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Cowboys News: NFC Exec says "Cowboys would scare you when Elliott gets back."

Latest Cowboys headlines: Two more games without Ezekiel Elliott; Anthony Hitchens' inspired play; more.

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The most dangerous teams in the playoff hunt from each conference - Tom Pelissero,
Pelissero polled league execs to find out which the teams trying to pull off a rally to the playoffs are the most dangerous - in December, January and maybe even beyond.

I asked that question Friday to executives and scouts from six teams that currently are in the thick of the playoff picture, and the results of the informal poll strongly favored the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chargers received four and a half votes in this poll. The Cowboys got the other one and a half votes coming off Thursday's win over the Redskins that pulled them to 6-6, still two weeks away from the return of star running back Ezekiel Elliott from suspension.

"The Cowboys would scare you when the back gets back," another NFC executive said.

Cowboys know playoff formula is to win without Zeke - Shuyler Dixon, AP
Dallas won its first game without Ezekiel Elliott on Thursday.

The Cowboys (6-6) still have two games without Elliott from his six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence. However, 2016 All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee is expected to return for the next game Dec. 10 against the last-place New York Giants after injuring his hamstring during the first game without Elliott and missing the next three.

“There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room, but you know, that’s what we play for and that’s kind of the big picture,” Witten said after catching his 67th career touchdown , third on the franchise career list, on the same night Dez Bryant broke Hall of Famer Bob Hayes’ club record with his 72nd TD grab.

“I believe we’re in the hunt and there’s still a lot of football to be played.”

Scout's Eye: Hitchens' Inspired Play; More - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus offers his take on Anthony Hitchens.

I can’t say enough about how well Anthony Hitchens played, especially in the running game. Samaje Perine is not an easy back to meet in the hole and get to the ground. Hitchens did a nice job of reading the down blocks by Niles Paul and Vernon Davis and then going underneath a pulling Morgan Moses to stick Perine for a tackle for loss. On the day, Hitchens was credited for 15 tackles, which is very Sean Lee-like for the defense.

In the middle of Dak Prescott's 'first massive slump' of career, Cowboys need all hands on deck - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Among many other things, Sturm looks at some of the defensive players on Thursday who stood up and took some of the weight off Dak Prescott's shoulder.

Lawrence was fantastic again last night, refusing to be denied and also proving impossible to block. He had 2 sacks, got the ball out on one of them, another couple tackles for loss, and was a menace all game long.

Irving, who now has a career-high 7 sacks on his season (that only started on October 8th) hopefully demonstrates to Zeke how to be in top form when you get out of purgatory and back on the field.

Anthony Hitchens continued to be a real breakout story this year. I have always enjoyed his utility, but this year he has proven to be a clear starter and standout who has had things click (right as his contract is expiring). There is no question he has learned plenty in his time here and has been a huge filler for Sean Lee against the run. Heck, he looked like he stripped the ball from Jamison Crowder while suspended in mid-air on a play that was ruled to not be a fumble. I would disagree.

Chidobe Awuzie was huge, too. In his first extended action, he proved why the Cowboys believed so much in his ball skills and confidence.

Anthony Hitchens, DeMarcus Lawrence were standouts vs. Redskins, but here's the bad news for Cowboys - Jon Machota, SportsDay
This is bad news that can be very easily fixed.

Was Anthony Hitchens Dallas' best defensive player yesterday?

Jon Machota: Overall, I'd say so. He had a team-high 15 tackles and 3 for loss. DeMarcus Lawrence would be right there with him, getting two more sacks and getting his season total up to 13.5.

Bad news for the Cowboys is that both players are free agents at the end of the season. The Cowboys would like to bring both back and ultimately I think they get that done.

How did the Cowboys defense finally look good without Sean Lee? - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
Mosley answered fan questions on Friday, including this one on the defense stepping up.

How did the Cowboys defense finally look good without Sean Lee?

Matt Mosley: Anthony Hitchens is a very capable replacement. He's a really fine player. And I think Jaylon Smith actually played well at times in that game. The main thing is that Cousins was under pressure quite a bit...and the defense got takeaways. And the Wilber play on the punt returns was huge. This Cowboys offense was leaking oil in a big way. The defense/special teams kept trying to put them in position. They finally cashed in. If you win the turnover battle, you win games. And Dak went back to not turning it over on his side. Cousins played pretty well, but he got stripped by Lawrence. And that ball went off Crowder's hands. Cousins is a good QB. It's weird the Redskins have been so reluctant to cast their lot with him.

'This is just the beginning for the rookie class': Draft class makes major impact in win against Redskins - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The 2017 rookie class received a lot of praise for its play against the Redskins.

"That's why they drafted us," said Awuzie, who had three pass breakups. "I feel like we all have that mindset that we can't be beat. We're some young dogs. Put us on the field anywhere and we're going to make plays. I think people are starting to see that. We're real confident in who we are and what we can do."

Charlton said the group only showed a glimpse Thursday night of what they can bring in the future.

"This is just the beginning for the rookie class," Charlton said. "We have a bright future ahead of us."

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