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Cowboys News: Why Dak Prescott gives Cowboys playoff shot even without Ezekiel Elliott

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Latest Cowboys headlines: It’s time to stop underrating Dak Prescott; business as usual without Elliott; more

Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

It’s Time to Stop Underrating Dak Prescott - Danny Kelly, The Ringer
Prescott has quietly been one of the most productive passers in the NFL, Kelly explains, and offers up a bunch of interesting stats in this highly readable article.

He rarely turns it over—with just four interceptions on 259 attempts, his 1.5 percent interception rate ranks sixth in the NFL. He can make plays outside the pocket like Russell Wilson, he’s efficient in the pocket like Tom Brady, and he can take the ball himself up the gut or off the edge like he’s Cam Newton.

As NFL.com’s Matt Harmon points out, Prescott’s completed 48.9 percent of his tight-window throws (defined as less than 1 yard of separation) this year, best in the NFL.

On throws 20-plus yards downfield, Prescott is 10 of 22 with three touchdowns, no picks, and a 131.6 passer rating, per Pro Football Focus, second behind Alex Smith. A full 63.5 percent of his total passing yards have come before the catch—third-most behind Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson. That means the Cowboys have asked him to attack the intermediate and deeper zones of the field aggressively, and he’s answered the call.

Only two quarterbacks in league history have had a better passer rating (102.4) through the first 24 games of their career—and they’re both enshrined in Canton (Kurt Warner and Dan Marino).

The Cowboys are in good hands with their new franchise passer: Prescott’s combination of poise, mobility, accuracy, and escapability gives Dallas a shot at the postseason even without the team’s star running back.

VIDEO: Mark Schlereth: Dak Prescott has an old soul about him | FIRST THINGS FIRST


The stay Ezekiel Elliott got for the Chiefs game could prove vital down the stretch for the Cowboys - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Ochoa looks for the silver lining in Elliott's suspension and comes up with an interesting one.

Had Zeke not been granted the stay, his suspension would have begun with [the Kansas City] game. This would mean his first game back would’ve been the Oakland game, which is now the last one of the slate he’ll miss.

Kansas City is a much tougher draw than Oakland, even with the Raiders game being on the road. Given the state of the NFC East these days, every win is going to be critical, and the Chiefs one was a big get.

Ezekiel Elliott suspension expected to carry through Cowboys meeting with Raiders - Silver And Black Pride
The Raiders' SB Nation site is giddy with excitement at the prospect of not having to face Ezekiel Elliott in six weeks.

By then, the Raiders could be out of playoff contention altogether, at which point Elliott’s participation wouldn’t mean much from the Raiders’ point of view. But should the Raiders still be holding out hope of securing a spot in the playoffs, it could be pretty substantial.

As a rookie last season Elliott led the NFL in rushing by a WIDE margin. His 1631 rushing yards was 318 yards more than the next highest rushing total. He hasn’t slowed down this season as he leads the league with 97.9 yards per game, putting him on pace for similar numbers to his league-leading rushing totals last season.


Final Thoughts: 2-minute offense - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus' final thoughts include the RB workload, Dez & Tyron's health, and others. Here are his thoughts on the 2-minute offense.

Something to keep in mind during this game, especially if it's tight. The Falcons have had their share of problems playing two-minute defense this season. Opponents have scored 14 points in those situations, which puts them at 25th in the league. The Cowboys are fourth-best in the league when scoring before half and seventh-best at the end of games.

How can it be business as usual without Zeke? Let the Cowboys explain - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Speaking on 105.3 The Fan, here's how Jerry Jones sees his trio of running backs,

On Morris: "He's a proven back that has unique running skills in the way we block. He can really pick the soft spots."

On Smith: "He's someone that has our coaching staff excited. He's got me excited. He's got a chance to really make a contribution. ... I think he's developing into a very viable three-down back."

On McFadden: "The thing that has been a limitation to him in his career is he's had injuries. Well, he doesn't have any injuries. He's fresh. ... He's a great leader. You don't make them any tougher."


Chaz Green 'ready' for opportunity to start at LT Sunday at Atlanta if Tyron Smith can't play - Brandon George, SportsDay
There's a chance Tyron Smith will sit out the Atlanta game with a groin injury.

Green, who played guard for the Cowboys his first two seasons, said that for the last few weeks most of his snaps in practice have been at tackle. Green said he's prepared to start against the Falcons.

"I feel ready," Green said Friday. "I had a good week of practice. I've got my mind in the right place. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity."


In Jerry Jones v. Roger Goodell, NFL owners should choose sides wisely - Sally Jenkins, Washington Post
Jenkins argues that given Jerry Jones' track record of making decisions that made the other owners filthy rich, they should carefully consider what he has to say.

The NFL’s business is beginning to show real underlying weakness and audience alienation, in no small part thanks to Goodell’s alternately shortsighted and heavy-handed performance. Jones sees it. This is what moved him to hire David Boies in a quest to block Goodell’s contract renewal, not a snit over Goodell’s tyrannical suspension of Ezekiel Elliott. Oh, the Elliott thing doesn’t help, but mainly it’s just one more demonstration that the commissioner is a blockhead, who creates problems where there are none, out of insecurity and a need to prove he isn’t just a lifetime intern.

Jones now sees trouble, rather than opportunity. Concussions, market fragmentation, new media, plunging participation numbers in youth football, a generation of children who play on screens with their thumbs and forefingers rather than outside with their arms and legs, for whom keeping score is less and less important. These are new problems that need fresh eyes. Yet at the head of the league is a power-blinded commissioner who has never had a real job outside the league office on Park Avenue, and whose performance has been undeniably poor.

The owners have paid Goodell $200 million over the last 11 years. At least Jones did something to earn his money: He multiplied opportunities for every owner in the league. Goodell has multiplied nothing but his own salary, and the number of staffers who had to be hired to manage his disasters.