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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
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.
Should the Dallas Cowboys Trade for These 2 Oakland Raiders?
The trade deadline on October 30th will be here faster than we know. It's the final opportunity that NFL teams will have an opportunity to make a significant upgrade to their roster. And if you're a frequent reader of the Dallas Cowboys, then you know that the Dallas Cowboys could use some help, especially on the offensive side of the football.
On Thursday, Marcus Mosher from The Raiders Wire on USA Today posed a hypothetical trade involving the Dallas Cowboys. In his scenario, he has the Dallas Cowboys trading for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and thinks that Cooper could net the Raiders a top 75 draft selection.
Amari Cooper is a good wide receiver, but he's not a receiver I would trade a top-75 pick for. Cooper is a player that has a lot of talent, but has struggled with drops and inconsistency. Even now, with the Raiders he's having a hard time getting consistent opportunities.
Cooper's second on the team in targets, but third on the team in receptions behind a tight end and a running back. Cooper's also third on the team in yardage behind the two guys that I'd be way more interested in trading for; Tight End Jared Cook and Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson.
Yes, these guys are on the wrong side of 30, but they are guys that have been around a long time and can help your offense this season. Both would be upgrades at the position, even at their advanced NFL age.
Jared Cook - Tight End
You've heard the adage, "if you can't beat em, join em." Well, this is the reverse of that. "If he always beats you, acquire him."
That's what Oakland Raiders Tight End Jared Cook is to the Dallas Cowboys. Point of evidence.
Uploaded by Kafin Walker on 2017-01-16.
That remarkable catch by Jared Cook still haunts me and many of you in Cowboys Nation. It was a perfectly thrown ball by Aaron Rodgers and Cook made an incredible catch along the sidelines that led to Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.
Jared Cook's Oakland Raiders team isn't going anywhere this season. They're already four games back of the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC is looking deeper than it has in recent years. The Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts are the only teams in the NFC with less than two losses. That means there are 14 teams with better records than Jon Gruden's Oakland squad. This week the Raiders face a Seattle Seahawks team that beat the Dallas Cowboys and lost by only a couple of points to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.
Cook has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season and would be a veteran presence that the Dallas Cowboys could add if they felt like they could make a run at the playoffs.
At 31, Cook is averaging six catches and 78 yards receiving per game. He'd give the Dallas Cowboys someone they could run on post, corner, and seam routes to challenge safeties deep. Something that they're lacking from the tight end position at the moment. Cook is leading the Oakland Raiders in targets, receptions, yards, and is second on the Raiders in touchdowns in 2018.
No offense to Geoff Swaim, who's been surprisingly good this year, but Jared Cook makes this offense better. He allows you to make Rico Gathers your TE3, which would allow Rico to continue learning the game without the responsibility of being a primary target on certain pass plays.
Jared Cook is in the last season of his deal, so you wouldn't have to be committed to him beyond 2018. The perfect rental who could step in and play pretty quickly.
Jordy Nelson - Wide Receiver
I know this team is allergic to adding veteran players, especially veterans over 30, but Jordy Nelson is another name that they should take a long look at.
At 33 years of age, Nelson leads the Raiders in receiving touchdowns and is second on the team with 15.9 yards per reception. He's also third in receptions and second in yards.
His numbers -- 20 receptions for 317 yards and three touchdowns -- would lead the Dallas Cowboys in all receiving categories.
Nelson's still got some juice left and he's always been a good route runner with good hands.
Here are some highlights from Jordy's week three performance against the Miami Dolphins.
Check out Jordy Nelson highlights, racking up 173 yards receiving! The Oakland Raiders take on the Miami Dolphins during Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season. Subscribe to NFL: http://j.mp/1L0bVBu Check out our other channels: NFL Vault http://www.youtube.com/nflvault NFL Network http://www.youtube.com/nflnetwork NFL Films http://www.youtube.com/nflfilms NFL Rush http://www.youtube.com/nflrush #NFL #Raiders #JordyNelson
Nelson doesn't have any guarantees left on the deal he signed this past offseason so if you cut him in the 2019 offseason, you'd get zero dead money added to your 2019 salary cap, but would get $7.2 million in savings.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Because of their age and the fact that they'd likely be one-year rentals, I don't imagine that you'd have to give up much more than a fifth round pick for either of these guys. And while I don't think the Dallas Cowboys would take a look at trading for either veteran, it's something they should do if they have aspirations of making the playoffs in 2018.
The Dallas Cowboys offense could use a boost.
What's the most you'd be willing to offer for either Jordy Nelson or Jared Cook?
Cowboys’ Issues Are Deeper Than The Division Race
Yesterday, Inside The Star staff writer Jess Haynie posed an interesting question: "could the wide-open NFC East help Jason Garrett's job security?"
The Dallas Cowboys started off their season a disappointing 2-3, but despite this rough start, they are right in the thick of things in the NFC East. The defending champion Eagles, who most expected to run away with the division, are now just 3-3. The lowly New York Giants are probably done at 1-5, and the Washington Redskins looked pathetic on Monday night, dropping to 2-2.
This division looks average at best, though I still somewhat expect the Eagles' talent to take over at some point and allow them to make a run. Still the Cowboys are alive, and if they can pull off the upset at home this Sunday, they may even be in first place come Monday morning.
So, Jess fairly asks, could this help Jason Garrett and the Cowboys' coaching staff keep their jobs? After all, it's rare you see an owner change coaches after remaining competitive within the division throughout most of the prior season. And given Jason Garrett's relationship with Jerry Jones, it might take an awful season to see any real change occur.
Here's the thing: this team could win the division at 9-7, and it would still be time for changes. Incompetence of others does not mean that you are competent, even if you are competent in comparison to those others.
The Cowboys have players openly questioning play calls, alluding to lack of trust in the quarterback, and pretty consistent drama swirling around the locker room. Yes, some of that is the media created Cowboy drama we always see, but there is disfunction within the organization without a doubt.
As a franchise the Cowboys need new blood in the building. To be honest, they could use a general manager separate from the Jones family name, but that is very unlikely to ever happen. So we focus on the coaching staff, specifically on the offensive side of the ball where the Cowboys have struggled the most.
Dallas is 29th in passing yards, 28th in passing yards per attempt, and tied for 26th in passing touchdowns through five weeks. Plainly put, they're horrible, and bringing back an offensive minded head coach and/or offensive coordinator who oversaw this terrible passing offense is counterproductive.
Regardless of where the Cowboys stand within this average division, they need to look themselves in the mirror this offseason. They need to be seriously comparing themselves to teams like the Rams (and not by lying to themselves like Jerry Jones did), not the 1-5 Giants.
The Cowboys should be striving for more than just being the best of a group of average football teams, and if that means cutting ties with Jason Garrett, then so be it.
Opposition Outlook: Versatile T.J. Yeldon Too Much for Dallas Cowboys?
If you haven't heard the news yet, then let me be the first to tell you. Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back Leonard Fournette has been ruled out of this week's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jaguars. Don't let his absence fool you, though, T.J. Yeldon is a back that can hurt the Cowboys in many ways.
T.J. Yeldon was the Jaguars second round pick out of Alabama in the 2015 NFL Draft and was expected to be a featured back for them. That never really materialized and the Jaguars then went out and selected Fournette early in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Yeldon is now more of a passing game back for the AFC South contender, but with Fournette out, he's getting an opportunity in a full-time role. He's not at all the same back as Fournette, as Yeldon has much more ability in the passing game.
Already in 2018, Yeldon's caught 22 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, which is more than any Dallas Cowboys wide receiver this season. T.J. Yeldon's averaging 8.8 yards per reception to go along with his 4.4 yards per carry on the season.
He's averaging 90 total yards per game on 16 touches and a touchdown a game. Even when Fournette was active in weeks one and four, Yeldon still received 17 and 21 touches in those games.
He's not at all an afterthought in the Jaguars offense and shouldn't be as the Dallas Cowboys defense prepares to stop them in week five.
Here's how he ranks among running backs with at least 24 targets:
- Tied for second in receiving touchdowns.
- 11th in receiving yards.
- 14th in reception percentage.
- Eighth in targets
- 10th in receptions
- Fourth in yards per reception
- Seventh in yards after catch
- Fifth in yards after catch per receptions.
- Sixth in receptions that led to a first down.
- Second in drops.
- He has the 10th highest quarterback rating among running backs when targeted.
T.J. Yeldon isn't the best back in the NFL, but as a dual purpose back, he's really good. He's 15th in the NFL in total yards and for two of those games he was sharing the load with a former top five pick.
The Dallas Cowboys have been really good against the run this season. They've allowed the 11th fewest rushing yards and their 3.4 yards per carry allowed ranks tied for second in the NFL. Where they've struggled is with running backs in the passing game.
Through five weeks this season, they've allowed running backs to go for 47.6 yards per game. In weeks one, two, and five, they allowed 66 yards receiving to Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Alfred Blue.
If there's an area where the Jaguars can exploit the Dallas Cowboys defense, it will be in targeting T.J. Yeldon in the passing game. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and (hopefully if he plays) Sean Lee will be enough to slow him down and make Blake Bortles take chances down the field.
Star Blog6 days ago
If Jason Garrett’s Out, Who’s In? Potential HC Candidates
Star Blog2 days ago
Should the Dallas Cowboys Trade for These 2 Oakland Raiders?
Player News6 days ago
Leighton Vander Esch Lands on List of NFL’s Top 10 Rookies
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dez Bryant Tweets Desire to Return to Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Did Garrett’s OT Decision Cost Him More Than Just the Game?
Star Blog5 days ago
Is Jason Garrett Losing the Cowboys Locker Room?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
3 Dallas Cowboys Players Who are Performing at an Elite Level
Game Notes2 weeks ago
Takeaway Tuesday: CB Awuzie Hasn’t Met Expectations in 2018