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!
Jason Garrett Can’t be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?
One of the few positives most of us were looking forward to after the Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the fact that Scott Linehan would no longer be the offensive coordinator for America's Team. Everything was pointing to his dismissal, but that may not be the case according to Head Coach Jason Garrett.
Jason Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will return in 2019. "We don't anticipate any significant changes on our staff," Garrett said.
I can't say that I was happy upon learning Jason Garrett plans on retaining Scott Linehan as the Cowboys OC in 2019. In fact, my first thought was… Well, something better left unsaid. I'm sure many of you can kind of read my mind, because I'm pretty positive you had all that the same thoughts running through your head as well.
In all honesty, I didn't think there was a snowball chance in hell Scott Linehan would return to Dallas after the conclusion of the 2018 season. After all, the Cowboys nearly fired him during the bye week earlier this season, meaning his job security was already on thin ice. He didn't do anything to improve things in my opinion.
I know Jason Garrett has said Scott Linehan will return as the OC in 2019, but not for a second do I believe it. We are less than 72 hours hours removed from the Cowboys exit from the playoffs and I highly doubt any of Dallas' decision-makers has had the time to sit down and discuss who stays and who goes. In fact, I know they haven't.
Stephen Jones says they won't comment on anything with coaching staff but that they need to take a deep look at why they fell short. Says it a little early to speculate about players or coaches. They haven't had a meeting about it yet.
I think once the Cowboys brass sits down and reevaluates the 2018 season, they will come to the conclusion they can do better than Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator. There were just too many times throughout the season where the playcalling was a problem just. It's just time to move on, despite the vote of confidence by Jason Garrett.
Of course, this could just be me trying to read between the lines hoping and praying Scott Linehan is finally fired. Like many of you, I've grown way too tired of his predictable and dated playcalling. It's time to move on and find someone more innovative who can maximize the talent the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster, much like Kris Richard did with the defense.
You can either choose to believe Jason Garrett or not. I for one have a hard time seeing the Dallas Cowboys staying status quo with their coaching staff, especially their offensive coordinator. But, only time will tell.
Do you think it's time for the Dallas Cowboys to fire Scott Linehan?
Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright
If you were to have clicked over to Sportsbook Review, you could have seen what all the premier online sportsbooks were dealing on the Cowboys/Rams game before kickoff. Sites like Bovada, which incidentally you can read a Bovada Review at Sportsbook Review as well, had the Rams favored in every quarter, in both halves, and installed LA as seven-point favorites over Dallas. As is often the case, the number was nearly spot on as the Rams bounced our 'Boys out of the postseason 30-22. It was a heart-wrenching loss for Dallas fans everywhere but for those who put their money where their mouths were, it was particularly painful in what turned out to be a one-point difference between losing and pushing.
Let’s look on the bright side, though. The Cowboys not only copped the division crown but the draft picks from April bore fruit this season. Linebacker and No. 19 overall pick Leighton Vander Esch is a certified stud while third-round pick Michael Gallup proved he is a bona fide NFL receiver. Second-round offensive lineman Connor Williams had difficulties at left guard, but at the very least, has a season under his belt at the next level and could turn into a legitimate bodyguard for Prescott in 2019.
And let’s not forget about the trade for Amari Cooper, which turned Dallas from a squad struggling to find its identity to an NFC East champ in winning seven of its last nine games since Cooper arrived. This year’s edition also bested a tough Seahawks team in the first-round of the playoffs.
Let’s face it, folks, no one expected the Cowboys to win a Super Bowl this season and what we got was about as much as we could have hoped with the current roster as it is presently constructed.
Dak Prescott has one more year on his rookie contract and will be looking to score a big payday at the end of next season, if not sooner. The Cowboys could enter negotiations and lock Prescott up for the foreseeable future, but it might be best for both parties to see what 2019 brings and go from there. Either way, Dallas will pay beaucoup bucks to keep Prescott in a Cowboys uniform so watching and waiting will most likely be the tact management takes with their star quarterback, with a franchise tag in 2020 as an option as well.
In the team’s immediate future will be signing their second-round pick in 2014, DeMarcus Lawrence. The talented defensive end provided the Cowboys with the edge rusher they needed for parts of this season and his combined 25 sacks over the last two seasons would be nearly impossible to replace. Dallas franchised him this season but will most likely put together a long-term deal for Lawrence in the offseason.
Ezekiel Elliott has also reportedly been hinting at his own contract extension even though he is contractually committed to the Cowboys for next season with a team option in '20.
Ironically, one of the strengths of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years was a relatively weak link this season. The offensive line was decimated by injuries and Pro Bowler Travis Frederick missed the entire season. But those wounds will heal for next season and the old gang will be back together again.
The Cowboys have loads of cap space but are without a first-round pick due to the trade for Amari Cooper. Nevertheless, the young blood on the team looks poised to contribute for many years and there will be money available to woo free agents to a club now viewed as a legitimate contender.
If you want to look at next season’s odds, make sure to educate yourself on which online sportsbooks are the most reputable, trusted, and reliable. Read the Bovada Review over at SBR and see what customers are saying about one of the industry’s top sportsbooks. Then, when the lines come out on next season’s division, conference, and Super Bowl winners, you can be informed and maybe throw a few bucks on the 'Boys from Dallas!
Cowboys’ Window Depends On Maximizing, And Helping, Dak Prescott
Saturday night's Division Round loss was met with mixed reaction among Cowboys Nation.
Some fans, claiming they are the rational ones who hold the Cowboys to a higher standard, believe this might end up being their best chance at a Super Bowl for some time. The young players this roster is built around will only get older and more expensive as the years go by, and 2018 ends with yet another Jason Garrett-led playoff loss.
Other fans, claiming they are the rational ones, said that Dallas accomplished a lot this season, climbing back from a 3-5 start to win the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a competitive game to one of the league's best. This group believes that the Cowboys championship window is as open as it has been in years, with young talent galore on Dallas' roster.
Whether this is true, however, hinges on the shoulders of two individuals. One of which, ironically, hasn't even been named yet and the other a source of constant debate among those same segmented fans.
Those people, of course, are quarterback Dak Prescott and whoever ends up as the offensive coordinator in 2019.
Dak Prescott is a good quarterback.
Let's start there. I firmly believe that Dak Prescott did enough during his third season to earn the contract extension he will likely receive from the Cowboys within one of the next two offseasons. Especially once the Cowboys acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Clearly, Prescott is far from "perfect" is a passer. He makes mistakes in decision making, he sails some throws, and he sometimes exhibits inconsistent footwork when the pocket breaks down. But we focus too much on his mistakes while simply glossing over his accomplishments, talents, and upside.
Not only is Dak Prescott someone that the team responds to and believes in, but he is also a good football player. Prescott finished the 2018 season 12th in total Expected Points Added, ahead of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Baker Mayfield. He's also finished 3rd and 4th in raw QBR during his first two seasons in the NFL respectively. And, despite his slow start to 2018, Dak Prescott ended his third season on the best run of games in terms of QBR he has ever had.
Prescott is improving, and this is evident each week. He played more comfortably in the pocket over the last 6 games of the season, panicking less, taking fewer dumb sacks, and abandoning his technique fewer and fewer. And, while he doesn't run as often as many would like, the times Prescott does carry the ball often change drives and games.
And while I despise "QB Wins" as a determining statistic, the fact remains that bad quarterbacks don't win at the rate Dak Prescott does. Three straight winning seasons has been rare in Dallas over the last 15 years, and Prescott orchestrated this his first three seasons as a starter.
Passing Wins Championships.
Though very different than the old cliche, this appears more accurate by the season. The final four teams remaining in the NFL are each top 5 in passing DVOA, while not a single one has a top 10 defense by DVOA.
Neither the Chiefs nor the Rams have had a good run defense at all this season, but stopping the run doesn't matter as much as stopping the pass most weeks in today's NFL. I know this sounds absurd after the Cowboys run defense got abused by Los Angeles, but the numbers often bear this out.
The Cowboys have to do everything in their power to aid Dak Prescott and the passing offense this offseason. They need to draft another pass catcher, preferably with their second round pick. They need to continue to improve the chemistry between Prescott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
And, maybe most importantly, they need to hire an offensive coordinator who can maximize this passing game.
Scott Linehan simply is not the answer. And if the Cowboys are going to make the most out of whatever title window they may have, the offensive play caller will be the most critical man in the building going forward.
Unfortunately, latest reports point to Linehan returning in 2019.
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