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Cowboys News: "The Cowboys Have Established Themselves As The Best Team In The NFL."

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Dak, Zeke, and Dez are Dallas' new Aikman, Smith, and Irvin; The Cowboys "4-12 pissed-off mentality"; A Raiders-Cowboys Super Bowl?

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The Triplets 2.0 - Dan Pompei, Bleacher Report
Outstanding article by Pompei in which he explains why Dak, Zeke, and Dez are Dallas' new Aikman, Smith, and Irvin. I strongly urge you to go read it on this fine Saturday morning; I promise you will not regret it. I'd quote the entire article if I could, but instead I'll leave you with two stories that highlight the Dak Prescott - Dez Bryant relationship.

It was early August in Oxnard, California, and Kellen Moore, who had been taking most of the first-team reps at quarterback for the Cowboys, was off to have his broken ankle casted. Next man up would be the rookie.

Near the end of one of Prescott's first practices as the first-team quarterback, the Cowboys offense ran through a two-minute drill. With 12 seconds left, the ball was on the 42-yard line.

Prescott told Bryant he would hit him on a slant and instructed him to go down as soon as he caught it, so Prescott could clock it and Dan Bailey could attempt a game-winning field goal. Bryant nodded. The quarterback and receiver connected on the slant. But instead of going down, Bryant tried to score. He was stopped well short of the end zone and time ran out. The offense failed.

Prescott sprinted to Bryant and put his hand around the back of his neck.

"You are the baddest man on the field, the best player on the team," he told him. "But you have to listen to me. I told you that you had to get down. Look what just happened. We have the best kicker in the league."

Bryant listened intently, then looked him in the eye. Instead of shoving the rookie and storming off, he said, "I got you, man. It won't happen again."

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The day before the Cowboys played the Steelers, Bryant learned his father had passed away.

So much was going through his head. Bryant wasn't sure if he could pull himself together and play a game—a stupid game. His phone buzzed. A text from Prescott.

The text, which he saved, read:

"Dez I heard about your loss. I want to let you know I've been through it. First and foremost, I want to let you know nobody, I mean nobody, can tell you how you are supposed to feel. There aren't any words to comfort someone except he is in a better place than this world and there is not anything to say to make you feel better right now. Please know I'm here for you brother. I love you man and anytime you want to talk about this or anything, my ears are open. I know I'm young, but I've been through damn near everything so I don't hesitate. Today is your day. This game is the only thing that gives me peace. That's why I'm so passionate about it, and I know you are the exact same way. Let's go have a day and honor your dad."

The Cowboys edge? Jason Witten calls it 'the 4-12 pissed-off mentality' - David Moore, SportsDay
What's driving the Dallas Cowboys this year?

"I don't know where all that comes from,'' tight end Jason Witten said. "Maybe it's a little bit of the 4-12 pissed off mentality, but this team has an edge.''

"The long weekend felt good,'' Witten said. "Three games in 12 days, to be able to put your feet up and relax a little bit, it felt good. But back to work.

"I think the best thing this team has done is our edge. We know we're going to have a heck of a challenge come Sunday night.''

Mood Lately #cowboysnation

Ein von Dez Bryant (@dezbryant) gepostetes Foto am

The Cowboys don’t hold back for anyone.

Ein von Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) gepostetes Foto am

Ray Lewis inspires Cowboys with motivational talk this week - Charean Williams, The Star-Telegram
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis spoke to the Cowboys in a team meeting Monday, and Jason Witten gave his own summary of the talk Lewis delivered.

"He is one of the greatest ever, and so everybody listened to him talk about how you approach it day in and day out. His message was pretty much as simple as that: The games are byproduct of who you are every single day and how you practice. You won’t remember so much the wins and losses as you will the people you did it with. A lot of times when you’re young, you don’t necessarily realize that. That’s certainly something I realize at this point where I am in my career. He did a great job being able to connect to young players, and he’s a great motivator."

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The only 8 teams that can win the Super Bowl, ranked - Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports
There are still 20 or so teams still vying for playoff spots, but only eight have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl, DaSilva argues. And topping that list of eight teams are your Dallas Cowboys.

For months, the Cowboys have established themselves as the best team in the NFL. The Patriots still have better Super Bowl odds in Vegas, but Dallas is the team to beat with Rob Gronkowski out of the picture. The Cowboys have injuries and issues of their own – Morris Claiborne, the lack of a pass rush, questionable pass defense – but they’re also the most complete team in the league.

Everything seems to be working in Dallas’ favor right now, too. Jason Pierre-Paul is out for the year, Earl Thomas is as well for the Seahawks and the Patriots will be forced to make a run at a ring without Gronk. Do these things directly impact the Cowboys? Not necessarily, but they certainly could down the stretch, should Dallas play Seattle in the NFC title game and New England in the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys don’t turn the ball over, they’re incredibly consistent on offense and the defense is playing well enough to allow the offense to carry the load. Not to mention, they’re built for cold-weather games in January, given their 300-pound road-graders up front and Ezekiel Elliott’s running style.

NFL Playoff Picture: Oddsmakers Would Favor Cowboys Over Raiders in Super Bowl - Daniel Cypra, SportsLine.com
A Cowboys-Raiders Super Bowl would be one for the ages. But, who would be favored?

According to BookMaker.eu, if the Raiders and Cowboys met in the Super Bowl, Dallas would be a 4-point favorite. Prior to Oakland's Thursday night loss, the line had been Dallas -3.5.

"What a dream matchup this would be for the NFL," BookMaker's Scott Cooley said. "And of course you'd have all the Raiders-to-Vegas storylines, which would only fuel the wagering side of the Super Bowl. The Raiders are one team that can rival the Cowboys in terms of action, but I expect we'd still be somewhat one-sided with the favorite."

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After Further Review: Resting Stars - Michael Tunison, Sports On Earth
After clinching a playoff spot, Jerry Jones said this week that it's business as usual for the Dallas Cowboys and that they won't rest any starters. His comments will surely ignite the annual debate about resting starters going into the postseason.

The Cowboys likely still need another win or two to secure the top seed in the conference. At that point, they'll have a decision to make about how they should use several of their key starters, especially quarterback Dak Prescott, who has so far managed to avoid hitting the rookie wall. Having a little extra rest couldn't hurt him going into his first postseason.

Whether any of this is that consequential likely won't be discussed unless the Cowboys somehow lay an egg and get upset in their first playoff game, or if Prescott suffers an injury in limited action in Week 17. The problem is, sometimes being flat just happens, whether a team is rested or not. These are tough decisions to make and easy to second-guess when something goes wrong. Life would be easier if there were always an objective right answer. In this case, there just isn't.

Why Cowboys should rest starters, play Tony Romo Week 15, not Week 17 - KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The noble Drummond suggests the Cowboys take advantage of their 2.5-game lead atop the NFC and take a slightly unconventional approach to resting their starters: Rest them in Week 15 & 16, then back to normal in Week 17.

If Dallas uses Weeks 15 and 16 to get guys rest, and then plays their starters as normal in Week 17 against Philadelphia, then everyone will enter the bye week in as good shape as possible heading into the divisional round.

Play Tony Romo in Week 15, and give him the entire offensive line to protect him. Play Mark Sanchez for second-half snaps in Week 16 while you give the offensive linemen some rest. Give Ezekiel Elliott a handful of carries in each game, and then let Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden shoulder most of the load. Damn the record pursuits. Give Scandrick a couple of light weeks to get his legs as fully under him as possible. Let Tyron Smith’s back get some rest, Demarcus Lawrence’s too.

And then bring the band back together in Week 17 to get a full regiment of work so they aren’t sitting on their hands for two weeks before playing another meaningful game. The rest would obviously have to be staggered, but that should be the real benefit of clinching a spot so early. Dallas has the talent to still win these games, and that’s not taking anything away from Detroit or Tampa Bay.

FROM THE FANPOSTS: Why the Dallas Cowboys should strive to finish 15-1 - ScarletO, Blogging The Boys
BTB-member ScarletO argues vehemently against letting up over the final stretch.

Dallas plays three games against teams that are on the cusp of making the playoffs: the New York Giants, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Detroit Lions. Why permit them to think that they have a hope of representing the NFC in Super Bowl LI?

The Dallas Cowboys need to hone their focus to crush everyone en route to winning a sixth Super Bowl. A loss may serve to focus the team, but losing to a team that may face the Cowboys in the playoffs will only provide organizations and their fan bases with the hope they could win.

Hope may not be a strategy to win, but it is the catalyst of change. In this case, hope may spark an untimely upset.

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Jerry Jones Doesn't Expect Cowboys To Be Big Spenders In Free Agency - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
It's been quite some time since the Cowboys were big spenders in free agency, yet every year there seems to be an expectation that the Cowboys will go out and sign all the big-name free agents available. Curb your enthusiasm, says Jerry Jones.

The Cowboys haven’t been involved in much big spending since 2012, when they signed Brandon Carr to a $50 million contract [...] and Jones seemed to indicate that might be the case again in 2017.

"Of course we do have draft picks coming, and that’s the preferable way," Jones said. "As you know, you usually overpay tremendously in free agency."

But Jones was sure to make another point, and it’s one he’s made often this season. The Cowboys have a major piece for future seasons waiting in the wings in linebacker Jaylon Smith. The Notre Dame linebacker was the No. 34 overall pick in last year’s draft, though he has been sideline by injury all year long.

Jerry Jones: 'My intention' is for Tony Romo to return to Cowboys in 2017 - Staff, SI.com
Looks like Jerry Jones wants his cake and wants to eat it too.

"I think if I ask Tony to go with us on that and let's try to win a championship, I think, yes, he will," Jones said to the New York Daily News.

"I think Romo is going to get his opportunity," Jones added. "I don't want it to happen. But I think he may get his opportunity to get us a Super Bowl. While that's a mixed bag when I think about it — that means you don't have Dak out there — but it means, what a story, one for the ages, if he'd step in there and this year help us win a Super Bowl on the field with his skill. That can happen here. We're not talking about a bus driver out there. We're talking about a guy who can go out there and move our team."

If Romo is on the team's roster next season, Jones said that he will compete but won't accept the backup role.

"He will never accept it," Jones said. "But do I think it is possible that he could be in Dallas and it's good for him and good for us and be the smart thing to do? How many times have we ever seen one drawn up where you see that kind of depth at the quarterback position? How many times do you have to be reminded if we had the concussion protocol the way we had it today, Troy Aikman wouldn't have played in the second Super Bowl."

Final Thoughts: Covering Beckham Jr.; Run Game; Third-Down Defense; More - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus offers some interesting nuggets on the matchup against the Giants:

Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 58.22 when the Giants bring some form of blitz pressure, which is second best in the league. Dak Prescott has a passer rating of 107.73 when opponents attempt to blitz him. That’s good enough for fifth-best among NFL quarterbacks. Even with no Jason-Pierre Paul, I would be surprised if defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo decided to blitz Prescott. I could see the Giants play coverage and work to make him play from the pocket, taking their chance that way.

Something has to give here. The Giants are one of the worst teams in the NFL when it comes to offensive drives of three-and-out. Opponents have forced the Giants off the field 24 percent of the time. The Cowboys defensively are just as bad getting opponents off the field 14 percent of the time in those situations, which puts them 30th in the league. If the defense can win on first and second downs, their strength has been playing on third down and medium yards (4-6). They’ve only allowed opponents to convert 38 percent, which is right where the Giants are in those down and distance situations.

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Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leader for MVP honors - Greg Cote, Miami Herald
Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has emerged as the frontrunner for NFL MVP honors at the season’s three-quarter mark, Cote explains.

MVP: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys RB — The big race is now Elliott’s to lose. League rushing leader (on pace for 1,713 yards) has been catalyst for team with the best record, which tends to be the MVP recipe. But don’t discount QBs Derek Carr, Tom Brady or Matt Ryan.

Offensive rookie: Elliott, Cowboys RB — Give it to him now. His own teammate, Dak Prescott, is the only guy who might siphon a few votes.

Giants have a new scouting report on Ezekiel Elliott 13 weeks later - Jordan Raanan, New York Giants Blog- ESPN
There wasn't much NFL tape on Ezekiel Elliott before the Giants' meeting with the Cowboys in Week 1. There's plenty now, and the Giants are impressed, Raanan writes.

"Zeke Elliot just gets better and better," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "I thought that he was pretty good when we played him the first week, but he gets better and better. There isn’t anything that I can say about him that hasn’t been said. The guy leads the league in rushing for a lot of different reasons, but mainly because he is a good football player."

And he’s even better than the last time the teams met. Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon doesn’t even consider Elliott a rookie any longer. He’s long past that stage as the NFL’s leading rusher in December. It’s not a surprise to the Giants. They claim to have seen it coming after the first meeting.

"He is running all over everybody. He is a real good back," defensive tackle Damon Harrison said. "I think he is leading the league in rushing, so that in itself speaks volumes. But from the very first time we played against him, we all said that that guy is going to be a player in this league and that seems to be true up until this point. Not only is he a great running back, but he can catch the ball out of the backfield as well."

Tony Dorsett: Cowboys RB 'Ezekiel Elliott is the man' - Conor Orr, NFL.com
Ezekiel Elliott is putting up big numbers and receiving praise from a Cowboys legend.

"Ezekiel Elliott is the man," legendary Cowboys running back and four-time Pro Bowler Tony Dorsett said on NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Friday. "I love his game. I love his attitude. I love his preparation. I love everything about this man. And the thing about it is I love his durability. This guy shows up week in and week out and he plays like a man. He gets the job done. He doesn't let it get to his head -- he doesn't get too high or too low. He just says even keel and he goes out there and shows up. He's a working man. He puts his hard hat on every day and comes out and plays."

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2017 NFL Mock Draft: A pass rusher for the Cowboys - Rob Rang, CBSSports.com
The Cowboys find some help on the edge in Rang's latest mock draft, but perhaps more importantly, he has the Cowboys picking 32nd.

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: The Cowboys success this season is all the more surprising given their lack of a consistent pass rush. After investing in troubled edge rushers in recent years, Dallas may be intrigued by the motor, versatility and work ethic of the 6-3, 255 pound Harris.