Every week I sit down and crank out my 5 Bold Predictions for the upcoming Dallas Cowboys game here at Inside The Star. America's Team is on a bye this week, so I don't know what to do! There are no bold predictions to write! Sad face.
In the spirits of persistence and creativity, I decided to pen this weekly column but with cinco bold predictions for the NFC East as a whole. As things stand through Week 6, here are the standings across the NFL.
NFL standings through Week 6, according to my mini helmet display.
- The Dallas Cowboys are 5-1, 1-1 in NFC East play.
- The Washington Redskins are 4-2, 2-1 in NFC East play.
- The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-2, 0-1 in NFC East play.
- The New York Giants are 3-3, 1-1 in NFC East play.
With the Cowboys on a bye we'll see the Redskins in Detroit, the Eagles hosting a Sam Bradford-led Vikings squad, and the Giants in London taking on the Rams.
The NFC East was a collective joke last year, but it is the most intriguing division in football six weeks into 2016. As a result some interesting things are going to happen, and there is never interesting without boldness. Here are my 5 Bold Predictions. Let's roll.
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Matthew Stafford Throws 3 Touchdowns Against The Redskins In A Losing Effort
Matthew Stafford has thrown three or more touchdowns in four of six games this season, that's 66%. I like those odds.
Now even though Stafford's Lions have won three of these four games, 75% for you math nerds, I don't think that trend continues. Washington's secondary is beat up, and that's why Stafford is going to feast; however, Matt Jones is gaining steam behind Bill Callahan's Offensive Line.
Washington was without the services of Tight End Jordan Reed last week when they beat the Eagles, and in his absence Matt Jones delivered 135 yards... not to mention Jones helped the Redskins hold onto the ball for 34:13. That's Cowboys football.
Stafford is low-key awesome in 2016, and he'll get his in this game. The Redskins, thanks in large part to Bill Callahan, know how to grind out a game and win so they'll do so despite a great Stafford game.
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Sam Bradford Has Twice As Many Yards As Carson Wentz
In the eleventh hour of the preseason, the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off what seemed to be the biggest joke across the league when they sent quarterback Sam Bradford to the Vikings, who had just lost Teddy Bridgewater, for a 1st Round Pick and change.
The joke is apparently on all of us, and Sam Bradford is the one who pulled it. Bradford's Vikings, who he's started for since Week 2, are 5-0 and coming off a bye. Sam is, approximately seven weeks later, returning to the land that once scorned him. Goodnight, Eagles.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has been impressive. We all know that. He's just in for a test beyond his comprehension in the Vikings Defense, oh and Sam Bradford is pissed. Sammy not-so-short-sleeves is going to double Carson's yardage on Sunday. Bam.
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New York Giants Players Make A Statement Regarding Kicker Josh Brown
Thursday was a rough day for the National Football League. The recent revelations regarding Giants Kicker Josh Brown surely caused panic around the league offices, and the Giants certainly didn't escape water. They released a statement saying Brown would not fly to London with the team, and late Thursday evening they signed veteran kicker Robbie Gould.
2016 has been a weird season so far. Political protests have been all the rage, and tv ratings are down. Things feel... murky.
This whole situation is difficult for any team, but imagine being the Giants. They're in a foreign land and dealing with circumstances totally out of their normal routine (the irony here is that it's all for the purposes of growing the brand that refuses to do anything about Josh Brown). Can't you see some of them rallying together and doing something in response to all this? I can, because Odell Beckham Jr. likes attention so much he continues to use a kicking net as a prop.
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Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, And Eli Manning Will Combine For Six Interceptions
Kirk Cousins has six interceptions in as many games. Eli Manning has a six pack of picks as well. Carson Wentz, to his credit, has thrown a single pass into the arms of the other team.
This trio of misfits just wants to total six interceptions for me. I can smell it from their ineptitude!
Wentz is undoubtedly going to have his worst day against the Vikings defense so let's take one right there. Kirk is the human turnover so he's good for a double dosage of interceptions, and Eli... oh sweet Elisha. After a week of controversy and an adventure across the pond Eli is going to hit the trifecta of suckage with a hat trick of whoopsies.
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Each NFC East Team Will Miss A Field Goal
We've already addressed the difference in the Giants kicking game, and while Robbie Gould has been fairly consistent over the course of his career... jumping onto a team mid-week in another country is a tall order. He's good for a miss.
Eagles Kicker Caleb Sturgis has missed one field goal this season, as has Redskins Kicker Dustin Hopkins. One is all we need, baby!
At the end of the day everybody wishes they were/had Dan Bailey. The Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are all going to be painfully reminded that they don't have Bailey when each of their kickers poo-poo an opportunity at three points. Huzzah.
Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?
Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.
It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.
Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.
Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.
This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.
Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.
Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."
Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.
It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.
Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.
Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC
2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.
Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.
The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.
Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.
The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.
For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.
Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.
For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.
Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?
Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival
Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.
Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.
Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.
T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.
Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.
Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.
Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.
Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lo más importante de este partido...
Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.
Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.
Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.
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