I recently went out to run some errands. I dropped off some clothes at the cleaners, picked up a couple of groceries, got my car washed, the standard stuff.
While out and about I passed by a local jewelry store. Through the window I saw the perfect piece that my girlfriend has talked about wanting for some time.
I tipped my cap to the necklace and said, "See you in February."
I was talking about Valentine's Day, but there's no question that when Tony Romo uttered the same thing to Tom Brady last Sunday (see below) he was talking about Super Bowl 50.
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February 7th, 2016 is still about four months away, but Tony's got some serious confidence and is not afraid to let the reigning Super Bowl MVP know it.
Like the crownie mastermind I too have some serious confidence. Week 6 kicks off tonight and I'm here to tell you exactly how it's going to unfold.
Here are my official picks for Week 6, February Style.
Thursday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons (5-0) At New Orleans Saints (1-4)
There are very few things like primetime football at the Superdome in New Orleans. We're in store for a fresh serving of it tonight as the Saints look to double their 2015 win total. Coming off of a thrashing against Philly, it's hard to believe in this Saints team. With murmurings that Sean Payton might be coaching somewhere else next year the Saints appear to be close to coming undone. A date with the undfeated Falcons surely will not help their cause.
It's pretty amazing that those unbeaten Falcons needed to go to overtime in order to defeat the Washington Redskins. Nevertheless a win is a win, and Devonta Freeman is winning 2015. The Falcons are red hot right now and they seem like an unstoppable offensive force. Next on deck? A defense that made Sam Bradford look good. Watch out, here comes Atlanta.
Prediction: FALCONS - 33, Saints - 24
Cincinnati Bengals (5-0) At Buffalo Bills (3-2)
It was a year ago this week that the Dallas Cowboys stormed into Seattle and secured a statement win against the Seahawks. Well it was a week ago that the Bengals wrapped up their own win over the two-time defending NFC Champs. Andy Dalton is en fuego, and the Bengals roster is bananas awesome all over the place. There's no chance that the Tyrod Taylor-less Bills can hang with them.
That's right, it is very doubtful that Tyrod Taylor will play for the Bills this Sunday. That's ok they have Matt Cassel! ...whoops. EJ Manuel is the next man up which means that life is going to be rough in Buffalo for a while. Might as well call it Roughalo, am I right?!
Cheesy jokes aside, even though the Bills are looking to have Karlos Williams and Sammy Watkins, and perhaps LeSean McCoy, back... they are no match for the Bengals right now.
Prediction: BENGALS - 37, Bills - 13
Chicago Bears (2-3) At Detroit Lions (0-5)
Don't look now, but Jay Cutler is actually playing the quarterback position competently. The disinterested Cutler managed to pull out a victory against the Kansas City Chiefs (which you'd have seen coming if you read my Week 5 NFL Game Picks) with none of his usual playmakers. Alshon could be back this week which means that Mr. Cutler will be happy. So will the residents of Chi-City.
If you insert Dan Orlovsky into a game that should be an automatic forfeit. The Lions are so incredibly bad right now, Simba and Mufasa would be ashamed! It's crazy that Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Ameer Abdullah all occupy an offense that simply cannot put it together. It's hard to imagine that they'll be able to against the division rival Bears. And by hard I mean totally impossible.
Prediction: BEARS - 26, Lions - 10
Denver Broncos (5-0) At Cleveland Browns (2-3)
The Broncos 2015 season may be five weeks old, but Peyton Manning has yet to show up for it. It is so incredibly foreign to see Manning as the weak link on his team. His passes are so wobbly and take so long to get to his intended receivers that if he throws one right now it might not get there by Sunday. The new-look Orange Crush will be without the services of DeMarcus Ware, so look for rookie Shane Ray to step up.
Cleveland fans know that there are maybe one or two more victories in store for the Browns this season because, well they're the Browns. They can celebrate right now because the Browns will earn one of those this week! That's right! I called for the Raiders to take out Denver last week, and they almost did, but I was just a week early. The Browns offense is quietly sort of good, and this is just the type of trap game that Denver won't see coming. Give me the Factory of Sadness!
Prediction: Broncos - 16, BROWNS - 23
Miami Dolphins (1-3) At Tennessee Titans (1-3)
The Dolphins will make their first appearance after the firing of Joe Philbin. That means that former Cowboy Dan Campbell, just 39 years old, will make his debut under the head coach's headset. I actually think that the former tight end has rallied his troops a bit. He brings a sense of tenacity that could resonate well with the team, especially a guy like Ndamukong Suh.
It was pretty shocking how badly the Titans played last week given that they had a bye week to prepare for the Bills. Last year's Heisman Winner, Marcus Mariota, had perhaps his worst game of his young NFL career. I think brighter days are ahead for the second overall pick, but I think he's going to run into a Dolphin team high on emotional energy.
Prediction: DOLPHINS - 27, Titans - 17
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) At Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
Hank Stram will be smiling somewhere as this Super Bowl IV rematch gets going, with players matriculating down the field all day long.
The poor Chiefs have not only had to take on the Broncos, Packers, and Bengals back-to-back-to-back, but now they are without the services of star running back Jamaal Charles for the rest of the year. Woof. Welcome to Check Down City... population: Alex Smith. Brandon Weeden will love the KC offense in this game.
The Vikings are really hard to figure out this year. A lot of people saw them as a potential wildcard team, but they haven't totally come out and dominated someone yet. I could see it happening here. Mike Zimmer has taken the bye week to figure out exactly how many points he wants to beat the Chiefs by. He told me and now I'm telling you.
Prediction: Chiefs - 15, VIKINGS - 31
Washington Redskins (2-3) At New York Jets (3-1)
It's strange enough that the Redskins are actually relevant, it would have been straight up twilight zone crazy if they had been the first team to beat the Atlanta Falcons. Washington is playing solid football right now, but you have to imagine that they're about to implode... they are the Redskins after all.
Sheldon Richardson will put on the gang green for the first time this year and said that he was "coming to eat," so I hope Kirk Cousins dresses with salt and pepper before the game. This Jets defensive line is going to massacre little Kirky. Fitzmagic is going to get cooking on the other side against a very depleted Washington secondary. Back to your corner you go, Redskins.
Prediction: Redskins - 9, JETS - 23
Arizona Cardinals (4-1) At Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
The Cardinals crushed the Lions, and the spirit of Matthew Stafford, last week. Absolutely crushed. The little birdies are on FIYAH this season. Carson Palmer AND Larry Fitzgerald have found the fountain of youth. Patrick Peterson has the defense getting wild. And Dwight Freeney just joined the party! Bruce Arians heads back to Pittsburgh with the Bruce-y Bunch and he's going to have a whole heck of a lot of fun.
I would bet my Chip Kelly Smoothie Recipe Book that you'll hear at nauseam how these are two former number one overall picks squaring off in Carson Palmer and Michael, Mike apparently, Vick.
Le'Veon Bell is the real story of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but is he enough to carry them? Sure it worked against the Chargers, but the Cardinals are a real NFL team. Antonio Brown's contributions have slowed thanks to Vick (who looks really awkward in #2 for what it's worth) and I have serious doubts that they can keep tempo with Arizona. Too da loo, Pittsburgh.
Prediction: CARDINALS - 43, Steelers - 18
Houston Texans (1-4) At Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)
Do you think Ryan Mallett cares about my pick? I know he doesn't care about the Texans or anything important, but I thought maybe he'd care about me. I've always felt special.
Houston we have a major problem. The back-and-forth from Hoyer to Mallett to Hoyer has been exhausting in just five weeks. The Bill O'Brien we saw on Hard Knocks is surely losing his mind over just how terrible the Texans are. Serious question here. Which total will be higher... Texans points or JJ Watt sacks?
I can't believe that I actually trusted the Jaguars. I believed in them and they went and lost to the Buccaneers! THE BUCCANEERS. For shame on you, Jacksonville. I do think that they'll right the ship this week, they have some very talented young playmakers. Go Jags.
Prediction: Texans - 12, JAGUARS - 32
Carolina Panthers (4-0) At Seattle Seahawks (2-3)
Cam Newton is playing at an MVP level this season, that is a fact. He's obviously feeling good as he recently doubted the loudness of the Seattle Seahawk fans, and he should be feeling good. He's carrying a team in which the star receiver is Ted Ginn Jr. Yes, that Ted Ginn Jr.
The Panthers undoubtedly want to avenge their division round loss from a year ago and I think that they will. I believe in SuperCam and I believe that his Superman cape will be flying a whole lot higher than the famous 12th man flag this Sunday.
Do you guys think that the Seahawks have ever seen Jimmy Graham play? Do you think they know that he's really tall and good at catching touchdowns? Because I don't. For whatever the Seahawks are more likely to throw a pass in my direction than Jimmy's so far this season. If they have any hopes if finding their former swagger they need to use all of their weapons - Graham included.
Prediction: PANTHERS - 32, Seahawks - 28
San Diego Chargers (2-3) At Green Bay Packers (5-0)
Winning a close game can propel a team on a run in the NFL. Unfortunately the opposite effect can happen and I fear that's what's going to happen to the San Diego Super Chargers. It's going to be tough to overcome that last-second loss on Monday Night Football, and squaring off against the Packers isn't exactly the right medicine for that flu.
I anticipated the Packers struggling with the Rams last week, and they did; however, they prevailed. Aaron Rodgers' long streak of no interceptions at home finally came to a close, and you know what... good for him. The dude can finally let go of that and not carry that around with him. I expect Aaron to be nice and loose and drop his finest performance of the season so far.
Prediction: Chargers - 20, PACKERS - 45
Baltimore Ravens (1-4) At San Francisco 49ers (1-4)
It's pretty amazing that the last time these two teams met was Super Bowl XLVII (just three years ago, mind you) and both Anquan Boldin AND Torrey Smith were wearing Ravens purple. Baltimore hasn't really found suitable replacements for them and has struggled offensively this season as a result. Their defense, without the services of Terrell Suggs, has struggled similarly as last week was the ultimate low point... a loss to the Browns.
The 49ers mess makes the Ravens mess look desirable. Colin Kaepernick has seemingly forgotten how to play quarterback, or even throw a ball forward. Kaep did ball out against the Giants last week, but his 2015 doesn't inspire too much confidence in him. I expect this to be a big Carlos Hyde game for the Niners, but too short of an effort as they are just the stinkier pile of garbage between these two teams.
Prediction: RAVENS - 20, 49ers - 19
Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots (4-0) At Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
The tour of dominance continued for the Patriots last week when they easily vanquished the Brandon Ween-led Dallas Cowboys. Even though they'll never admit it, I imagine that this game has been circled on the calendar for them since the schedule released. This is about revenge. They're taking out the Deflategate Whistleblowers on Sunday Night Football. Prepare for total no mercy Belichick and Brady. I'm talking a 50-burger here.
The Colts celebrating beating the Texans is like me celebrating having tied my shoes this morning. It's that easy.
Indianapolis looks like they'll finally have Andrew Greybeard, I mean Andrew Luck, back under center. Cool. The Colts could have 500 Andrew Lucks on Sunday Night... it would be no use. They are going to get blasted in this game. Madden style blasted. Or you know, the way that the Texans get beat every week.
Prediction: PATRIOTS - 56, Colts - 23
Monday Night Football: New York Giants (3-2) At Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
This is going to be a very interesting game for Dallas Cowboys fans to watch. Considering that the Cowboys get the Giants in New York next week, these results are very important.
The Giants have won three in a row and are riding a serious wave of positive momentum. Tom Coughlin has a knack for getting his teams to start cooking with gas at the right times. With the way that Eli is playing right now and with an outside threat like Odell Beckham Jr., they are going to be hard for Philly to stop.
It was very souring for Cowboys fans to see how easily the Eagles beat the Saints last week. That's what every team is supposed to do to the Saints this year given how bad they are. I think that game was just that, more about the detriments of New Orleans than the strides of Philadelphia. I don't see the Eagles being able to handle the Giants, but their defense has been somewhat impressive this year.
Division rival games, especially in the NFC East, are always hard to predict. I'm going with my gut here. The Giants know that if they can win the next two they'll be sitting pretty in the middle of the season. Give me the G-Men.
Prediction: GIANTS - 23, Eagles - 20
WR Tavon Austin Named Veteran “Most Likely To Be Cut”
The Dallas Cowboys spent the 2019 offseason looking to add new dimensions to their offense.
They went out and signed Randall Cobb, the veteran receiver who made his name in the slot for the Green Bay Packers. They then drafted Memphis running back Tony Pollard in the fourth round to add a versatile weapon to their offensive backfield.
They also promoted quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator, hoping he can bring a fresh perspective to an offense many labeled stale over the course of 2018.
All of these changes could leave members of that "stale" 2018 offense in the dust, and Todd Archer believes wide receiver Tavon Austin could be one of those casualties.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Richie Incognito are new to their teams, but will they still be there on opening day? Can Pittsburgh Steelers corner Artie Burns stay out of the doghouse and fight his way back up the depth chart?
Archer named Tavon Austin the veteran most likely to be cut by the Cowboys, and roster math does somewhat point to this prediction coming true. If the Cowboys were to only take 5 receivers, as ESPN is suggesting in their latest roster projection, then it's hard to see a perfect spot for Austin.
Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are complete locks. Randall Cobb is about as close to a lock as you can imagine. That leaves two spots for a lot of talented players, including Austin, Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, and Cedrick Wilson.
It's certainly possible, and more than likely, that the Cowboys go with more than just 5 receivers however. This way they can keep a young hopeful like Wilson around while still maintaining the explosiveness that Tavon Austin can bring them in 2019.
Of course, the Cowboys are not afraid to cut veterans. Just last year we saw Dan Bailey get the axe after training camp, and Dez Bryant get released prior to any offseason activity even began. Tavon Austin is still of cheap value to Dallas, however, and when healthy he was an impressive weapon both on offense and special teams in 2018.
I actually do expect Tavon Austin to survive final cuts in Dallas, mostly because I anticipate they keep more than just 5 receivers on the roster.
Cowboys Twitter Tuesday: Addressing the 2019 53-Man Roster
For the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL, and the NFL fanbase, the waiting game for the start of training camp has begun. As Tom Petty says, "the waiting is the hardest part." The Dallas Cowboys go open training camp in about five weeks. The first preseason game is 53 days away and week one is less than three months away at this point. It's so close we can taste it.
Each week, I'll gather questions from you the Cowboys Nation community. Each week, we'll hone in on a specific topic based on your questions. So whether it's roster related, salary cap focused, or you have a fantasy football question, don't hesitate to send it to me on Twitter.
This week, we're going to take a look at the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster.
@john9williams Who contributed to last year's team that won't make this year's team?
The 53-man roster will be one of the more debated topics over the next couple of months as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for training camp and the preseason. Every year there are surprises and we should expect the same this year. The Dallas Cowboys have incredible depth through the roster and so there will be at least one name that doesn't make the final 53-man roster who had an impact in 2018.
To answer Jesus' question, I think the easy answer is one of the wide receivers be it Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, or Tavon Austin. This might be a hot take, but I'm going to go a different direction and say guard Xavier Su'a-Filo.
In 2018, Su'a-Filo started eight games for the Dallas Cowboys and though he started out strong for them midseason, his play tailed off before he was injured allowing Connor Williams to regain his starting spot at left guard. The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff loves position flexibility, especially along the offensive line. Su'a-Filo, though he's a solid backup guard option, doesn't have the ability to play multiple positions along the line like his teammates.
Connor Williams can play guard and tackle. Connor McGovern will get snaps at guard and center, and to hear him talk, he can play tackle as well, though that's probably a bit of a stretch. Joe Looney, the Dallas Cowboys starting center for 2018, has the ability to flex out to guard if you need him to.
Because the Dallas Cowboys will have difficult decisions to make at wide receiver and defensive line, they can afford to go light along the offensive line because of the flexibility of players like Williams, Looney, and McGovern.
@john9williams #CowboysQuestions do we extend Dak before game #1? How many WRs on 53?
I'm gonna leave the Dak Prescott question for another day and address the wide receiver question as several people asked about that position group in particular.
The wide receiver group is a really deep group. With Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Allen Hurns, it features three guys who've had at least one 1,000 yard season in their career. Michael Gallup is an ascending player. Tavon Austin is a really nice punt returner and offensive puzzle piece that can take the top off the defense with his downfield speed. I think four of those five are locks to make the roster.
According to Jeff Cavanaugh from 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the team really likes Allen Hurns and his ability to play inside and outside in the formation. He's solid veteran depth at a low cost.
Then if you include Noah Brown's ability as a receiver and as a blocker, I think you have a very versatile and dangerous group in the passing game. Though the coaches really like Brown's ability to block in the run game, if they don't use him in the passing game, it tips their hand to the defense that the team is going to run. If they're going to keep him on the roster, they have to use him. It's a waste otherwise.
Brown and Hurns to me are on the roster bubble at wide receiver. Talented players like Cedric Wilson, Devin Smith, Jon'vea Johnson, Jalen Guyton, and Reggie Davis have all stood out at one point in time or another during OTAs and minicamp and will make the decision difficult for the coaching staff.
In my most recent roster projection, I had the Dallas Cowboys keeping six wide receivers; Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Being a team on the verge of contending for a Super Bowl, I think they go with veterans who can help them win now.
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That'll do it for this week's edition. Make sure to get your questions in via Twitter, or you can leave them in the comment section for next week's post. Also, don't forget to check out Inside The Star's newest podcast, Cowboys Weekly featuring Managing Editor Bryson Treece and Senior Writer Jess Haynie.
Does Darius Jackson Have A “Puncher’s Chance” Of Landing On Final Roster?
Remember Darius Jackson?
The sixth round running back was an instant fan favorite of Cowboys Nation, as the fanbase hoped Dallas had found the explosive RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott they needed in the very same draft. Jackson, however, had an up-and-down preseason in 2016 and ended up being waived from the team to make room for Darren McFadden later in the year.
Jackson has bounced around the league a bit since then, joining both the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers at different points. He's back with the Cowboys, however, looking to fight his way onto the team's final roster.
But does the fourth year running back have more than a puncher's chance to do so?
The Cowboys spent much of the 2019 NFL Draft rebuilding their running back depth. First, they drafted Memphis back Tony Pollard hoping to find a versatile and dynamic threat to compliment the workhorse that is Ezekiel Elliott. Then, in the seventh round, Dallas took another Ohio State running back in Mike Weber who fits more of the "traditional" running back form.
So with two new touted rookies behind the veteran Elliott, and fullback Jamize Olawale more than likely having a roster spot as well, there doesn't seem to be room for Darius Jackson on the Dallas Cowboys.
That didn't stop him from competing at OTAs, however. DallasCowboys.com named Darius Jackson one of their top ten "head turners" from the OTA practices, and considering that Mike Weber is banged up at the moment, Jackson will certainly have his opportunities to fight for that spot.
Still, the odds suggest that Darius Jackson will not be with the Cowboys come the Fall of 2019. Though he entered the league with some fanfare for a day three pick, his production has been more fitting of his draft grade than of his fan hype.
Jackson hasn't been the explosive player/receiving back that they're hoping Tony Pollard will be, nor has he been the every-down type backup runner that they seem to hope Mike Weber will be.
In the end, the Cowboys-Darius Jackson story is likely to close during this year's training camp.
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