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The Cowboys look the part of a real contender after the 40-3 trouncing of the Minnesota Vikings

The Cowboys looked legit on Sunday against the Vikings, restoring confidence for the rest of the season.

NFL: NOV 20 Cowboys at Vikings

Week 11 was the best performance of the season for the Dallas Cowboys; a complete game. Knowing the Vikings were 8-1 coming into the game, and seeing how it all unfolded was quite the shocker. Minnesota, up until this past week, look every bit of a Super Bowl contender.

For the record, the Vikings are a very good football team, and it is not out of the question that these two teams will play again come playoff time. Every once in awhile, a really good football team deep in the season takes a loss that has folks second guessing them as a contender. Sure, the Vikings took a whooping but it is very premature to count them out, even with how awful they looked against America’s Team. The Vikings still have plenty of play-makers including Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook. They’ll be just fine.

Given the quality of opponent in the Minnesota Vikings, and a new Cowboys franchise record for a road victory, this just showed the world how good Dallas can be when they live up to their potential. That 37-point franchise record victory on the road against an 8-1 Vikings squad is quite the accomplishment for a team who the week prior took a tough loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.

Week 12’s matchup against another quality opponent, the New York Giants, could help keep the train moving or stop it right in its tracks. This Thanksgiving game for Dallas is one of those games that could give us all a better idea as to where this team can realistically go. If the Vikings game was a precursor for things to come, then it’s going to be an enjoyable ride. If the Vikings game was just an anomaly, then the rest of the 2022 campaign could get quite bumpy. The main question after Week 11’s performance heading into Week 12’s game is - are the Cowboys for real?

The Cowboys are for real... if?

It would sure go a long way in providing proof that this team is for real, if and only if they can continue to provide balance on offense. Balance on offense is so crucial as it will make things that much harder on the opposition defense, leading to more points scored. That plus an elite defense poses many obstacles for each opponent and gives the Cowboys a much higher chance of winning games.

Dak Prescott is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL currently, but he doesn’t need to throw the ball as much as he did in Week 10. He certainly can do that if it is absolutely necessary, but why do that when you don’t need to? That would just make things easier for them, and making things easier for an opposing defense isn’t typically how successful teams put wins on the board.

The Cowboys also have a duo of running backs that are among the elite in the league, so it would be wise to continue to use them. Mixing in both the run and pass game like Dallas did in Week 11 is a recipe for success, and if they can continue to execute a similar kind of game, then answer to the question regarding if they are real or not is a resounding yes.

The Cowboys are not for real... if?

On the flip side, the Cowboys rush defense is still a major question mark. It is such a question mark that it will come back to bite Dallas later on in the year if it isn’t properly addressed.

The total rushing yards given up in Week 11 was just 73, and it sounds like a nice bounce back given the recent games where the prior two opponents eclipsed the 200 yard mark. However, Dalvin Cook was essentially scripted out of the game due to the Cowboys pass rush, and the Cowboys offense scoring points. Dallas’ deep and talented pass rushing group made the Vikings offensive line look like a turnstile at your local concert venue. The Vikings couldn’t get going with their passing game at all, and the sacks put them continually behind the chains, exacerbating the problem of mixing in the run.

Regardless, the rushing defense for Dallas still gave up an average of 6.5 yards per carry to Dalvin Cook and that is quite concerning going forward. If more teams can nullify the pass rush and attack the porous run defense of the Cowboys, then the answer to if they are real or not turns into an unfortunate no.

After one of the best victories for Dallas in quite some time, it showed once again how talented this team is. On offense, balance is key, and with balance comes success. Defensively, this unit needs to do everything it can to get better at stopping the run or another lost season could be in the cards. The talent is there, and if the Vikings game showed the world anything, it is that this team is very capable of winning the whole darn thing.

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