The Dallas Cowboys built a 14-point lead on the road against the Green Bay Packers last week and took it into the fourth quarter which allowed all of us to dream about what life at 7-2 would be like. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Cowboys fell apart and lost that game. Due to the team it came against, and all of the Mike McCarthy story going into it, some old wounds were poked and we spent this past week a bit in doubt as to who this team really is.
We discussed everything from Sunday’s win on The Postgame on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
While no team is perfect, it is very clear that the Cowboys are a different bunch than we have grown accustomed to over the last decade and a half. With questions swirling about their ability to close and a steep test against a team tied for the best record in the NFL, they stood their ground and then claimed new territory.
The Cowboys had their absolute way with the Minnesota Vikings and did so after talking about how they viewed this week as a playoff game. They called their shot, and hit absolutely nothing but net.
It is a holiday week which commands some naturally good vibes and we are leaning into that with this week’s stock report. The arrows are pointing up for everyone involved so let’s have a good time.
Stock Up: Micah Parsons
This felt like a game where the Cowboys had to strike early. It was Minnesota who began with the ball, and while generally speaking the offense has the opportunity to strike, it was Micah Parsons who found a way.
Getting a stop on third down is a good thing. Sacking the quarterback is obviously a good thing. Causing a fumble and having your team recover it is a slightly better good thing! Doing all of them together is a wonderful thing.
Well done, Parsons. Well done.
Stock Up: Dak Prescott
While he had moments of promise last week against the Packers, the reality is that Dak Prescott touched the ball with multiple opportunities to win in Green Bay and failed. Fair or not, you have to deliver when you play his position and have the contract that he does.
Prescott made it a point to not make that mistake against the Vikings in the most literal way possible. The Cowboys scored on all of their first seven possessions including this late-in-the-first-half touchdown from him to Tony Pollard.
This was about as perfect of a performance that you could have asked for from your franchise quarterback. It has been difficult to assess Prescott this season considering the time he missed due to injury but he has played very well over his last three-game stretch, again acknowledging that there was meat left on the bone in Green Bay.
Stock Up: Tony Pollard
For the longest time there has been a conversation about Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. This isn’t to dwell on those days, or point out anyone for being wrong, but the one argument always made was that Tony Pollard needed to touch the ball and to do so a lot.
On Sunday we continued to find out why. He racked up almost 200 total yards and took two passes to the endzone including one from 68 yards out.
It is no longer something that is up for debate, Tony Pollard is the most electrifying player within the Dallas Cowboys offense. We are at the point where can legitimately put him among the best running backs in the NFL.
The Cowboys are going to have a very interesting decision to make on Pollard in the offseason, but we will leave those problems for a few months from now.
Stock Up: Trevon Diggs
When we spoke to Trevon Diggs last week here at BTB (watch the full interview here) he noted how excited he was for the opportunity to play Justin Jefferson. Diggs was up for the challenge.
While Jefferson is an amazing receiver, arguably the best one in the league, he has never been that guy against this team. Perhaps that is because of the presence of Trevon Diggs.
Justin Jefferson actually has played three games against the Cowboys:— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) November 21, 2022
2020 - 3-86-1
2021 - 2-21-0
2022 - 3-33-0
Total: 8-140-1 https://t.co/1SUrLPT5oF
The interception numbers are not there for Diggs, but they were never going to be. What he did last season was impossible to replicate from a production standpoint, but it is undeniable that he has elevated his overall game. He is one of the best cover corners in the league.
Stock Up: DeMarcus Lawrence
As noted, there has been some regression to the mean on things like Trevon Diggs interceptions, but another has been production from DeMarcus Lawrence specifically.
In all of the lead-up to this season we talked about regression and it was sort of under-the-radar how having Lawrence for a full season would impact things. Consider that Tank missed 10 games last regular season and just played his 10th one this year in Minnesota.
Lawrence continued to make his presence known. He is the best run defender on this team and helped mitigate the damage that Dalvin Cook was able to cause, not to mention he notched another sack on the season.
Stock Up: Sam Williams
One would argue that it is “easier” to rush the passer on this defense when the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong, and even Dante Fowler are doing it on a regular basis, but none of that is said to take away from what Sam Williams is doing.
There was a bit of reservation around Williams’ selection and how much the Cowboys compared him to Micah Parsons. But all he has done is live up to that hype. He is something else.
Williams did not record a sack but he will haunt Kirk Cousins for a good minute. It felt like over and over he was disrupting plays and getting into the backfield. He and Dorance Armstrong (who certainly gets an honorable mention this week along with the aforementioned Dante Fowler) tied for tackles for losses on the day with two each.
Stock Up: Brett Maher
We have already apologized, but it sort of feels necessary again after what Brett Maher did on Sunday. His four field goals were incredible.
Truth be told, Maher actually made five field goals due to the issue that surrounded the one that came at the end of the first half. Amazingly his second attempt at it (which counted) was almost perfect!
Maher made field goals from 27, 53, 60 (twice), and 50 yards out. That is 190 yards covered by way of balls that he kicked through the air in an accurate fashion!
In all seriousness, Maher has become one of the more accurate and trustworthy kickers in the NFL. His first stint with this team ended in horrible fashion but he deserves all of the credit in the world for working on his game and getting it all to this point.
Stock Up: CeeDee Lamb
While the statistical production for CeeDee Lamb last week told one story, the reality of the game that he played at Lambeau Field told another one of inconsistency.
Of all of the bets that the Cowboys made this offseason Lamb’s emergence as a consistent number one wide receiver has taken the longest to pay off. This isn’t to say that we haven’t seen Lamb show greatness this season because we obviously have, but it had not happened consistently from week to week or even in the same game as evidenced by what happened in Green Bay.
While he didn’t eclipse 100 yards or anything, Lamb was incredibly clutch against the Minnesota Vikings, including his amazing sideline grab near the end of the first half (which led to one of the most ridiculous “review” processes we have ever seen). He is starting to come into his own which is exciting to see, especially if a certain big name free agent joins him at the position group.
Stock Up: Ezekiel Elliott
Sunday was Ezekiel Elliott’s first game active since the Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions. Think about that. It had been a minute.
While this hardly means Zeke needed to “bounce back” he did have an important role as the team dominated the Vikings. Elliott finished the day with two touchdowns that he plowed in from right near the goal line, both instances where it seemed like a more physical force was necessary.
In no way am I trying to “thunder and lightning” the duo of Elliott and Pollard because that sort of moniker is disingenuous given the types of players we know them to be; however, Elliott clearly has a role to play within this offense and did so very well on Sunday.
Stock Up: Mike McCarthy
This stock up is meant to show love to the entire Dallas Cowboys coaching staff because they did an incredible job on Sunday in Minnesota. They exerted their will in every way.
Games like that one are not games. They are not contests, debates, or matters that need to be figured out. What we witnessed on Sunday was a decision and it was one that the Cowboys have shown that they are capable of making under Mike McCarthy’s leadership.
The Cowboys decided that they were going to go on up to Minnesota and take what was theirs, and in the process they were going to leave nothing in their patch untouched or unconquered.
All week leading up to this game Cowboys players referred to the Vikings game as one of playoff-feeling variety. Given Minnesota’s record prior to kickoff and the fact that they are in heavy contention for the top seed in the NFC this win could go a long way for the Cowboys if they continue to take care of their own work.