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Cowboys News: Dallas wins, but slow starts still plague the team

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What they’re saying after the latest win.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys leading NFC East again but can’t shake slow starts - Schuyler Dixon, Yahoo Sports

The final score of the Cowboys’ victory over the Giants wasn’t indicative of how close it was all night, and a lot of that had to do with the slow start that Dallas got off to. This has been a common theme for this team all year, and it’s not a good sign that it’s continued into November.

‘’We definitely have to fix that if we want to be a good team,’’ running back Ezekiel Elliott said. ‘’We did pick it up in the second half and finished really strong. But I’d like to see us go out there and take over that game early.’’

After a 24-22 loss to the New York Jets in the stadium the Jets share with the Giants, the Cowboys played their most complete game, a dismantling of Philadelphia, the only other threat in the division for the NFC East’s defending champions.

But after the open week, Dallas returned to the place where the Jets won their only game so far this season and showed the inconsistency that marked a 3-3 start (three consecutive wins followed by three straight losses).

Jerry Jones: Team was feeding off of Michael Bennett - Josh Alper, Yahoo Sports

Monday night marked Michael Bennett’s Dallas Cowboys debut after the team traded for him during the bye week, and Bennett definitely showed why the team was so eager to get him into the organization.

Bennett had a sack, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in the 37-18 victory.

“I thought he was outstanding,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “I thought he was really impactful in there. I thought you could see the team in general were feeding off of what he was bringing. Of course, very likely he was feeding off what [DeMarcus Lawrence] was doing out there and what [Robert Quinn] was doing. Still, he really is a great addition for us. I don’t use that word much, but he’s a great addition.”

The Cowboys had five sacks overall on Monday night and gave up just one touchdown over the course of the evening, which meant the team could overcome a sluggish start to improve to 5-3 on the season. If Bennett’s presence can spur more performances like that in the coming weeks, trading for him will be a clear addition to Jones’s win column.

Vikings’ Adam Thielen unlikely to play vs. Cowboys - Grant Gordon, NFL.com

Now that the Cowboys have won their Monday night game, it’s a short week of preparation for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. But Dallas got good news Tuesday, as Vikings star receiver Adam Thielen is likely to miss the contest.

Battling a bum hamstring, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen played on Sunday against the Chiefs, but it was an abbreviated appearance of only seven snaps. It’s doubtful that will happen again.

Thielen is unlikely to play this Sunday against the Cowboys, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday afternoon.

In addition, Pelissero explained Thielen’s strained hamstring suffered no further damage against the Chiefs, but he could feel it pulling and needed to “calm it down.”

CowBuzz: Cowboys 7th In Latest Power Rankings - Mayan Meza Tovar, DallasCowboys.com

With the win over the Giants, the Cowboys maintained their lead in the NFC East with an undefeated division record so far. This has resulted in some power rankings giving more respect to the team than they were a couple weeks ago.

We last left off with a victory against the Philadelphia Eagles that proved the Dallas Cowboys are still a powerhouse team. Although the Cowboys had time to relax on the bye last week, the NFL Power Rankings continued to shift. NFL.com’s rankings held down the Cowboys at No. 7 and praised Ezekiel Elliott for his performance against the Eagles.

This week ESPN decided to keep the ‘Boys at No. 12 and says LB Jaylon Smith will be a key factor for the defense to be “feared” down the stretch. Dallas is back in CBS Sports’ top 10! The rise in rank above the Rams and under the Colts places the Cowboys at No. 9, a two-spot jump from last week.

Why Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis thought he was in trouble after his 63-yard fumble return TD - Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News

Jourdan Lewis made yet another highlight play when he scooped up the fumble late in the game and returned it for a 63-yard touchdown. However, given the situation in the game, the young cornerback expected to be chewed out for it.

“Honestly, I should have kneeled it,” Lewis said. “I saw the clock. It was six seconds. And I knew the situation. We always talk about it: ‘Get down.’ And I was just like, ‘I don’t know how many chances I’m going to get like this one. This is clean.’ I just took it.”

Lewis punctuated Monday evening with a 63-yard return touchdown. After celebrating with teammates, he warily returned to the sideline, expecting a scolding from a coach. None came. Not from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Not from passing game coordinator Kris Richard. Not even from coach Jason Garrett.

“Because he’s the situational guy,” Lewis said of Garrett. “He’s (usually) the first one to be pissed, but he was only elated for me. It was a good feeling.”

Blown pass interference calls in Cowboys-Giants debacle has Hall of Famer Tony Dungy fired up - Todderick Hunt, NJ.com

One of the talking points from the Cowboys/Giants game was a moment where Giants head coach Pat Shurmur lost a challenge on a pass interference no-call, which feeds into a larger narrative about the new rule. It has one former head coach heated.

There’s a sense around the league that officials are taking the new challenge rule personally and aren’t overturning some of the most obvious missed calls out of spite. Now an analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America, Dungy revealed his frustration with the league’s instant replay challenge policy this afternoon via Twitter.

Please NFL do us a favor and don’t let coaches challenge any more Pass Interference calls. You’re causing teams to lose time outs, making your officiating department look inept, and making us fans feel stupid—like we don’t know the meaning of clear, obvious and significant!

The tweet was accompanied by the photo revealing clear pass interference by a Cowboys defensive back on a Giants wide receiver during the play.

Prescott’s strong statistical case for MVP, Cowboys climb rankings - Dan Morse, Cowboys Wire

Dak Prescott has definitely been playing at a level that we’ve never seen before this year, and it’s played a role in the Cowboys offense being one of the league’s best. So why isn’t he getting more MVP buzz?

Prescott is second in the league in total QBR, according to ESPN. He also leads the NFL in success rate, and comes in second in EPA/dropback, though EPA can be inflated (or deflated) due to coaching decisions as well as team talent level.

Another approach to measuring quarterback play comes in the form of NFL Next Gen Stats’ Completion % Above Expectation (+/-). This shows the difference in a QB’s actual completion percentage and their expected completion percentage. Expected completion percentage is based on numerous factors, including receiver separation and proximity of the nearest pass rusher, but it’s been shown that the biggest factor is simply target depth. We can plot these two together to get an idea of how accurate a QB is as well as how effective he is.

BTB Podcast

The short week life means that we can only celebrate so long as the Minnesota Vikings are coming soon. We discuss on the latest episode of The Ocho.

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