Cowboys need to take care of their own business, but a little help wouldn’t hurt either.
They’ll need some help to do so, but it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion they will win the NFC East if they emerge from this weekend’s trip to New York victorious and the Philadelphia Eagles defend their home turf against the team coming up I-95, the Football Team from Washington.
That scenario will eliminate Washington from the race, and leave the Eagles with only the slightest chance of winning a strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Dallas. Right now the teams the Cowboys have defeated have won a total of 56 games. The teams the Eagles have defeated have won 28 games. Dallas’ best wins have come over the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots, winners of eight and nine games respectively going into the weekend.
The Eagles’ best win has been over the 7-6 Denver Broncos.
Because of this, the Eagles would need to win their final three games, Dallas lose their final three games and for the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and the opponents of both the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots to combine for 12 wins in their final 16 games.
That’s not happening, so while Dallas will need five results (plus a win and Eagles’ loss) to officially clinch this weekend, for all intents and purposes the East will be in the bag just if the division results work as outlined.
But Dallas’ goal isn’t just making the playoffs, they have a realistic shot at the No. 1 seed or at least moving up from the No. 4 seed. Here’s how things can work out in their favor.
The Cowboys got some unexpected bad news on the eve fo the game.
The Cowboys have been fairly heathy, virus and otherwise, lately. Now the Cowboys have two of the key members of their defensive tackle group missing in Odighizuwa and Hill. It is a setback on the eve of a game where they have an opportunity to lock up a playoff spot and just about seal the NFC East crown.
Ameliorating the effects of the announcement is that Neville Gallimore is back and had a very good first game against the Washington Football Team, notching a sack. Along with Hamilton, Carlos Watkins and Quinton Bohanna will be there to try and take up the slack. This is still unwelcome news as Dallas is already going to be missing OT Tyron Smith and RB Tony Pollard remains a game time decision. Meanwhile, the Giants are dealing with multiple injury/health issues of their own, most importantly the unavailability of starting QB Daniel Jones.
What do the Cowboys need to do to beat the Giants Sunday?
2. Keep Forcing Turnovers
What a year it has been for the Dallas Cowboys defense. They have played better than anyone has expected, especially after how terrible they were a season ago.
As a result, a lot of credit has to go to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn has gotten these guys ready every week and that shows on the football field.
A big part of this defense’s success has been the turnovers. This season, the Cowboys have forced 27 turnovers, the second-highest mark in the NFL.
As a matter of fact, it’s actually been their hands-on defense causing interceptions that has been the difference. They currently lead the league with 20 interceptions, thanks in large part to the break out of cornerback Trevon Diggs, who has nine.
This matchup is another prime opportunity for the Cowboys to continue forcing turnovers. America’s Team has forced four turnovers in back-to-back games. They had four interceptions against the New Orleans Saints in Week 13 and another four takeaways (three forced fumbles & one interception) against Washington in Week 14.
A little Q&A between division rivals.
Q: Dak seems to have struggled lately. Is there a recurring theme you can see behind his sudden bumpy road?
A: The recurring theme is his injuries this season. He recovered nicely from the shoulder injury suffered in camp, but the calf injury sustained at the end of the Patriots game in Week 6 is another story.
He’s not fully recovered, and it’s affecting his footwork and throwing motion, and he’s both inaccurate and unconfident. We probably won’t see the MVP caliber Dak again until next season when he’s had the offseason to heal and rehab.
Q: If I recall correctly, there were some concerns about the defensive secondary at the start of the season. The defense has played lights out. What happened to where the defense has clicked?
A: I think the questions around the secondary came up because the Cowboys did not get one of their two big targets in the draft, Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn. They both went right before the Cowboys picked at 10. But that was a blessing in disguise as it allowed Dallas to trade back to 12 and take Micah Parsons while gaining an additional third-round pick as well.
Some keys to victory.
The Cowboys will win if…
The Cowboys can essentially wrap up the division with a clean game against the Giants. If the team avoids turnovers and silly penalties on offense while getting an efficient effort from Dak Prescott, the Cowboys should be able to move the ball up and down the field against the Giants. Corey Clement needs to complement Ezekiel Elliott on the ground to give the running game a little more pop against a sturdy defense. If the Cowboys’ offensive line is able to control the trenches, the offensive coordinator can put up points utilizing a conservative game plan that keeps the ball out of harm’s way.
Defensively, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn needs to release the hounds on the Giants’ offense with a backup quarterback in the lineup. Micah Parsons, Randy Gregory, and Demarcus Lawrence could destroy the Giants’ frontline on a variety of stunts, games, and blitzes that create one-on-one pass-rush opportunities at the line. If the Cowboys rough up the quarterback early, the secondary will come down with a handful of interceptions on overthrows down the field. The combination of pass rush and coverage should overwhelm the Giants and lead to a comfortable win against an NFC East foe.
Blogging The Boys Podcast Network and YouTube Channel
We offer a different show every single day on the Blogging The Boys podcast network.
- Monday: CowboysCast with Bobby Belt
- Tuesday: The 75O with Tony Casillas and RJ Ochoa
- Wednesday: The NFC East Mixtape with RJ Ochoa and Brandon Gowton
- Wednesday: Talkin’ The Draft with Connor Livesay, Cole Patterson, and Dalton Miller
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