We are not quite to game day for the Cowboys in Week 9, so we’ll continue to look at their matchup with the Titans. We’ll use the help of Pro Football Focus to do it.
The Cowboys will be focused on getting Amari Cooper involved on Monday night. In order to do that, they will need to provide protection for Dak Prescott. The Cowboys shook up their offensive line by replacing the offensive line coach, Paul Alexander, with his assistant, Marc Colombo. There has already been talk about returning to their old techniques along the line, and Colombo wants to add violence and nastiness to the line.
One piece of the line that is already working is Zack Martin. He just keeps on clocking elite pass blocking numbers.
The Cowboys pass offense will be facing a defense that plays a lot of man coverage in the secondary. That is something that Prescott and the Cowboys have struggled with. Some of that is because their receivers are unable to create separation on a consistent basis. It’s also on Scott Linehan who doesn’t involve a lot of pick/rub routes and other “man-beating schemes” to his offense. Instead, his plays tend to depend on receivers beating their man instead of scheming them open. Amari Cooper should help in this regard as he can create separation through his skillful route-running. It will be important that the Cowboys are able to work against man coverage on Monday night.
There is a hole in the Titans pass defense, and it comes in the form of a big name. Corner Malcolm Butler is struggling in his new home. The Cowboys may want to use Amari Cooper and target him relentlessly.
On defense, the Cowboys will want to be sure and contain Marcus Mariota and not allow the Titans to run the ball. The duo of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis are not really going to strike fear in the Cowboys run defense, but adding Mariota into the mix can be a problem. Dallas will also need to contain Lewis in the passing game where he has been particularly effective. A guy who can help there is the Cowboys stud rookie linebacker. Leighton Vander Esch entered Dallas with a lot of skepticism from the fanbase, but he’s proven to be well worth his draft pick.
If the Cowboys can protect Prescott, and find some success in their passing game to complement their running attack, they should be able to put points on the board. On the defensive side, just make sure the Titans can’t get the running game going and contain the short passing game to Lewis, and the Titans will struggle to move the ball.