger, DeShaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Luck.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
As I look at the run down for this game and after watching these two teams in week two, I see this as a very favorable matchup for the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously, statistics don't tell the whole story, but the Dallas Cowboys biggest strength, it's pass rush, will be facing a Seattle team that is very weak along the offensive line.
This looks to be a Dallas Cowboys win that will improve them to 2-1.
Snap Judgments: Cowboys’ Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win
The Dallas Cowboys evened their record at 1-1 with their 20-13 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Cowboys linebackers had a huge impact on the outcome of the game and it wasn't just the guys at the top of the depth chart either. America's Team got contributions from guys at the bottom of the depth chart.
What a difference a year makes.
The Dallas Cowboys worked hard this offseason to fix the linebacker depth that failed them in the 2017 season. When Sean Lee or Anthony Hitchens -- or both -- were sidelined with injuries, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, and the rest of the linebacker group struggled to keep up with opposing offenses. Specifically, in games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers the major depth inadequacy was revealed.
One year later, the Dallas Cowboys have a linebacker corp that allows them to go five deep with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas, and Damien Wilson all making considerable contributions for the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday nights victory.
Here are the final snap counts for the five linebackers that played a defensive snap against the Giants.
- Jaylon Smith - 57 (84%)
- Sean Lee - 41 (60)
- Leighton Vander Esch - 28 (48%)
- Damien Wilson - 17 (25%)
- Joe Thomas - 14 (21%)
Jaylon Smith led the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night with 10 tackles (seven solo) and played really well roaming sideline to sideline and making plays. He was tasked with the difficult assignment of containing New York Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley and allowed four catches for 41 yards in his coverage area. Smith was credited with three stops or plays that result in a "loss" for the offense (per Pro Football Focus). Smith led the team in snaps for the second straight week.
Sean Lee had a better game on Sunday night than he did in week one. PFF credited him with four stops, four tackles and an assist. Lee allowed two catches for 24 yards on two targets to Wayne Gallman and Evan Engram. Lee pulled his hamstring at the end of the game and was held out the rest of the way for precautionary reasons. He'll be an interesting name to watch on this week's injury report. Age catches up with everyone, but hopefully Sean Lee can stave it off for at least another season.
Rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch saw a big bump in his snap count from week one (17) to week two (28). The rookie played well too. As many players seemed to struggle with tackling Saquon Barkley, Vander Esch was able to bring down the number two overall pick on several occasions. Vander Esch had seven solo tackles in his second career game.
Damien Wilson was the surprise player of the night. He had three tackles on the night, including one on special teams, a sack, and a forced fumble. Though his time on the field might have been short, his impact was certainly felt. His forced fumble led to a field goal that gave the Dallas Cowboys a 13-0 nothing lead. Wilson was also credited with two stops on the night.
Joe Thomas has been a good player for the team off the bench as well. Though he only had one tackle, it was good enough to be credited with a stop. He's a player that can play both the WILL and MIKE linebacker spots. As the fourth or fifth linebacker on the depth chart, Thomas is a great role player.
Other Snap Count Notes
- Taco Charlton may not have started, but he played 84% of the team's defensive snaps. That number is up from 73% in week one. Charlton had a sack, a hit, and a hurry as well as three stops on the night.
- Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns led the wide receiver group in snap percentage from week one to week two. The big difference at wide receiver was seeing Michael Gallup take the third most snaps on offense instead of Deonte Thompson. Thompson still had the bigger impact with four catches for 33 yards on five targets including two for first downs.
- Geoff Swaim was the far and away leader at tight end in snaps with a 94% snap count. Only the offensive line and Dak Prescott had more snaps on the night than Swaim. He's the TE1 for the team, though he didn't have an impact in the passing game.
- Rico Gathers only played five snaps, but there was concerted effort to get him the ball as he had two targets in his five snaps. He may not have come away with a catch, but it's a start.
- Jourdan Lewis continues to be the odd man out on defense. He only played one snap.
- Dorance Armstrong saw a snap jump from week one to week two going from 28% of the defensive snaps to 40% of the snaps. He had two hurries and an assisted tackle.
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