It's only week four of this early 2015 season, but the Dallas Cowboys have already found themselves in a little bit of a pickle. Sitting with a record of 2-1 is nice and all, but after this game against the New Orleans Saints, the Cowboys have a tough little four game stretch ahead of them. They will face both of the Super Bowl participants as well as rematches against their two toughest divisional foes. During this span, victories will be tough to come by so it becomes very important to leave the house of the rising sun with an all-important third mark in the win column.
Now I'm going to explain to you why it is a game the Cowboys will win.
First, let's lay a couple things on the table.
The Cowboys only loss came against an Atlanta Falcons team that is 3-0 this season. How you feel about that loss could depend on just how good you think the Falcons are. Last season, Atlanta was 6-10 and the only reason their record was that good was because they dominated a weak NFC South division. Outside their division, Atlanta was 1-9 on the season. So the expectation of some is that they can't be that much better. But this is a different Falcons team. Already, they have three wins outside their division and are playing good football on both sides of the ball. They fired head coach Mike Smith and replaced him with the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator ace, Dan Quinn. Atlanta is a good football team.
In the game last week, the Cowboys didn't have Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, Rolando McClain, Orlando Scandrick, Jeremy Mincey, Ron Leary, or Terrell McClain. That is seven starters and two key rotational rushmen which is a big chuck of talent to be missing. So the Cowboys team on the field last Sunday was a group that you'd expect to have their hands full against an opponent with the caliber of talent of the Falcons.
So what does this mean going into the game with the New Orleans Saints?
Well, to start off with - the Saints are not as good as the Falcons.
The Saints strength is their offense as they are ranked 12th in the league with 370 yards per game. This is a good 40 yards per game less than they averaged last season. The loss of their big offensive weapon, Jimmy Graham, could be a reason for the drop. One might think the absence of Drew Brees for a game might have brought them down, but the Saints offense under Brees actually averaged less yards than they did with Luke McCown last week.
As proficient as the Saints are on offense, the Cowboys have been even better. They are ranked 7th with 380 yards per game.
But the real separation comes on the other side of the ball. The Saints defense is horrible. Rob Ryan looks to be wearing out his welcome in New Orleans. His defense brings new meaning to the nickname "The Big Easy" as they give up 397 yards per game, which ranks them 29th in the league.
Dallas, on the other hand is much better. Even after opening the flood gates for the Falcons to run all over them last week, the Cowboys defense still has only allowed a respectable 317 yards a game, which ranks them 8th in the league.
So the Cowboys, despite all the players that aren't playing, are in the top 10 in yards on both offense and defense.
The Cowboys will get two starters back this week as Jeremy Mincey and Ron Leary are expected to return to the trenches. This team will be better equipped to take on their opponents this week.
This is what will be different...
- Jeremy Mincey returns.
- Jack Crawford returns to defensive tackle.
- Linebackers will get after Mark Ingram.
- The defense won't be on the field for 70 plays because the offense will control the clock more.
Asking your 290-pound defensive tackle, who is playing defensive end, to cover running backs in the passing game is not something you want to do...ever.
- Ron Leary returns.
- The offensive line will have a bounce-back game.
- The Saints defense is horrible.
- The Cowboys running game will take off.
- And finally, Brandon Weeden will appear to have a much more respectable game by essentially doing exactly what he did last week.
Dallas will win on Sunday night because they are the more talented team and the coaches will have enough players capable of outplaying their opponents. Brandon Weeden will get a win as a starting quarterback. And the Cowboys will welcome two more defensive aces to the squad the following day with the return of Greg Hardy of Rolando McClain. Victory Monday is going to feel pretty good this week.
|Don’t forget to resister for our Blogging the Boys meet-up!
Oct 24-25, 2015
Cowboys-Giants in the beautiful Poconos
|Three awesome Cowboys-centric events!|
|Saturday, October 24
(8:00-10:00 PM): Dinner the night before the game
|Sunday, October 25
(9:00 AM - 1:00 PM): Pre-game brunch
|Sunday, October 25
(4:30-8:30 PM) Cowboys-Giants game, with free buffet
|Click Here to RSVP||Click here for more information on pricing, lodging, etc.|