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What Games Can Cowboys Win Without Tony Romo?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Schedule Breakdown For Dak Prescott Through The Bye

The Dallas Cowboys have pretty much rolled out the red carpet for rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, at least until Tony Romo returns to 100%. That's not exactly bad news considering how well Prescott has exceeded expectations and performed on the field during the first three preseason games for the Cowboys.

There is still a lot of optimism surrounding this Cowboys team, even though their projected starter (Tony Romo) and backup (Kellen Moore) are both dealing with injuries causing them to be out for an unspecified amount of time.

Normally, we would hear a lot of talk about tanking the season in order to have a top draft pick, but things have changed. And that has everything to do with the belief Dak Prescott can keep this high-powered Cowboys offense firing on all cylinders.

Tony Romo is said to be out anywhere from 4-8 weeks to 6-10 weeks. Because of this I decided to breakdown the schedule with Prescott at the helm to determine what the record might look like heading into their Week 7 bye.

By then, we should know if Romo could possibly return after the Cowboys bye week, or if we will see more of Prescott.

Here is a quick look at the Dallas Cowboys' opponents over the first six weeks of the 2016 season and my win/loss prediction.

Opponent Could Dak Prescott win?
New York Giants No
@Washington Yes
Chicago Yes
@San Francisco Yes
Cincinnati No
@Green Bay No
Bye Week

Would you be satisfied at .500 heading into the bye?

Well, that's how I see things possibly breaking down, as of right now, if Dak Prescott continues to play the way he has been.

It's always tough to predict NFL matchups because there is so much turnover year after year; it's really hard to figure out what the team will look like based on what they have been able to accomplish in the preseason.

Having said that, let me try to break this down a little further by examining each individual opponent.

New York Giants - Week 1

When the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants face off against one another, you can pretty much guarantee that the outcome will come down to the final seconds on the clock. I don't predict that to change any, not even with Dak Prescott leading the Cowboys' offense.

The Giants used the offseason to try to upgrade their defense and spent heavily to bring in some of the top free agents to accomplish that. Whether it pays off or not is still the question, but I think they'll throw everything (including the kitchen sink) at Prescott trying to confuse/harass him.

I do, however, think the Cowboys can win this game if they can find success in the running game and control the clock with Ezekiel Elliott.

Ultimately, I give a slight advantage to the Giants, which unfortunately means Dak Prescott loses his first regular-season game in the NFL.

@Washington Redskins - Week 2

I don't know who was in charge of coming up with the 2016 schedule, but they didn't do the Dallas Cowboys any favors by scheduling back-to-back division opponents in the first two weeks of the season.

Fortunately, I think the Cowboys match up really well against the Redskins, and even though they're playing their first away game of the season, I see them coming away with their first win in 2016.

Kirk Cousins played surprisingly well in 2015, but whether he can have a repeat performance has yet to be seen. Even the Redskins are waiting to see what he does before they offer him a long-term extension, so you can read whatever you want to into that.

This game will be particularly interesting because we'll get to see Dez Bryant and Josh Norman face off against one another. I think the Cowboys will impose their will with their offensive line and running game.

Chicago Bears - Week 3

The Dallas Cowboys will play their first non-division game at AT&T Stadium against the Chicago Bears in Week 3 of the 2016 season.

The Cowboys' and Bears' 2015 seasons were oddly similar and they both finished last in their respective divisions. But fortunately for the Cowboys, they aren't really in a transitional phase like the Bears.

Head coach John Fox is entering his second year with the Bears and he is still transitioning his defense from the 4-3 to the 3-4. I think the high-powered Dallas Cowboys offense will be too much for the Bears' defense, and quarterback Dak Prescott will have his best professional game in prime-time on Sunday night.

If there is a must-win game during the first six weeks of the season for the Cowboys, I believe this is the one. This game alone could have huge playoff implications and for that reason I think the Cowboys' coaching staff will do everything in their power to ensure a W.

@San Francisco 49ers - Week 4

There is absolutely nothing about the San Francisco 49ers that scares me, not one bit, and I think this could possibly be the safest bet for the Dallas Cowboys to win with Dak Prescott playing quarterback.

On both offense and defense, the 49ers really lack players that can make a big difference in the game. New head coach Chip Kelly has yet to make the kind of impact in the NFL that both he and everyone else might have expected.

The Dallas Cowboys know what to expect from Chip Kelly and should come out and completely dominate this game in all phases. I fully expect the Cowboys to have their highest scoring game of the season and come away with their third win of the year.

Cincinnati Bengals - Week 5

The Cincinnati Bengals are perhaps one of the better balanced teams on both offense and defense in the entire NFL.

They are projected to make a strong push to make the playoffs in 2016 and could possibly be the toughest defense that Dak Prescott has faced to this point.

On offense, the Bengals have the play-makers to make the game miserable for the Cowboys defense. Andy Dalton throwing to AJ Green will really test the Cowboys secondary, but the Bengals also like to be physical at the point of attack, and will try to be dominate up front with the running game, led by Jeremy Hill.

This is going to be a really tough test for the Dallas Cowboys, in all phases of the game. Unfortunately, I don't think Dak Prescott can do enough to come away with a victory at home.

@Green Bay Packers - Week 6

Any team traveling to Lambeau Field and secure with the thought they can come away with a victory are either delusional or know something I don't. Lambeau Field is arguably the toughest venue to play at and that doesn't bode well for the Dallas Cowboys in their Week 6 matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

A Packer offense led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers is always dangerous, but after an injury-plagued 2015 season, Jordy Nelson should be back to 100% to pick up where he left off pre-injury. This should make the Packers' offense one of the best in the NFL and is the sole reason why I think they beat the Dallas Cowboys.

As talented as I think Dak Prescott is, I don't believe he can match Aaron Rodgers touchdown for touchdown. And I don't even want to think about how the Cowboys defense will look against the Packers offense at home.

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If you're stoked about Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop just got his jerseys in. Check it out, and get your new Dak Prescott jersey today!

Can Dak Prescott do better than 3-3 before the bye week?

Please take advantage of the comment section below and tell us your prediction of Dak Prescott's win/loss record in the first six weeks of the 2016 season.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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48 Comments
  • beast

    4-2

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I think 4-2 is a fairly realistic record heading into the bye. The only real loss that I see is against Green Bay. How ecstatic would Cowboys fans be if Prescott had a 5-1 record heading into the bye week?

      • Billy

        Dak has inherited every starting position at every level of his football career because of injuries to named starters , which tells me that he may not have talents and measurables the eyes can see but there is something about his aura on a football field that just brings a calm and quiet confidence to those around him I have watched my Dallas Cowboys long enough to trust my gut and what I have seen so far excites me I do not put anything past him 5-1, 6-0 would not shock me until proven otherwise I am quite comfortable with Dak.

        • Brian Martin

          Billy, I think I pretty much agree with everything you said. I do however believe he has the talent to be successful in the NFL. I’ve been paying close attention throughout training camp practices and have noticed that Prescott doesn’t look very good in practices, but seems to excel when he’s in a game situation. And you’re right, he does have a commanding presence when on the field. I think the team will rally around that. I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs while Romo is hurt.

  • Joey

    If dak is 5-1 and tony is health after the bye week does tony get his job back?

    • Brian Martin

      If that’s the scenario, I think the Dallas Cowboys would give Romo more time to recover from his back injury. I think they would continue to go with Prescott if he’s performing that well. Thanks for taking the time to leave, Joey.

  • Tim Felder

    Win all. Six

    • Brian Martin

      Tim, that would be absolutely amazing.

  • http://The%20Star Mingo Rodriguez

    I say we go 4 -2 or maybe 5 – 1 this
    Kid is going to be the real deal. Our offense is going to be deadly Go Cowboys Mingo Arizona.

    • Brian Martin

      Mingo, I think those are realistic expectations. Prescott has a lot of the intangibles you look for a QB, but he really hasn’t gone up against a defense that has tried to game plan for him yet. It is because of that alone I said 3-3. I think the only pretty much guaranteed loss would be playing Green Bay at home.

  • Vaughan

    You really think the Dallas Secondary can guard all the passing weapons the Skins have at their disposal?

    • Brian Martin

      Yes, I think it’s possible. But I also think the Cowboys offense can put more points on the board than the Redskins. I think the Cowboys defense can do enough to keep the Redskins offense from outscoring the Cowboys offense. Sometimes that’s all it comes down to. Thanks for leaving a comment Vaughan.

  • Thomas

    I think Dak will be just fine with all the help he got I can see him goin 4-2 or maybe even 5-1 go cowboys

    • Brian Martin

      I agree Thomas, but at the same time I’m curbing my expectations until I see how Prescott performs against a defense that is actually game planning against him.

  • Deven

    Dak the man

    • Brian Martin

      We all hope so Deven

  • James

    4-2 Dallas beats NewYork to open the season. New York has a new Head Coach.

    • Brian Martin

      James, Ben McAdoo is actually in his second season as head coach for the New York Giants. To me, the game against the Giants as a tossup. I can see it going either way.

  • Brian

    I’m guessing 4-2, maybe even 5-1. The Giants game as you said is always a toss up but I think with scandrick back to hold ODB a little and with how bad that Giants line really is we take that one. Going to Lambeau is as tough a challenge as any so that’s an L. Other then that I think they are all very winnable games. The redskins are a good match up for us as are the bears, and I think my flag football team could give San fran a run this year. Bengals would be the only one I think could go either way.
    Let’s not forget we drafted zeke over a CB for this exact reason to take the pressure off romo so we’re built to weather this scenario

    • Brian Martin

      Brian, I agree with everything you said. I took the cautious approach with 3-3 because we have yet to see Prescott in a game where a defense is actually game plans for him. I do however think that all of these games are winnable, with probably the exception of playing Green Bay at home.

  • James

    The Cowboys will never lose another game. Ever.

    • Brian Martin

      James, I like your mindset LOL. I guess anything is possible

  • Mason Tapp

    Yo the cowboys will get rolling after 4 games when our suspensions on defense are out and hopefully, Giants-Win with Eli throwing easy picks even though they have a huge recieving core but a vounerable offensive line, Redskins-Win dak can play agajnst that secondary like its nothing with a healthy line, zeke can kill and redzone will be easy with our recieving plus our backs of morris and zeke. Bears-Win because ya… Packers-Loss, at lambeau, we have had good history plus our away game winning percentage but aaron is too strong with reading the field and escaping our rush plus a healthy jordy Bengals-W honestly, bengals defense isnt as great as hype gives it plus they have lost some and they have a good runblocking scheme but i think this is a close one we could win and 49ers-Win i mean if blane gabert is a stater rolling into that game, you have a good chance plus a healthy hyde is rare and cowboys will win this in my opinion
    -Mason, Frisco

    • Brian Martin

      Mason, I can’t disagree with anything you said. The Cowboys could be very well at 5-1 when they enter their bye week. I personally chose a side of caution because Prescott has yet to face a defense that has actually been game planned for him. I do agree however think that all of these games are winnable, with maybe the exception of playing Green Bay at Lambeau Field.

  • Jim Neely

    Seriously? Have you watched the Giant games in preseason? They are appallingly badly coached on the offensive side of the ball, and all that spending on the defense doesn’t make up for bad coaching there, either. I do not see the Cowboys losing this game to an Eli-led team: he has been dreadful in the first three preseason games.

    • Brian Martin

      Jim, I agree that the Giants have looked terrible in the preseason. However, they always seem to perform their best when they are playing against the Cowboys. I see this game as being a tossup.

  • TRIMAINE CLARK

    I got 4-2 at its worst with losses to gb and maybe ny but if everyone else can stay healthy, if the defense bends but dont break and if we pound with the running game setting up many play action scenarios for Dak, then we will be ok!!!!

    • Brian Martin

      Trimaine, I truly believe that all of these games are winnable with the exception of maybe playing Green Bay at home. I’m just a little bit concerned that Prescott might just be a flash in the pan and may regress a little bit in his play once defenses start to actually game plan for him. That’s the only reason I went with 3-3. I could easily see them going 4-2 or 5-1.

  • Zdallas

    I can see a 4-2 start from the boys I don’t think the Giants can get consistent pressure with the front 4 with our oline if zeke is as advertised I think we can play keep away and win not sure we can do that against gb or cinci

    • David caudill

      I think the Cowboys could be 5-0 with Prescott I know the Cowboys could beat the New York Giants Cincinnati Bengals the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins

      • Brian Martin

        David, I like your confidence. I hope you’re right.

  • http://None Trimaine CLARK

    I can see 4-2 at its worst and 5-1 at its best with the guaranteed loss to gb and possibly ny. As long as everyone else stays healthy, the defense bends but dont break and we pound em with the running game setting up alot of possible play action scenarios then we will be ok!!!! If we get to one of those records then i wouldn’t rush Tony back too fast

  • http://Inside%20the%20star Dave

    4 and 2 would be wonderful…as long as they let Dakota do his thing hell be ok

    • Brian Martin

      I agree Dave.

  • George Johnson

    Brian: I am surprised by all the optimism. I think your 3-3 prediction is just about right. Dak has played outstanding but it is too early and too few games to judge too much about his abilities/skills. He is a rookie and greenhorn who has a lot to learn/develop. I haven’t seen him receive a lot of pressure yet, many receivers have seemed to be pretty open and I assume the play calling was simplified for Dak until he gets more experience/reps. He also seemed to be lucky on a couple of throws such as the touchdown in Seattle. I fully expect him to come back down to earth during season games and with defensive game planning for him as you said. The outstanding offensive line and running game should allow for a certain amount of offensive success especially if Dak can avoid too many mistakes and the coaches develop a game plan that fits his strengths and weaknesses. My guess is the real determination of wins and losses will more likely be how well the Dallas defense does. If the Dallas defense is not very good it will be hard to win even three games out of the first six.

    • Brian Martin

      George, that’s pretty much the way I see things as well.

  • Michael

    could the Giants create a in depth gameplay against a QB who’s only tape is on 3 half preseason games? I feel the giants will not fully know what they have to deal with until they play against Dak which should give him a slight advantage.

    • Brian Martin

      The Giants don’t have to create a really in-depth game plan for Prescott. So far, Prescott has only seen vanilla defenses in the preseason. He hasn’t really seen teams disguising their coverages or blitzes. I think that’s what might give him the most trouble.

  • David caudill

    I know the Cowboys to be 6-0 the Cowboys can beat the New York Giants Washington Redskins Cincinnati Bengals San Francisco 49ers Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers Prescott is a good quarterback then when Romo comes back we will win the rest

    • Brian Martin

      The Green Bay game is the one that worries me the most. It’s really tough to go into Lambeau Field and come away with a victory.

  • http://Bleacher%20report LAQUAN MEDLIN

    5-1 ZEKE will run for 195 and 3tds in LAMBEU field Demarco Murray shoulda ran for 250 plus yards in two games against GREENBAY if we ain’t abandon run game

    • Brian Martin

      Laquan, I can definitely see 5-1 entering the Cowboys bye week. Ezekiel Elliott will definitely be a major reason why the Cowboys are successful in 2016. I don’t know if he’ll be able to run for nearly 200 yards against Green Bay if the Packers are able to jump out to an early lead though.

  • http://na scott edgmand

    I have looked at the first 6 games and I don’t know the giants aren’t relevant 200 million dollar mistake doesn’t make them any better I see 6-0 actually I don’t see cowboys losing any of the first nine games I cant figure out how any team is going to bet them thru 9 green bay I believe is on a slide with or without Jordy. personal opinion. don’t hate. manning has been horrible in preseason odell if he was a game changer why haven’t they made a play off since he been there they got worse. giants are horrible Washington is good not good enough philly , where do I begin the cleaning up after hurricane chip. dallas goes 12-4 wins the east and the conference and surprise faces either titans or jags in the superbowl again people don’t hate I respect all comments please respect mine

    • Brian Martin

      Scott, you definitely make very valid points. I think if Dak Prescott continues to play like he’s played in preseason, then I would absolutely agree with you. I however am taking the kind the of wait-and-see approach. I want to see Prescott perform like he has been against defenses that are actually game planning for him. If he can do that I think the Cowboys are a playoff team, with or without the return of Romo. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing everyone’s opinions.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1097178670330819/ Kenneth Dickson

    I understand why you are sceptical and can see 2 of the losses you have predicted. However I don’t believe NY will be as hard of a test as you think. I know the games are always won or lost in the fourth quarter against them but I think we will pull out the win. The only major obstical I see is Greenbay. It is very difficult to go into Lambeau field and beat them. I’m gonna predict either a 4-2 or 5-1 record. I have to agree that the Bengals are a pretty complete team but I don’t think their defense is as good as it’s made out to be. I’m hoping for the best for the Boyz….

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Kenneth. My reasoning for predicting 3-3 is mostly based on the fact that we really haven’t seen Prescott play when opposing defenses are actually game planning for him. If he continues to play like he has been I can absolutely see them going 4-2 or 5-1.

  • Jerry

    I say we start 4-0 then lose to CIN and GB…Dak is gonna struggle against CIN defense and Lambo is a tough place to play…however…this will be Dez’s chance to exact revenge for “The Catch”…last season he wasn’t healthy enough and didn’t have a decent QB…so he might be a man possessed in the GB game…also Dak has told him if he’s single covered he’s gonna throw it to him…so we have a slight chance at 5-1…but 4-2 is more likely…3-3 if Dak doesn’t do as well as we hope

    • Brian Martin

      Jerry I like your predictions for Prescott for the first six games of the season. I think it’s very reasonable to think he can go 4-2 or 5-1. I just took the side of caution predicting 3-3. I’m hoping that I’m wrong and Prescott can come out and completely dominate.

Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys vs the New York Giants: Stock Up and Stock Down

John Williams

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The Jaylon Smith We've Been Expecting Is Finally Here

The Dallas Cowboys bounced back in a big way against the New York Giants in week two. Several players bounced back as well after struggling a bit in week one against the Carolina Panthers. Other players continued to struggle or saw a drop in play from week one to week two.

Here are the Dallas Cowboys who saw their stock rise and some who saw their stock fall this week.

Stock Up

Jaylon Smith, Linebacker

Jaylon Smith has been really good to start the season and had an excellent game against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Every day Smith is removed from the devastating knee injury he suffered in his final game at Notre Dame is a day closer to realizing the elite play that many expected of him before the injury.

Pro Football Reference credited the starting middle linebacker with seven solo tackles and three assists. Pro Football Focus had Jaylon Smith with 3 stops -- plays that were a "loss" for the offense -- while becoming a stabilizing force for the linebacker position.

Byron Jones, Cornerback

The fourth year player who has made a successful move from safety to cornerback, Byron Jones has been everything the Dallas Cowboys hoped he'd be when they made him their first round pick back in 2015.

Shame that it took so long to get him to cornerback.

Against a potent New York Giants receiving corp, Jones only allowed one reception on five targets on Sunday night. He also had six solo tackles and three stops, per Pro Football Focus.

The one reception that Pro Football Focus credited to Byron Jones was by Running Back Saquon Barkley and that catch went for zero yards.

So on the night, Byron Jones allowed zero yards into his coverage areas. He's really good at cornerback and is taking to Kris Richard's coaching quite nicely.

Dak Prescott, Quarterback

After much gnashing of teeth after the week one loss to the Carolina Panthers, Dak Prescott rebounded with a strong, confident performance in the Dallas Cowboys week two win over the Giants.

He completed 64% of his passes for 160 yards and ran for 45 yards on seven carries. The passing yardage isn't huge, but on a night in which the defense was absolutely dominant, Dak Prescott made the plays that needed to be made for the Dallas Cowboys to win the game.

He was great in the read-option on Sunday night, perfectly executing it for several really good runs.

The throw to Tavon Austin on the third offensive play from scrimmage was a great throw that set the tone for the Dallas Cowboys the rest of the night. His yards per attempt and passer rating were both improved from week one and he just looked better.

If Dak Prescott can continue to put together performances like this, the Dallas Cowboys will win a lot of games this season.

Connor Williams, Left Guard

After getting pushed around for much of last week's game by Kawann Short, rookie Connor Williams rebounded with a really nice game.

Williams didn't allow a pressure all night and the offensive line was much better as a whole. The unit didn't allow a sack against the New York Giants.

According to Pro Football Focus, Elliott's biggest run of the night came behind Connor Williams at left guard.

Williams is an important piece to the puzzle and if he's playing well, it will provide better pockets for Dak Prescott.

Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver

After seeing only 10 snaps in week one, Tavon Austin was on the field for nearly twice as many and made them count as he ended with two receptions for 79 yards and had one rush for 15 yards.

That's 94 total yards on three touches. The "Tavon Effect" was in full force last night as the team used his speed to their advantage. Even when the ball didn't go his direction he had an effect on the game.

Damien Wilson, Linebacker

Seemingly the odd man out after the Dallas Cowboys selected Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Damien Wilson had an excellent game in his limited playing time.

Wilson played 17 defensive snaps and 22 snaps on special teams and was credited with three solo tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He's was excellent on Sunday night in the snaps he was given.

It's unlikely that we'll see a big snap increase for him with the talent ahead of him on the depth chart, but he provided very valuable snaps when given the opportunity.

Stock Down

Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver

Terrance Williams who has been a starter for several years now with the Dallas Cowboys, and even started week one, saw his snap count drop from week one to week two. After seeing 19 snaps against the Carolina Panthers, he was onlyon the field for 10 snaps in week two.

There's been speculation as the Dallas Cowboys have resigned former Wide Receiver Brice Butler that Terrance Williams could be the odd man out of the wide receiver room. That snap count is either an indication of his status on the team or the game plan they had against the New York Giants.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Williams moving forward.

La'el Collins, Right Tackle

A week after allowing four pressures, most along the offensive line, La'el Collins allowed three more pressures on Sunday night against the New York Giants. He was the only offensive lineman to allow multiple pressures and appeared to struggle with the Giants blitz and stunt schemes.

The New York Giants had rushers go unblocked at times on Sunday night.

Dak Prescott wasn't sacked against the Giants, but he had to avoid some pressure on that side to throw the ball away.

Collins has to be better against the pass rush going forward to keep Dak Prescott clean and able to play better.

Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends

The Dallas Cowboys' tight end group of Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, and Rico Gathers did not have a single catch to their name on Sunday night. There were opportunities that were missed, like the Dak Prescott overthrow to Rico Gathers in the end zone. However, not being able to come up with a single catch against the Giants is a bit surprising.

Speaking frankly, their isn't a receiving threat on the TE depth chart. They need to become a factor at some point to help take pressure of Dak Prescott and give him another option in the passing game. The Dallas Cowboys prefer to run most of their formations with a tight end on the field. They need to be a factor

The Cowboys Nation Twitter account asked David Helman from DallasCowboys.com to look up when the last time the Dallas Cowboys tight ends finished a game without a reception.

Mark Lane from WFAA.com and the Texans Wire found the information.

Mark Lane on Twitter

@HelmanDC @CowboysNation @SullyBaldHead @Marcus_Mosher @CHQ_Jordan @FO_ScottKacsmar When you do, Dave, tell them that Mark Lane found it at 1:15 a.m. Central Time. It was Dec. 1, 2016 at the #Vikings. https://t.co/XS3FVrWhT8

It's unbelievable that there was a game played in which Jason Witten was around for that he didn't have a reception, and yet, there it is.

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Were there any players that moved the needle in either direction for you?

Let us know in the comment section. 

 



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Dallas Cowboys

Will Cowboys Safety Xavier Woods Return This Week?

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Have Their Version of Tryann Mathieu in Xavier Woods?

The Dallas Cowboys have been without one of their defensive starters for the first two weeks of 2018; safety Xavier Woods. A preseason hamstring injury has kept him in street clothes so far, but Woods could make his season debut this week against the Seattle Seahawks.

The positive update on Woods' status was provided by Owner Jerry Jones in his regular radio appearance this morning.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jerry Jones on @1053thefan said it appears Randy Gregory (concussion) will be available to play Sunday at Seattle. Jones also thinks Xavier Woods (hamstring) has a chance to play this week after missing the first two games

Gregory has already played this year, suffering his concussion and leaving the season opener against the Carolina Panthers. Even in his absence last week, the Cowboys got six sacks on Eli Manning in their victory over the Giants.

That's not to say getting Randy back isn't noteworthy, but the real news here is the potential for Xavier Woods to take his place as the team's starting free safety.

While Woods has been out, Jeff Heath has been the free safety while Kavon Frazier has started at strong. The plan going into 2018 was for Heath to play strong safety, putting him closer to the line of scrimmage where his skills are best suited.

Xavier was one of the team's most exciting rookies last year, flashing the potential to be a game-changing presence.

Woods' upside is one of the reasons some fans haven't been as desperate about the Earl Thomas situation. While Thomas would be an upgrade in almost any defense, including the Cowboys, the chance to see what Xavier has mitigated disappointment over not acquiring the All-Pro safety.

Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys Safety Xavier Woods

If Woods can provide what the team hopes for at free safety, it has a positive ripple effect for the roster. Not only do you upgrade at FS, but Heath moving to his ideal role at SS is another improvement.

It also moves Frazier, who's been solid in his playing time, into a valuable bench role. It gives Dallas depth at safety which, up til now, they've lacked in Xavier's absence.

The loser in this deal would likely be either veteran backup Ibraheim Campbell, who Dallas signed two weeks ago to deal with their depth issues, or undrafted rookie Tyree Robinson. Robinson has been with the team since they signed him immediately after the 2018 NFL Draft.

With talk that the Cowboys are looking to bring back WR Brice Butler, a roster spot will be needed. Xavier Woods' return could allow for that spot to come from safety rather than receiver, where Dallas is hesitant to part with any of its current players.

In the end, all we have right now is a "maybe" about Woods' status. But with Dallas' defense already performing well this year, the thought of getting even better is enticing. With the tough road environment of Seattle and Russell Wilson coming up this Sunday, getting Xavier back could be timely.



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Game Notes

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Giants

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Giants

I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better this week about the Dallas Cowboys after they thoroughly controled the game against the New York Giants last Sunday night. It amazes me how much better they played in the second week of the 2018 season as opposed to what they put on the field Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.

The Dallas Cowboys performed better in all three phases of the game. The defense was simply outstanding, the offense looked much improved, and the fact that there weren't any breakdowns on special teams is an added plus. Overall, it's hard to be too disappointed with the way the overall team performed Sunday.

With all of that in mind, I want to share with you what I believe is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys from the primetime matchup with the division rival New York Giants. I know you may disagree with what I decided to go with in each category, but that's part of the fun of it.

The Good

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

If you watched the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants Sunday night then you pretty much know what the good was. How could I not go with the Cowboys defense? They were simply phenomenal against the Giants and are starting to become the identity of this year's team.

The Cowboys pass rush continuously put pressure on Quarterback Eli Manning and ended the game with six QB sacks. Nearly every defensive lineman got in on the action, which is hopefully a sign of things to come. The secondary was also really impressive. They played man-to-man coverage nearly the entire game and shut down the Giants aerial attack, including Odell Beckham Jr.

I was also really pleased to see the Cowboys linebackers playing much better. You may not have noticed, but the coaching staff is going with a rotation of sorts with the LBs, and it really looked as if it's helping keep them fresh. This could pay huge dividends moving forward, especially with Sean Lee's injury concerns.

The Bad

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

I debated several different things to put in this section, but ultimately I decided the bad for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night was Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game. Yes, it was better than what we saw from them in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done from both Prescott and his receivers.

Unfortunately, Prescott only completed 16 of 25 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown against the Giants. Those are nearly identical numbers to what he put up against the Panthers, the only difference is he was much more successful on the ground, rushing for 45 yards on seven carries. If you take away his long TD completion to Wide Receiver Tavon Austin, those numbers are even more depressing.

The passing game and Dak Prescott needs to improve dramatically. The Cowboys simply aren't going to be able to continue to win games like this. The offense should've been able to put up a lot more points on the Giants Sunday night. Hopefully, things will continue to get better because if not, the Cowboys are in trouble.

The Ugly

There was a number of different directions I could've gone here, but for me the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Giants was the penalties. Penalties became a problem for the Cowboys in Week 1 against the Panthers and once again reared their ugly head against the Giants. Unfortunately, this has continuously been a problem under the tutelage of Head Coach Jason Garrett.

The Dallas Cowboys were lucky that the untimely penalties didn't have much impact on the outcome of the game. If they would have been playing a better team than the Giants, they probably wouldn't have overcome the long down and distances. I want to believe this can be cleaned up, but Jason Garrett's going to have to start holding his players accountable, which at this point seems a little unlikely.

The Cowboys players are going to take it upon themselves to cut down the penalties. Most of the time it's just mental mistakes, so there is reason to believe they can accomplish this task. But, they are really going to have to buckle down and focus on remaining consistent down after down.

What is your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Giants?



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