The NFL world has been a weird place for the last seven weeks.
Peyton Manning is terrible, Andy Dalton is awesome, Devonta Freeman is the hottest running back there is, and the Cowboys new-age triplets are Matt Cassel, Darren McFadden, and Brice Butler. What?
We need to leave this terrible world... specifically the world of the last four months where the Cowboys haven't put a single thing in the win column.
Come with me as I take you on a ride through the Week 8 NFL games where we get to a whole new world.
Do you trust me? You should.
I can show you the world. A shining, shimmering, splendid NFL world.. When did you last let your heart decide on something like that? I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over through what is and what isn't a catch... on a magic carpet ride through the National Football League!
Thursday Night Football: Miami Dolphins (3-3) At New England Patriots (6-0)
It would appear as if Dan Campbell has been granted at least two wishes as the Miami Dolphins are 2-0 during his tenure as interim coach. To be fair those are against some supposedly professional team called the Titans and a team who's backup quarterback didn't even care enough about playing for them that he missed the team flight to the game.
The Patriots don't need any wishes because they are too good for them. After a showdown against the division rival Jets they now get an opportunity to strengthen their grip on what feels like their four hundredth AFC East Crown. Too da loo, Dolphins.
Prediction: Dolphins - 17, PATRIOTS - 40
London Game: Detroit Lions (1-6) At Kansas City Chiefs (2-5)
London is going to hate us soon if we keep sending them such terrible games to watch. All they want to do is get into the American game of football, but we continually send them teams that don't know how to play it.
The Lions recently fired their offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, the grandson of the great Vince Lombardi. The football gods are going to smite them for this heinous crime as the Kansas City Chiefs call the Queen's Guard to come pick up the Lions after they dispose of them. Cheerio!
Prediction: Lions - 16, CHIEFS - 22
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) At Atlanta Falcons (6-1)
You had ONE job, Bucs. I never ask much of you (except to maybe get rid of those terrible uniforms) and you managed to mess up beating Kirk Cousins and the Redskins? FOR SHAME. Vincent Jackson doesn't even want to play for you anymore!
The Falcons better not read that and giggle. They barely beat the Zach Mettenberger-led Titans. Add that to the list of their super impressive wins: Eagles (Dude it's the Eagles), Giants (when Eli blew it), Cowboys (no Romo or Dez), Redskins (at least they did the job), and the Texans (the dunce of the NFL). This will be closer than most people think, but at the end of the day the Bucs will accomplish the one job they definitely know how to... losing football games.
Prediction: Buccaneers - 23, FALCONS - 26
Minnesota Vikings (4-2) At Chicago Bears (2-4)
It's so disappointing that the Bears are so terrible because this is one of the better division rivalries in football. Nevertheless the Bears are who we thought they were, a Jay Cutler fueled dumpster fire, and the Vikings are finding their 2015 form.
Stefon Diggs has really surprised some folks this season and I bet he'll continue this hot streak he's on as he will easily find a way to ravage the Bears. At least they have the Cubs, right? Oh wait...
Prediction: VIKINGS - 24, Bears - 13
Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) At Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
The Bengals earned a lot of "they're for real"s when they beat the Seattle Seahawks three weeks ago. I'm not here to refute that.
I'm here to say that these two teams hate each other and that with Big Ben back at their disposal... the Steelers are going to put up one ferocious fight.
This is going to be one of the better games of the weekend. The Steelers are going to ride an emotional high with their fearless leader back under center and, as they have for the better part of the 21st century, they're going to show the Bengals who's who in the AFC North.
Prediction: Bengals - 33, STEELERS - 38
Arizona Cardinals (5-2) At Cleveland Browns (2-5)
The Cardinals are awesome and the Browns are the Browns. That's all the analysis you need. High-five!
Prediction: CARDINALS - 30, Browns - 13
Tennessee Titans (1-5) At Houston Texans (2-5)
The fact that these two teams are allowed to compete professionally in the NFL should offend you.
I will say that the Titans have a certain "I don't completely hate everything about them" quality to their team, but the Texans are so past the point of no return that I wouldn't be shocked if they replaced their helmets with brown paper bags.
At least Ryan Mallett can sleep in on Sunday, right?
Prediction: TITANS - 22, Texans - 6
San Francisco 49ers (2-5) At St. Louis Rams (3-3)
It's pretty amazing that the Rams only have one more win than the 49ers, isn't it? I mean... you think about the two of them and you just think that the Rams are significantly better.
They will be on Sunday. Colin Kaepernick has completely forgotten how to play quarterback in the NFL and facing the megadeath pass rush from the St. Louis Rams isn't going to help things. Go Rams.
Prediction: 49ers - 16, RAMS - 24
New York Giants (4-3) At New Orleans Saints (3-4)
How's this carpet ride going? I can pull over if you need to use the bathroom or want a snack. Just say the word!
The national media might lay out the red carpet for Odell Beckham Jr. as he travels on down to Louisiana where he spent his collegiate days. They need to make sure and get him some tissues too because OBJ and the Giants are going to be boo-hooing their way back to New York after this game.
That's right! The Saints are kind of sort of a little bit just maybe the team that we're used to seeing in the Superdome. Drew Brees has them playing legit football (they beat the Colts as I correctly predicted last week) and the Giants offense is struggling... their offense only put up 13 points against the Cowboys. Yuck.
Prediction: Giants - 13, SAINTS - 31
San Diego Chargers (2-5) At Baltimore Ravens (1-6)
Not too long ago this would have been a really fun and awesome game of football to watch.
Now I'm going to watch it through my hands as I try to shield myself from the horror that they're both putting between 100 yards. Give me the Chargers, but just so I can move on from this mess.
Prediction: CHARGERS - 23, Ravens - 17
New York Jets (4-2) At Oakland Raiders (3-3)
I promised you a whole new world and this is living proof of that.
A game between the Jets and the Raiders is one of the best of the week.
As much as I like the Jets, I really do I promise Jets fans, I know that Ryan Fitzpatrick's clock is about to strike midnight and he's going to turn into a pumpkin or however that story goes.
Even if Ryan balls out, the Raiders are for real! Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper... my oh my. The Raiders are going to announce themselves as wildcard contenders in this game with a big win over the J-E-T-S.
Just win, baby.
Prediction: Jets - 27, RAIDERS - 30
Seattle Seahawks (3-4) At Dallas Cowboys (2-4)
I know that you patiently scrolled through all of the games just to get to this one. I thank you for that. And I promise you... it was worth it.
The Seahawks are a legit team. You know that.
They also allowed the San Francisco 49ers (a much less competent offense than the Matt Cassel-led Cowboys) to score 20 points on them last week.
Three out of the last four games (the exception being the Patriots game) the Cowboys have scored 28, 20, and 20. That's with a multitude of changes at major offensive positions. They can certainly hang 20 on the Legion of Boom.
Not to mention that Russell Wilson has been running for his life this season behind a terrible offensive line. Keep in mind that they've been terrible without facing Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, and the rest of the fun bunch.
Hold your head high this weekend, Cowboys Nation! We are, much like we did a year ago, taking out the Seattle Seahawks. Commence the celebration NOW!
Prediction: Seahawks - 17, COWBOYS - 23
Sunday Night Football: Green Bay Packers (6-0) At Denver Broncos (6-0)
There will be an unbelievable amount of hype given to this game as the two teams participating are both undefeated. That's fair.
What isn't fair is to compare the Broncos to the Packers. As great as his career has been, Peyton Manning is being completely carried by this Broncos defense. When Aaron Rodgers drops 30 points on them, he's just not going to be able to compete in that shootout.
The Meltdown in Mile High is on its way.
Prediction: PACKERS - 33, Broncos - 13
Monday Night Football: Indianapolis Colts (3-4) At Carolina Panthers (6-0)
"We have back-to-back number one overall picks squaring off!" will be the theme of the night. Yes, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck will meet. Hooray.
The Colts are also going to meet an onslaught of criticism when the Panthers push them around in this game. Superman flew all over Philadelphia last week and he's coming back for part two or whatever they're calling the new movie against the Colts.
Prediction: Colts - 20, PANTHERS - 34
Thus concludes our magic carpet ride. I hope it was as enjoyable for you as it was for me. Welcome to A Whole New World!
Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas
The Dallas Cowboys have what many believe to be the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. However, you can never undervalue the importance of depth at any position. When the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft came around, the Cowboys added another weapon to the backfield by selecting Tony Pollard out of Memphis.
If you’re looking for a dynamic player maker with the ability to take it to the house at any given moment, Pollard is your man. The former Tiger averaged a touchdown every 13 touches in college. That’s an absolutely insane statistic when you think about it. He also tied an NCAA record with seven kick returns for touchdowns. Long story short, he can get you six points at the blink of an eye.
The versatility in his game is outrageous and undoubtedly the reason why he was drafted. In addition to running for 941 yards on 6.8 yards per rush, he also had 104 receptions for 1,292 yards. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to be salivating about the possibilities with his new toy. Having a running back that can not only carry the load as a runner but also line up at receiver keeps the defense honest. You never know what angle the offense is going to come from.
This has to be a sigh of relief for Ezekiel Elliott. Now, the Cowboys don’t have to overexert him and can bring Pollard in on third downs if need be. Not just to give Elliott a breather but to change the pace of the offensive attack. You can hand the ball off, throw it to him or run jet sweeps when he is on the field. This sets up a potential combo at running back that could be the leagues very best shortly.
Speed, quickness, and agility are all wrapped up in the Tony Pollard package. The Cowboys now have a running back that can line up at multiple positions if need be. Also, this prevents a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the body of Ezekiel Elliott. This combination has all the potential to set the NFL on fire in 2019.
CB Byron Jones Not Expected To Return Until Week 1 Against NYG
Coming off what was clearly the best season of his career thus far, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent surgery to hopefully fix a nagging hip injury.
While he earned both his first All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2018, his first season as a full-time cornerback, Jones still has a lot to prove in the upcoming season. Some still criticize him for his lack of interceptions, and there's no doubt his stellar play slowed down a bit towards the end of the year.
I'm willing to wager that the slight decline had a lot to do with his hip troubles, but nonetheless he must come up with his elite level play once again to earn himself a nice contract somewhere in 2020.
Oh, did I forget to mention it's also a contract year for Byron Jones? As it is for so many important Dallas Cowboys, it seems.
So when will Byron Jones be able to return to the Cowboys' lineup? Well, the initial date reportedly set by Jones and the team was late July, giving him a chance to practice and play a bit before the season opener in September. But, according to the Team Site this week, that date may be pushed back a bit, and we might not see Byron Jones until that season opening game against the Giants.
"As for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills." - Mickey Spagnola
Ultimately, as long as Byron Jones is good to go when the regular season starts, that's all that matters, but the fear of rust when Jones returns is a real one.
It's tough to go from no live football straight to the meaningful games, but if anyone would be able to do it it would be the guy with the freakishly athletic traits. The guy who can get out of the bed in the morning and set athletic records at the Combine.
And, of course, that guy is Byron Jones.
Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure
When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.
The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.
Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.
2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.
Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.
He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.
If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.
He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
5 Cowboys Players Who Could Steal Someone’s Job in 2019
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
How Chidobe Awuzie Could Help Solidify the Cowboys Safety Position
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Jason Garrett: It’s Time for the Process to pay off
Player News2 weeks ago
3 Reasons Why Byron Jones May Not be in Dallas Cowboys Future
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019: Projecting Dak Prescott’s Production
Star Blog1 week ago
Forget “Slump,” OL Connor Williams Looking To Make Sophomore Jump In 2019
Star Blog7 days ago
The Ringer Names Byron Jones, La’el Collins As Potential Trade Bait
Player News2 weeks ago
Taco Charlton: The Next Step has to be Taken now