This isn't the first time, and certainly won't be the last, that Dak Prescott and the Cowboys face adversity.
I'm counting on the Cowboys to get through it. Yeah, it will be hard. But not even close to being impossible. The Zeke-less stretch starts this Sunday at Atlanta as the Cowboys prepare to face the defending NFC Champions.
I'm calling the Cowboys to walk away with the win today, and maybe make a wish or two from this list come true.
As every Sunday, here is this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist!
Wish #1: Dak Prescott Scores Three Touchdowns
We've talked about it all of the offseason. We've talked about it all season. We've argued about it. We've deeply discussed the situation. And now, it's time to get some answers.
Will Dak Prescott lead this offense to win without his superstar running back? Dak has surely been impressive this season, and should be in the MVP conversation. With 21 out, he has a unique chance to prove it.
There's more than one reason as to why this is on my wish list. Obviously, I want the Cowboys to put up points on the board and get a W, and I want Prescott to prove how good he is.
But also, Dak is the third QB with the most total TDs this season (20), only behind Deshaun Watson (21), and Carson Wentz (23).
Three TDs by Dak would tie him for most in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles' QB just before they match up in next week's Sunday Night Football.
NFC East football is always fun, and with the two QBs on the race for the MVP, that'd make for an interesting story to watch. But first, Dak needs to score three touchdowns versus the Falcons.
Wish #2: Rod Smith Gets More Than 10 Carries
Today, the Cowboys' backfield will feature three capable running backs. The guy who's been RB2 all season long and has relieved Zeke when he's needed it has been Alfred Morris. Naturally, he is expected to be the starting running back this week.
However it seems as if Cowboys fans are looking at somebody else. And it's not Darren McFadden.
His name is Rod Smith.
Smith was a beast in preseason and showed a lot of flashes. Some would argue he deserves the job and he'll probably make a case for it.
I wish Dallas at least gives him the chance and gets him a minimum of ten carries during the ballgame. The kid is legit.
Wish #3: First Multi-INT Game for Cowboys' Defense
The Cowboys have accounted for four interceptions in the season. The number isn't ideal, but this is a young secondary with a lot of work to do.
Today, we might see Chidobe Awuzie return to the field. Although he's listed as questionable, he was a full participant in practice all week.
In the last few weeks, this defense has accomplished a lot of good, epic things. A multi-interception game would be a nice addition to the list.
Matt Ryan might be testing the Cowboys' secondary quite a bit today, and with a secondary that's getting better by the week, it'd be nice to see them have more than one interception in a single game.
Wish #4: Hold Falcons' Rushing Attack Under 100 Yards
It doesn't matter if they're currently at 4-4, when you go against the Matt Ryan-led Atlanta Falcons, you are afraid of the passing game. However, with Julio Jones dealing with an injury, it wouldn't come as a surprise to see this Atlanta team run a lot more.
In the year, only two teams have held the Falcon's rushing attack under 100 yards.
This defense has been pulling off some incredible feats, or at least incredible for a defense that was supposed to be mediocre.
Having said that, I think the linebackers have been doing a great job and I wish they hold the Falcon's backfield under 100 yards. Yet another confidence boost for this Cowboys' defense.
Wish #5: Cowboys Walk Away Healthy
Last week's victory over the Kansas City Chiefs was more than awesome. A quality win versus a quality opponent right when the Cowboys needed it.
However, it came at an expensive cost. Dez Bryant, Brian Price, Terrance Williams and Tyron Smith all suffered injuries during the game. Fortunately, Williams turned out to be okay. But the rest weren't so lucky.
Now the Cowboys are not only missing Elliott, but will miss Tyron and probably Dez. Both are important contributors and it will hurt to not see them playing.
It will be a big challenge for the Cowboys to win this game, but if they do, I sincerely wish they do so without more injuries, This team doesn't need that at all right now.
Brett Maher’s 62-yard FG Gives Cowboys 6-0 Halftime Lead over Eagles
Brett Maher drilled a 62-yard field goal, a new Dallas Cowboys record, to give his team a 6-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.
A holding penalty by Tyron Smith seemingly took the team out of field goal range, but Maher bailed him out with the monster kick.
The lead could be bigger it not for some Dallas mistakes. Dak Prescott threw an interception on an otherwise strong drive, and Maher ended another drive with a missed field goal.
However, the Eagles have also struggled. A strip sack by Tyrone Crawford ended their last drive of the half. Randy Gregory also got a sack on Carson Wentz earlier in the game.
Overall, though, Philadelphia just isn't converting downs and being stifled by this exceptional Cowboys defense. They only have 70 total offensive yards at the half.
Ezekiel Elliott is putting together a big day, already with 72 rushing yards and another 20 yards receiving. Rod Smith also has 24 yards of offense, adding to the major production from the RB position.
Speaking of position production, the Cowboys tight ends have already accounted for six catches for 37 yards. Blake Jarwin has four of those receptions, which is a new career high.
The Eagles will get the ball to start the second half.
Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14
The Dallas Cowboys are certainly playing like a playoff team as of late, but aren't in the clear yet when it comes to holding off Sunday's opponent -- nor the Washington Redskins -- in the NFC East. At 7-5, the Eagles and Redskins sit a game behind the Cowboys with identical 6-6 records.
The Cowboys going 5-0 from their first win at the Eagles in week 10 to their third divisional game of this stretch would go a very long way in cementing the Cowboys mid-season turnaround. As has always seemingly been the case in this division though, the same is said of the defending Super Bowl champs.
With a loss, the Cowboys stand just over a 50% chance at the postseason. A win would add 42 percentage points to this figure, setting up the Cowboys favorably through a December schedule that features the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants.
NFL playoff leverage week 14
The only team with more at stake today is the visitors of AT&T Stadium. The Eagles gain 47 percentage points on their playoff hopes with a win, though even this marginally moves the needle over 50% for them. An Eagles loss all but ends their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.
Though the Redskins are reduced to their third quarterback in Mark Sanchez, their early kickoff at the 4-8 Giants provides hope that they'll remain in contention through the regular season. In a division that will be dictated by the moves made at the trade deadline, it sure feels like the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away however - with Dallas in prime position to lap the competition starting Sunday.
If the Cowboys and the Giants win today, Dallas would have to lose out, and the Redskins or Eagles would have to win out in order for the Cowboys to lose the division. In other words, Dallas and NYG winning today would mean one more victory and the Cowboys clinch the NFC East.
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has made a bigger difference than Dallas could have ever hoped for. With the Eagles secondary banged up again for their meeting with the Cowboys, a home team with sights set on playoff football could begin to fine tune their offense to match a defense that set the tone against Philadelphia last time out.
National pundits may be forecasting a "classic" late season collapse for the Cowboys, but fans know better than this. It was in fact early season losses that dug the hole the Cowboys are viciously fighting out of. Asking for this opportunity against the Eagles is as good as it gets for Jason Garrett's young team, once 3-5 after eight weeks that feel like ages ago.
So does any dominant stretch of football from the Eagles, though the Cowboys shouldn't be quick to find out just how much Philly wants to play spoiler.
Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary
It's rivalry weekend for the Dallas Cowboys as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. It will undoubtedly be a special game since the Eagles are practically playing to save their season this time around. Tables have turned for these two teams with now the Cowboys as home favorites for this fun matchup.
As always, here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist. Enjoy!
Wish #1: Get Jourdan Lewis Playing Time
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did a fantastic job versus the New Orleans Saints last week and I'm intrigued to see if the Cowboys will continue to find a job for him and get him on the field. Lewis had an interception and some other key plays in just eight snaps. Lewis has been an interesting narrative this year.
He's a good player and getting him more involved could result in good things for this team. We'll see if the Cowboys use him in this important divisional game.
Wish #2: Get The Early Big Lead, Rest Elliott
Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has done an amazing job for the Cowboys over the past four weeks. Both in the passing and running game, Zeke has been able to consistently move the chains as he's received a huge workload to carry the offense and control the time of possession. He currently leads the league in touches per game.
If the Cowboys are able to get a big lead early, I wish we get to see a lot of backup RB Rod Smith. As much as we all love to watch Zeke be fed, this time Cowboys Nation should appreciate seeing him on the sideline a bit more than usual. For that to happen, though, an early considerable lead is required.
Wish #3: Improve on Red Zone
So far, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to efficiently move the ball and get first downs. What they have struggled with though, is the red zone. Many times, we've seen the offense settle for three instead of getting seven.
This Saturday I argued why, if the Cowboys are able to improve on red zone, this could be a playoff caliber unit. This team shouldn't struggle as much in this area. With Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Amari Cooper lined up and a mobile QB, Scott Linehan's squad simply needs to do better.
Wish #4: Dak Prescott Gets 300 Yards
The Philadelphia Eagles have placed CB Jalen Mills on IR. With Ronald Darby out already, the Cowboys are about to face a very injured secondary. Philadelphia ranks 26th in passing defense. Dak Prescott's stats have greatly improved since week 7.
However, a big 300-yard performance has yet to occur. I wish he gets just that against the Eagles. For this, he'll certainly need help from his receivers, including Amari Cooper, who has been outstanding with a Star on his helmet.
What are your wishes for this week's matchup versus the Eagles?
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