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One Simple Strategy For Cowboys Kicking Game Vs. Eagles

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If the Cowboys can take the Eagles' return game out of the equation on Sunday, chances are good they'll walk away with a win.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Cowboys host the Eagles in AT&T Stadium, and those Eagles currently lead the NFL with a ridiculously high average kickoff return of 38.7 yards on nine returns. That number includes two kickoff returns for touchdowns (two more than all other NFL teams combined), and even if we exclude those two kickoff returns, they still have a solid 23.4 return average on their remaining returns, which would still be the eighth best value in the league.

In the controlled, indoor environment of AT&T Stadium, Dan Bailey has kicked 15 kickoffs in three games so far. 11 of those kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, four were returned.

Bailey's official average kickoff length (all 15 kickoffs were made from the Dallas 35-yard line) is 66.1 yards, but that's because the NFL stats count every touchback as a 65 yard kickoff, even if it travels far into the end zone. The four kickoffs that were returned traveled 70, 69 (twice), and 68 yards, and were returned for an average of 26.3 yards.

Bailey certainly has the leg strength to kick the ball all the way to the back of the endzone, and that's exactly what he should do on Sunday.

The Eagles will likely look to return every returnable kickoff, and they're good at it. Best not to give them a chance. If Bailey puts the ball out of the end zone on every try, the Eagles offense will have to dink and dunk its way 75 yards up the field for a score.

I like the Cowboys' chances in that scenario. A lot.

The Cowboys shouldn't even think about fooling around with short kickoffs. They should tell Bailey to kick the ball into the stands.

Don't get cute.

And while we're at it, tell punter Chris Jones to kick the ball out of bounds or into the endzone every time. The Eagles haven't been particularly effective at punt returns so far this year (they're ranked 12th with an average punt return of 11.2 yards), but why risk it?

Better yet, tell the offense to score on every drive and avoid punting all together.

Just don't get cute.