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!
Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?
When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.
It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.
Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.
Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.
Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.
The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.
Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating
Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating
As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.
Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Now, he just has to go out and prove it!
Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?
How Cowboys Could Regain a 2019 1st-Round Draft Pick
The Dallas Cowboys are currently without a 2019 first-round draft pick after acquiring Wide Receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders, but what if I were to tell you there was a way to regain another first-rounder? Well, with a little outside the box thinking I think there could be a way to accomplish just that.
It's completely hypothetical, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could possibly regain a first-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft with little finagling and good luck. Everything would have to fall into place perfectly, but I think it's definitely doable.
Remember, this is completely hypothetical with a lot of "what if's" involved, but the Cowboys could regain what they lost acquiring Amari Cooper and come out of it no worse for wear. I think there are a lot of different scenarios that could accomplish this feat, but only one of them that doesn't hurt the team in my opinion and it centers around Right Tackle La'el Collins.
I know you're probably going to think I'm crazy, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could possibly land a 2019 first-round draft pick if they decided to trade away RT La'el Collins. Trust me, I wouldn't suggest this if I didn't think there was somebody capable of stepping in and playing just as well.
Enter Connor Williams.
I always believed Connor Williams' best position in the NFL was at right tackle, not on the inside at guard. And yes, I was one of those advocating for Williams to play RT and Collins to move back to LG before the 2018 season started. I thought that gave the Cowboys their best starting five.
Williams has been serviceable at LG this season, but has been overpowered at times. His athletic ability would've been much better served on the outside at tackle, which is where I would play him next season, making La'el Collins expendable.
Again, I know what you're thinking. If you move Williams to RT and trade Collins, there is now a void at LG. Well, that's where Xavier Su'a-Filo comes into play. He is coming off a fantastic performance against the Philadelphia Eagles and a lot of Cowboys Nation is already advocating that he remains the starter over Connor Williams.
If Su'a-Filo can maintain the same level play he did against the Eagles, he probably remains the starter for the rest of the 2018 season. If this is indeed what happens, he could end up being the starter once again next season, making my plan of trading La'el Collins more feasible.
Were you able to follow all of that?
Keep Xavier Su'a-Filo at left guard
Move Connor Williams to right tackle
Trade La'el Collins
Like I said, this is all hypothetical, but something that could feasibly happen. Now we just have to wait and see if Xavier Su'a-Filo can continue to play like he did last week, because without him sticking at left guard none of this is possible.
I told you it was some out-of-the-box thinking.
Would you go along with the scenario to regain a 2019 first-round draft pick?
Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard?
Don't look now, but we may have another Ron Leary/La'el Collins situation unfolding before our eyes with Xavier Su'a-Filo and Connor Williams. Who ends up starting at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys the rest of the 2018 season is up in the air right now, but might not be for long.
Remember a few years ago when La'el Collins started the season at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys, but then had to miss time due to a toe injury. Ronald Leary took over during his absence and never looked back. It even earned him a big payday with the Denver Broncos.
Déjà vu anyone?
Yes, I'm talking about the hot topic of the hour as to whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should stick with Xavier Su'a-Filo at left guard or reinsert Connor Williams once he is healthy enough to return to the lineup? As with any debate, there are two sides of the coin.
Honestly, I can make an argument for both sides here. These are two different players and both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Su'a-Filo isn't as agile as Williams and relies more on his strength and power, whereas Williams is almost the complete opposite. Depending what the Cowboys coaching staff wants out of their LG, either player makes sense.
I could go into a long debate as to who I believe the Cowboys should start at LG moving forward, but I think that would be a waste of our time. I think this is a situation that will work itself out one way or another this week against the Atlanta Falcons.
Nothing is set in stone right now, but I have a hard time seeing Connor Williams being ready to play this week after having knee surgery. It would be unwise to rush him back before he's 100% healthy, especially after the way Su'a-Filo preformed against the Eagles. And if Su'a-Filo plays well once again, Williams may not get his starting job back.
See, I told you it was looking like a Ronald Leary/La'el Collins situation all over again.
This is a situation that many of us will be following closely this week and it may not only have ramifications on the rest of the 2018 season, but it could carry over into next year. Maybe Xavier Su'a-Filo remains at LG next year and Connor Williams moves to his more natural position (right tackle), making La'el Collins expendable. But that's a debate for another time.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should stick with Xavier Su'a-Filo at LG?
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