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Cowboys news: Why Dallas can win the NFC East

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys the team to beat in NFC East - Dan Graziano, ESPN.com
Graziano wonders if it’s an overreaction to think the Cowboys could win the NFC East.

Dallas scored a total of 83 points in its first five games, then dropped a 40-burger on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. If you saw that coming, I’m picking you up this afternoon and we’re going to Vegas. At 3-3, the Cowboys are tied with the Eagles for second place in the division, just a half-game behind Washington, whom they play next week.

Graziano’s verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. If you asked me to pick a team to win this division right now, I’d pick the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, who got their own offense in gear Thursday night against what used to be the Giants. But it’s not an overreaction to think Dallas can win a knock-down, drag-out NFC East. If you can score on the Jags, you can score on anyone. The key for the Cowboys will be to develop some consistency on offense (and to win a road game), but their passing game isn’t going to be any worse than it was in Weeks 1-5, and here they are.

Cowboys unload frustrations by utterly dominating Jaguars – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Sturm has his lengthy breakdown of the team’s victory over the Jaguars.

The Cowboys took the ball four times in the first half of their third home game of the season. Each drive totaled at least 48 yards, three first downs and three points. They first marched 51 yards for a field goal, then 48 yards for a touchdown, 84 yards for a touchdown, and 78 yards for a touchdown. That means while the Cowboys punter watched from the sideline, kicker Brett Maher kicked off five times, and made three extra points and a field goal. He must have been a bit fatigued.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville punter Logan Cooke was plenty busy in the first half due to the fact that his offense had the ball five times and punted on four opportunities. Why just four? Because the first half expired on the fifth. Their kicker, Lambo, watched on with jealousy, as there was simply no work for him to be done.

It is not easy to explain the proceedings on Sunday, but for me, that is the charm of the NFL. It truly is an “Any Given Sunday” league where occasionally, the best team is not the best team simply because they showed up to the stadium on time. You must make the plays that define your dominance and the visitor from North Florida simply had found no plays to go in their favor.

On this October afternoon, we saw the Cowboys as we once recalled them — about a year ago, in fact — when they would put together drive after drive of ground-and-pound as the powerful combination of a strong RB/QB combo would threaten all levels of the defense with their legs only to open up some opportunities through the air down the field. By the end of the day, that Cowboys team of 2016 (and part of 2017) would work their way to 30 points and near 400 yards of offense, generally leaving their loyalists with giant smiles.

Brady Shows Mahomes, and the World, Who’s Still Boss - Albert Breer, SI.com
The (new) Monday Morning Quarterback reluctantly gives the Cowboys some kudos for their destruction of the Jaguars.

So what did the Cowboys do to shock everyone with a 40-7 blowout of the vaunted Jaguars? They played the matchups. With Jags nickel corner D.J. Hayden still out, Dak Prescott went to Cole Beasley time and again, and Jacksonville yielded 101 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches to the Dallas slot. And on the other side of the ball, the Cowboys attacked an offensive line now on its third tackle. To those coaches, by the way, it looked like the Jags are really starting to miss Leonard Fournette, who would allow them leeway to slow a game like this down before problems metastasize.

Bears, Jaguars headline teams that suffered brutal Week 6 losses - Adam Schein, NFL.com
More back-handed praise from the national media, which largely seems to think Sunday’s outcome said more about the Jaguars than the Cowboys.

It was one thing to get smoked by Patty Mahomes in Kansas City. Quite another to be outplayed and out-coached in a 33-point loss to the Jason Garrett-led Cowboys, of all teams. This was a totally dysfunctional Dallas squad, ripe to be punched out. Instead, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott punished the Jags' vaunted defense drive after drive. Dallas racked up a whopping 206 yards on the ground alone.

Cowboys’ defensive effort was important for one particular reason, and it could be a sign of things to come - Rick Gosselin, SportsDay
Gosselin notes that Super Bowl teams generate lots of turnovers and the Cowboys “outburst” (four turnovers recorded in two games) is a good sign.

The Baltimore Ravens forced 49 turnovers on the way to their first Super Bowl in 2000. The New England Patriots forced 41 on the way to their second Lombardi Trophy in 2003. The Philadelphia Eagles forced 31 turnovers last season -- 11 more than the Cowboys. That gave the Eagles 11 more chances for their offense to score last season than the Cowboys.

That’s why the defensive effort in a winning cause against the Jaguars was so important. It was the second consecutive two-takeaway game for the 3-3 Cowboys. Maybe the dam is about to burst.

”Turnovers seem to come in bunches for whatever reason,” Heath said.

”Coach Richard says if we get one they’ll come tenfold,” added Lewis. “There’s a positive energy that comes with (takeaways).”


Cowboys can keep on strutting if Dak Prescott continues to produce as a runner - Jarrett Bell, USA Today
Much credit for the Cowboys blowout win has to go to Dak Prescott, or more specifically, Dak Prescott’s legs.

The Cowboys still don’t have a legitimate No. 1 receiver, yet in sticking it to one of the NFL’s best defenses, they demonstrated that they have an element that can at least partially make up for the shortcoming: Dak Prescott’s legs.

...

Then there was the usual for Dallas’ offense. Ezekiel Elliott put up another 100-yard game, finishing with 106 yards on 24 carries, with a score.

Yet on a day when the team rushed for 206 yards, it was Prescott’s running that provided the X-factor as it broke down the defense.

That’s what the Cowboys (3-3) will need more of if they are to make a legitimate run in the tight NFC East, where no team is close to separating.

At least for the time being, Sunday’s performance may quiet some of the questions about whether Prescott – whom the Cowboys found in the fourth round in 2016 – is indeed the franchise quarterback. While Prescott’s accuracy isn’t consistent, he can cover for that to some degree by making plays with his legs.

Scout’s Eye: A Dominant Dallas Pass Rush - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Over at the Mothership we get the former scout’s insights into what Dallas did right in their 40-7 rout of Jacksonville.

The Jaguars’ offense had a difficult time controlling Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch inside, especially when both stepped up to take on the run. There were several snaps in the game where both Smith and Vander Esch were filling gaps and there was nowhere for these backs to even make a cut. The physicality that Vander Esch and Smith have played with has been impressive. They move together like they’re joined at the hip and it just continues to improve each week.

· I really liked the shot that Scott Linehan took on 3rd-and-short to Blake Jarwin that went over his outstretched hands. It appeared that Jarwin was late with his hands, which hurt his chances for the ball. I also thought that if Jarwin would have delayed just a count longer, Jarrod Wilson would have not been able to make it a contested catch. Wilson was staring in the backfield just as Jarwin flashed by him and made a heck of an adjustment to get back on the play.

The Most Dominating Win in Four Years - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Also from the Mothership, Eatman admits that, like most of us, he didn’t expect Sunday’s outcome.

It’s not that I didn’t think the Cowboys could win. I just didn’t think they had the offensive firepower to continue to score enough points to win. And I certainly didn’t think this defense would become absolutely dominant.

But that’s what it was. This was a really good offense, coupled with an amazing defense, coupled with a solid special teams. When you get that, you’re going to win convincingly, as the Cowboys did.

I throw in the special teams because that was a difference for the Jaguars, who had a costly too-many-men-on-the-field penalty, another holding call on a punt and a failed trick play on a punt return that didn’t work.

The Jaguars tried to run the ball and couldn’t. They tried to throw and really couldn’t, aside from one drive.

While the defense was aggressive and gave the Cowboys problems at times, the Jaguars were the ones on their heels most of the night.

How does this happen?

3 things we learned from Cowboys' win over Jaguars, like Dallas' big boosts at defensive tackle - John Owning, SportsDay
Owning looks at the video and finds several things to like about what he sees.

The Cowboys' defensive tackles have been far from problematic this season.

Antwaun Woods has been excellent against the run. Daniel Ross has routinely provided two-to-three splash plays per game. And Tyrone Crawford has performed admirably at a position he wasn't expecting to play in the offseason. Having said all that, it was evident that something was missing at defensive tackle.

Enter David Irving and Maliek Collins.

It's not a coincidence the defensive tackles were able to apply pressure more consistently at the same time Irving and Collins returned to the lineup, as both provide Dallas with a pass-rush ability that is absent in every other defensive tackle not named Tyrone Crawford.

Audibles at the Line: Week 6 - Staff, Football Outsiders
Each week the FO staff provides live commentary on the week’s games.

Bryan Knowles: Hey, this week, the Cowboys decide to go for it on fourth-and-1. Better late than never, I suppose.

Ezekiel Elliott easily converts, because yes, that's what happens when you have a star running back and need to gain 1 yard. They should remember that for more critical situations.

Andrew Potter: The Cowboys are dominating the Jaguars up and down the field today. Having their way with them. With a minute to go in the first half, the Cowboys are in the red zone, and Dak Prescott has more yards rushing than the Jaguars have total yards. The only time the Cowboys punted, the Jaguars had too many men on the field and the penalty was enough for the first. That fourth-and-1, on the edge of field-goal range, was a true no-brainer.

The drive ends with another touchdown to Cole Beasley. 24 points on four drives for Dallas. This is a mauling.

Vince Verhei: Halftime here. As Andrew said, Dallas has 24 point (and 251 total yards) on four drives. Meanwhile, Jacksonville's five possessions have resulted in three three-and-outs, one 35-yard drive that also ended in a punt, and a 12-yard "drive" to end the half. Blake Bortles hasn't had the horrible turnovers he had last week, because they're not letting him do anything -- he only threw eight passes in the half, and three of them were at the end there.


2018 NFL Draft sets profit, attendance records - Peter Dawson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Turns out hosting the 2018 NFL draft was a good move for the DFW area economy.

The Dallas Sports Commission revealed Monday that the 2018 NFL Draft produced an economic impact of $125.2 million. That figure is a record for the event.

The number was calculated using information from VisitDallas.

“We believe the NFL Draft has been one of our most successful events, specifically, from a community engagement standpoint,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys, told the Dallas Sports Commission.

“Not only did the news coverage of community outreach receive more than 1 billion media impressions alone - but the Draft touched more people than ever before. The NFL Draft provides one of the greatest platforms for a region to engage entire school districts, partners and communities as it’s an event that, through the game beyond the field, can make all dreams come true.”