Sitting with a 6-2 record, there are plenty of reasons to feel good about the way the Dallas Cowboys have looked eight games into the season. Today we take a look forward and examine three reasons to feel optimistic about the Cowboys as they enter the second half.
1) A Truly Dominant Defense
It’s pretty remarkable when you look at just how good the Dallas Cowboys defense has been so far this season. Entering the bye week, Dallas’ defense is near, or at, the top of the league in multiple defensive categories.
The Cowboys have the most sacks (34) in the NFL, and Pro Football Focus has their team pass-rush grade at 84.6, leading the league. Dallas’ defense also has allowed the second-fewest total points (133), and holds the second-best first-down percentage (28.4%). They also are fourth in first downs allowed (74) and tied for sixth with 13 takeaways.
Micah Parsons has been the clear best defensive player in football through eight games and is tied for the second-most sacks in football with eight. Dorance Armstrong, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Dante Fowler have combined to record 13 sacks, and All-Pro Trevon Diggs has 12 pass defenses and three interceptions.
Led by their stars, the Cowboys’ defense is the main reason this team has gotten off to a 6-2 start. If there is one thing to be optimistic about as the Cowboys enter the second half of the season, it’s certainly their defense.
2) Return Of The Dak
In the two games he has played since returning from injury, Dak Prescott has been the most efficient quarterback in football. During this two-game span, Prescott leads the NFL in EPA/Play (0.491), Success Rate (66.1%), and EPA+CPOE Composite (0.270), via RBSDM.
Prescott has completed nearly 77% of his passes, has a quarterback rating of 114, and has thrown three touchdown passes. Minus the first half against Detroit, the Cowboys offense has looked like a completely new unit with Prescott back under center.
The Cowboys were limited as to what they could accomplish with Cooper Rush as their quarterback. With Dak back in the saddle, the possibilities are limitless, and they have a legitimate chance at making a deep postseason run.
Dak Prescott’s return is one of the best things to happen to the Cowboys so far this season, and his performance overall is a big reason for optimism moving forward.
3) A Favorable Second Half Schedule
When you look at the Cowboys schedule past the bye week, there are plenty of winnable games. Other than the two road matchups against the Packers and Vikings in Weeks 10 and 11, Dallas should be favored in every other game on their schedule.
Starting with a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the New York Giants, Dallas plays four of five games at home before ending the season on the road facing the Tennessee Titans and Washington Commanders.
The Colts, Texans, Jaguars, and Commanders are teams the Cowboys should have no problem beating, giving them a chance to add four relatively easy wins. If they can take care of business against the bad teams and take three of five against the Vikings, Packers, Giants, Eagles, and Titans, that would put them with a 13-4 record at season’s end.
Overall, Dallas has gotten the hard part of their schedule out of the way and some favorable second-half matchups are another reason to be optimistic.