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Cowboys news: Bryan Anger has been an underrated weapon in 2021 for the Cowboys

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Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Punter Bryan Anger flipping the field for the Cowboys in Pro Bold year - Todd Brock, Cowboys Wire

Punters are people, too.

Fans rarely enjoy it when their team’s punter trots out onto the field. But in the hands- or, more accurately, on the foot– of the right specialist, a game can change. In a sport that is all about real estate, no position flips the field more dramatically or more regularly than the punter.

And this year, no punter in the NFC is doing it better than the Cowboys’ Bryan Anger. The ten-year veteran was named to his first Pro Bowl this week, and while he plays a role that rarely gets much love from anyone beyond other punters or coaches, Anger’s all-star nod puts at least a little bit of the spotlight on a guy who’s made a big difference in Dallas.

The 33-year-old California native is averaging 48 yards per punt this season, the best of his 10-year pro career. Better, even, than his rookie year of 2012, when he was a fresh-faced phenom out of Cal who was drafted by Jacksonville in the third round, the highest a punter had been selected in nearly two decades.

Ranking QBs Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs will try to pick off the remainder of 2021 - Lauren Barash, The Landry Hat

Trevon Diggs is up to the challenge, but will any QBs throw the ball his way?

1. Kyler Murray, Cardinals

Despite missing three games this season with an ankle injury, there’s no denying that Kyler Murray has been a big part of the reason the Arizona Cardinals have had a great year.

Right now, Murray is second in the league in completion percentage (69.8), only .01 percent behind Tua Tagovailoa (69.9). He is also averaging an impressive 276.3 passing yards per game. While the Cowboys have a very impressive defensive front, we know that Murray is incredibly agile, quick, and can both run and throw the ball. Murray makes magical plays happen when they don’t seem possible thanks to his elusiveness.

So, yes. Murray is a much better quarterback than the others Diggs will face. But, let’s also remember that Diggs has already picked off Tom Brady (+165) and Justin Herbert (+2500), who according to WynnBet, currently sit higher than Murray (+4000) on the MVP odds.

Will Cowboys’ Dan Quinn win NFL Assistant Coach of the Year? - Richie Whitt, Cowboys Maven

Dan Quinn has been everything the Cowboys wanted for the defense this year.

*Yes, there is such a thing as an award for NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. And, yes, Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn should win it, hands down.

Without him in 2020 Dallas’ defense was historically horrible, the worst in franchise history. With him in 2021, two players made the Pro Bowl, the defense leads the league in interceptions and this team has a chance to lead the NFL in turnover margin for the first time in 62 seasons of Cowboys football.

Cowboys 2021 playoff scenarios: Week 16 impact games - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

There’s no shortage of games to watch in Week 16 that could impact the Cowboys.

Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals

Rooting interest with the Cardinals is a tricky thing right now. Their presence in our current three-way tie with Tampa Bay is what’s currently nullifying the Bucs’ head-to-head win over Dallas from Week 1. So from that standpoint, we may want them to keep on winning.

But with the Cowboys and Cardinals meeting next week, someone is obviously taking at least one more loss this season (barring a tie). But even if Arizona drops out, we could see the Rams become NFC West leaders and then join Dallas and Tampa in the triad. And with L.A. having a head-to-head win over the Bucs this year, that would cancel out their win over the Cowboys in a tiebreaker.

So yeah, it’s complicated. And with three games left, hard to say what’s best for Dallas with so many variables still swirling around.

Tampa Bay Bucs @ Carolina Panthers

There’s no confusion when it comes to the Bucs. We want them to lose and keep right on losing the rest of the regular season, putting that head-to-head tiebreaker as far away as possible. While the Panthers don’t seem likely to help our cause, it’s hard to say anything’s certain after watching Arizona and Tampa drop games to the Lions and Saints a week ago.

2021 NFL Week 16 Dallas Cowboys fan rooting guide: The #1 seed is in reach, with a little help - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys

Who should the Cowboys be rooting for and against in Week 16?

Dallas Cowboys rooting interests related to the number one seed

A few things do need to happen for the Cowboys to win the NFC East without lifting a finger, we’ll get to them in just a minute, but our focus is obviously on goals well beyond that given the success that the Cowboys have had this year. Put simply, we want the number one seed.

Dallas only has the number two seed at the moment by virtue of a three-way tie that they are in with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. The former beat Dallas in Week 1 of this season so if it comes down to just the two of them the Buccaneers will top the Cowboys in seedings and since Dallas hosts Arizona next Sunday, the Cardinals cannot end the regular season in the three-way tie that has currently set up Dallas so well. We need another team to enter the logjam since Dallas will own the tiebreaker (which is conference record at that point) over all of them.

This all means that we either need the Los Angeles Rams to win out (which is why we are rooting for them this week) or the Green Bay Packers to drop a game (which would be awesome always). If either of these things happen and the Cowboys win out then Dallas will be, at minimum, the number two seed in the NFC.

You will note that we are also rooting for the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, and Miami Dolphins this week. A reminder that their first-round picks belong to the Philadelphia Eagles (Indy and Miami) and New York Giants (Chicago) so we want to see those be as low as possible.

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