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Cowboys news: The Zeke fallout continues, but Dallas still favored this Sunday

Tyrone Crawford also was recognized for his outstanding play last game.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA files motion on behalf of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott - ESPN staff
It is pretty much down to the last gasp to try and keep Ezekiel Elliott on the field. Don't get your hopes up.

The NFL Players Association filed a motion on behalf of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, seeking an emergency injunction to prevent the NFL from enforcing Elliott's six-game suspension.

In a filing, the NFLPA also requested the 2nd Circuit expedite its request and issue an administrative stay, asking for a decision by Friday so Elliott can play in Week 9.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett prepares his team without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys are planning to be without Elliott despite last minute legal ploys, but they have actually been preparing for this all season with Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith.

"We have great confidence in those guys," Garrett said. "They've had success in this league. Obviously Alfred is someone who's been very productive as a runner in this league. Darren was very productive for us a couple years ago, and we feel really good about Rod Smith and how he's developed and the role that he can play for us. All of those guys will play, and we'll just keep going down the road."

Cowboys looking at the system to prevail in Ezekiel Elliott's absence - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
It's not just about who is carrying the ball with Zeke out. The offensive line has something to say about things as well.

In theory, nothing changes for the Dallas Cowboys in Ezekiel Elliott's absence.

"The system is the system," All-Pro right guard Zack Martin said. "We're going to be running the same plays. We're going to be running the ball. We just have to be able to execute up front because we know these guys can make a ton of plays."

Dallas Cowboys: What did Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott discuss after Cowboys RB's suspension was reinstated? | Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
One very unfortunate thing about Elliott's suspension is that he has to cut off most contact with the team, something that seems at counterproductive in ways. His backfield mate, QB Dak Prescott, wanted him to know that he still had support.

Prescott said he messaged with Elliott on Monday night after the star running back lost his attempt in a New York federal district court to block the suspension.

"Just telling him we got his back, supporting him, and he had a couple of words for me," Prescott said Wednesday. "I was just letting him know we support him. He obviously feels bad with the ruling coming down, but just letting him know I've got his back, this team's got his back. He was just telling me 'just go play ball.'"

Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys coach Jason Garrett's message to suspended Ezekiel Elliott: 'Control what you can control' | David Moore, SportsDay
The Cowboys' head coach also had some words for Elliott on facing his suspension.

The last time Jason Garrett spoke to his star running back was Sunday night after the team's win over Washington. The Cowboys head coach didn't get into specifics, but he essentially delivered the same message that he does to all his players on a daily basis: Control what you can control.

"I spoke with him after the game," Garrett said. "He was not going to come back on the flight with us. He went to New York. That was the last time I spoke to him. The message I share with him all along is control what you can control."

Sham: Three Points About This Elliott Case Are Being Distorted Or Missed | Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
Take a moment to remember that the Elliott case is not just about football. It is about one human being who, at least in all his statements, believes he has been wronged.

Forget the money, and this will cost him at least a couple million dollars right away. Forget the missed games, which even a win in appeal wouldn’t get him back. If Elliott believes in HIS heart – not yours, his – that he did nothing wrong, how can he not fight all the way to whatever the end is? The damage to his reputation may already be irreparable. I don’t know what he really did. You don’t know. Two people on earth know. He’s got one life and one name. If he believes he’s innocent, he has to fight, whether we like it or not.

Cowboys open as slight favorites over Chiefs, but could win big - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
Even with the Elliott suspension, the Cowboys are still a slight favorite in their upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are good offensively, but on D . . .

The Chiefs are walking into AT&T Stadium with the fifth-worst run defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 131.1 yards per game on the ground. Even without Elliott on the field, the Cowboys come equipped with one of the best offensive lines in football and three running backs who could arguably be starters elsewhere in the league.

And pass defense is also a problem for KC.

Adding to those woes is Kansas City's inability to stop the pass as well, also putting up fifth-worst numbers the heave, allowing an average of 261.1 yards per game in the air. With quarterback Dak Prescott having an MVP-caliber season, albeit egregiously ignored due to the Cowboys' 4-3 record, he's averaging 224.1 yards passing with 14 touchdowns to only four interceptions -- only nine TDs short of his entire 2016 campaign, and he's only played seven games this year.

Dallas Cowboys: Sturm: Lawrence, Irving putting NFL on notice; how defensive front carried Cowboys vs. Redskins | Bob Sturm, SportsDay
The weekly Marinelli Report examines whether the Cowboys defense is better or worse than it was last year. In one aspect (and two players), it is certainly on the upswing.

So are they better than their defense in 2016? Well, football is a connected sport and the offensive impact is certainly there. Also, the Cowboys have just padded some numbers by playing two ridiculous offenses in a row (Washington played with no offensive line!), so we are about to test these theories in November pretty hard.

But, for now, we would have to say the defense has showed some signs of being better and has definitely shown signs of having players who now scare opponents. Two of them, in fact. DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving have put the league on notice. You can bet Kansas City has been studying them all week to prepare for Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys' Most Underappreciated Players This Season | Marcus Mosher, Bleacher Report
This is a great look at six players for the Cowboys who are often overlooked by the fans. It is worth your time. Leading the list is DL Tyrone Crawford, who has received plenty of criticism in the past. But last week was a real showcase for him.

What makes Crawford so valuable to this roster? His versatility. He's willing to play numerous positions on this defense and is willing to sacrifice his own numbers if it means helping out the Cowboys. Despite being the highest-paid defender on the team, Crawford doesn't allow his pride to get in the way and will move around the defensive line for the benefit of the team.

According to Pro Football Focus, Crawford has played 119 snaps as a right defensive end, 32 snaps as the right defensive tackle and 49 snaps as the left defensive tackle in 2017. He's also taken a few snaps as a left defensive end, as well as four snaps as a nose tackle.

Crawford The 1st Cowboys Defensive Lineman To Win Special Teams Award | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Crawford got some nice recognition for his game-changing play in Washington.

With a blocked field goal that shifted momentum in the Cowboys’ 33-19 win over the Redskins last Sunday, Tyrone Crawford is the first defensive lineman in team history to win NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, the NFL announced Wednesday.

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott: I hope Tony Romo is critical of me during TV broadcast; 'I kind of expect him to be' | Jon Machota, SportsDay
This is the first time Tony Romo will be in the booth covering the Cowboys and the man that forced his retirement, Dak Prescott. Awkward?

Romo has quickly built a reputation for successfully predicting what's going to happen on a particular play before the ball is snapped.

"Hopefully he doesn't call out and guess too many of our plays," Prescott said. "He'll still be very familiar with them. Hopefully he can stay away from that this week."

Which 2017 NFL teams are contenders and which are pretenders? - Geoff Schwartz,
Need something to get you fired up? Here is something that should do the trick.

Dallas Cowboys (4-3): Pretender

They still have to play the Eagles twice, plus the Chiefs, Seahawks, and Falcons. Ain’t happening. And without Zeke, for sure not happening.

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