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The Cowboys Now Rank Second in Scoring Defense

Read it and weep upcoming, opposing offenses. This Dallas defense may not be in the top five of any yardage category, but they will limit you in arguably the most important category of all: scoring defense. By holding the Raiders to just a touchdown and an extra point, this unit now only gives up an average of 16.5 points per game. In the league, that's second only to Cincinnati, which is holding opponents to 15.8 PPG.

Okay, so the Raiders' are dead last in scoring offense (10.5 PPG), but the Cowboys helped put them there. Because I know it's hard for us not to look down the road, let's take a peak at where the Cowboys' upcoming opponents rank in terms of scoring offense.

More after the jump.

Week 13 @ The Giants (T-8th, 24.7 PPG)

Week 14 vs. The Chargers (3rd, 28.4 PPG)

Week 15 @ The Saints (1st, 37 PPG)

Week 16 @ The Redskins (29th, 15.5 PPG)

Week 17 vs. The Eagles (7th, 26.6 PPG)

To sum it up, Dallas will face four of the top ten scoring offenses within the final five weeks. As you can see, having one of the league's best scoring defenses will be a necessity as the team seeks a return to the postseason.

What is amazing about this defense is that the Cowboys began the season with four new starters, including at least one at each level. On the line, Igor Olshansky has been brutalizing running backs. At linebacker, you can arguably count SOLB Anthony Spencer as a fifth new starter. He, too, has been solid against the run and has recently grown into an asset against the pass. Keith Brooking is everything you want in a ILB - 'nuff said. Mike Jenkins is playing lights out at CB who, along with slot-man Orlando Scandrick, brings a youthful exuberance to the position. And, Gerald Sensabaugh is that early Christmas present we've all been asking for at strong safety.

As a unit, they have gone from learning to work together to playing consistent, hard-nosed football. Coach Phillips sounds confident in how his group has grown.

"We've just been more consistent, went back to basics," Phillips said, explaining the improvement since the early problems. "Just melding the defense together. No excuses, but we did have new guys. Those guys playing together, it's a little bit different. ... (we) found a niche to what we can play defensively and what we can't play, what our strengths and weaknesses are."

The players are well aware of where they've been, and of the challenges they have yet to face.

"The first few weeks of the season, we would play really good football for 3 1/2 quarters and it seemed like for a half a quarter, all hell would break loose. We're a lot more consistent in our play," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "We want to be the best. We're not there yet, we're not even close to being there yet. ... We can't take any steps back at this point. We've got to keep moving forward."

And America's Favorite Prime Time Team Award goes to...c'mon, you know who!

The Cowboys have averaged 19.152 million viewers for their 16 games on NBC’s "Sunday Night Football" and ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" since the start of the 2006 season, when NBC began broadcasting the Sunday night NFL package and ESPN started airing "Monday Night Football."

According to a SportsBusiness Journal review of Nielsen Sports data, of the five most-viewed prime-time teams, only the Cowboys have not reached the Super Bowl since 2006. The Colts, Giants, Bears and Patriots have all played in the NFL’s title game over the past three years.

Some practice squad moves were made. The Cowboys waived CB Jamar Love and signed CB Marquis Floyd and LB Donovan Woods.

Floyd spent last season on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. He was on the Cleveland Browns practice squad for a week in 2009 before being cut Sept. 29.

Woods, former quarterback and safety at Oklahoma State, played five games last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He opened this season on the Steelers practice squad before being released Nov. 24.

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