No, they might not be the popular pick for Super Bowl favorites right now, but they’re winning games and sitting at the top of the NFC East. Sure, they had a tough start to the season and they’re neck and neck with the Redskins, but they had to face a dynamite Saints team last Thursday and they WON! They’re on a four-game hot streak right now, so don’t forget about the Cowboys!
Here’s what we’re thinking about Dallas this season…
Up through Thursday, the Cowboys didn’t turn the ball over once in their past three wins. The offense is usually dependent on the run, but they look like they’ve finally found a rhythm. With the new addition of wide receiver Amari Cooper, which they acquired by trading a first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders, the team’s offense has been transformed. It didn’t all happen at once, but Cooper now seems to have hit his stride with his new team. Against the Redskins, he had the longest catch of his career, a bomb of 90 yards, and during that game, he caught eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s clear that quarterback Dak Prescott is clicking with Cooper. Before Cooper entered the picture, the Cowboys relied almost solely on running back Ezekiel Elliott for big plays. The good news is, now they have both! Elliot is right in the middle of one of the best stretches of his career. He’s the top rusher in the league going into Week 13 with 1,074 yards. (More than the Rams’ Todd Gurley.) Yes, Cooper is helping out, but Elliot is the man for the Dallas Cowboys and the focal point of their offense.
As for Dak Prescott, he’s got a lot on the line in these final games of the season. In his third year with the Cowboys and still in his lowly rookie contract, his performance will dictate how big of an extension he gets. Prescott had a rough start to the 2018 season, failing to produce 200+ yards in any of the first three games, but he seems to have broken the slump. He’s still working on technique, the but man is deliberate.
Now all the Cowboys need to do is cash in on every red zone opportunity possible.
For the uninitiated, the Cowboys defensive line has a nickname: The Hot Boyz. They even have a chain that they pass around when one of the guys gets two sacks in a single game. You know, sort of a fun motivator.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence – a player who the Cowboys put a franchise tag on this year – is about to get paid for his performance. He’s lived up to the hype, leading the team with 8.5 sacks so far this season. As of Week 12 he’s also racked up 25 quarterback pressures, 10 tackles for loss, and one interception. Lawrence is a great pass rusher and he’s great against the run. There’s a reason they call him “Tank.”
The rest of the Dallas defense is ready to show what they’re made of too. After all, they’ve pretty much been the team’s saving grace this season. The Cowboys are ranked number seven in overall offense and number three in scoring defense. They snagged five interceptions during their three-game winning streak.
Against the Saints
On the Tuesday before their game against the Saints, Lawrence stirred up some controversy with his all-too-honest statement to reporters. When asked whether the Saints have the best line that his team has faced yet this season, he responded with a profanity-laced statement:
“They’re going to have to match our intensity. Sh*t, for 60 minutes straight. If you hit a m—–f—– in the mouth and then they ain’t doing what they’re regularly doing, putting up 50 points, they start to get a little distressed. Now you got them where you want them at, and then you f—ing choke their ass out.”
So, yeah, that was the strategy for the Cowboy’s defense anyway.
There were many folks out there predicting that they would be the team to break the Saints’ 10-game winning streak. Sure, Drew Brees might be having the best regular season of any quarterback in the history of the NFL. Sure, the Saints are tearing up opponents left and right with the amount of points they score (albeit usually at home). And sure, the Saints have the number one offense in the league. But despite all of that, was it possible that Dallas had a chance to beat New Orleans?
At Jerry World on Thursday, the Cowboys proved all the naysayers wrong with a HUGE upset win over the Saints. In a low-scoring 13-10 victory, Dak Prescott impressed and the defense absolutely suffocated the Saints powerhouse offense. Lawrence and the Hot Boyz managed to shut down Drew Brees and hold the Saints to just 176 yards, the lowest for New Orleans in 17 years.
There was a lot of anticipation surrounding that Saints game. But every game at this point in the season matters. This victory gives them a huge boost in their chances of making the playoffs. But they’ve got a game against the Philadelphia Eagles coming up, and that one is big for the Cowboys too. Keep watching.
Can the Cowboys clinch the NFC East? Are they legitimate Super Bowl contenders?