The Dallas Cowboys are in a good spot. Currently, the Cowboys sit with the third-best record in the NFC, 10-3 heading into their four games of the regular season. The Cowboys need just one win to clinch a postseason berth, so it seems inevitable that Dallas will return to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 2006-2007.
Today, we take a stab at answering three questions about the future of this Cowboys team as they hope to put together a deep postseason run. Let us know in the comments section your answers to our questions.
What is your biggest cause for concern about the Cowboys heading into the final stretch of the regular season and into the postseason?
There’s more than one acceptable answer to this question, but the pretty obvious one in my mind is their depth at the cornerback spot. If the Cowboys do make the playoffs, which they will barring a historic collapse, almost every team they could potentially face has two very capable wide receivers.
If the Cowboys face the Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round, they’ll have to slow down Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. If they win and move on to face the Eagles or Vikings in the Divisional Round, they’ll go up against either A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith or Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
There’s no reason to not be confident that Trevon Diggs can lockdown his side of the field, but second-year corner Kelvin Joseph on the other side is still a big question mark. Joseph has had a couple of moments that have flashed his potential again this season, but his inexperience could really hurt the Cowboys come playoff time.
We saw Dallas go through an injury scare with Diggs last Sunday against the Texans. If the All-Pro corner was to go down in the final couple of games of the season with an injury and be forced to miss time, Dallas would be looking at Joseph and DaRon Bland or Nashon Wright as their starting corners.
There’s still plenty of hope that 22-year-old Kelvin Joseph can turn into a solid cornerback, but him starting in a playoff game has to make anyone at least a little bit concerned.
What player do you think is the most vital to the Cowboys making a deep postseason run?
This one is simple. It’s Dak Prescott. Contrary to what some of the talking heads in the media may say, Prescott has been very good since his return. Since Week 7, Dak ranks in the top five in the league in EPA + CPOE (0.170 3rd), EPA/Play (0.280 3rd), Success rate (54.5% 2nd), and CPOE (3.4 5th). His 14 touchdown passes since his return are also tied for the third-most in football.
The one area you could criticize Dak in since his return is the turnovers. Eight interceptions in seven games is never good, but it’s hard to put all the blame on Prescott for these miscues. Nonetheless, Prescott has made some throws that would be more categorized as reckless than aggressive, so that certainly will need to be cleaned up.
If the Cowboys are going to make a deep playoff run, it’s going to be because Prescott plays at a high level. He’s been doing so since his return from injury and has a chance to be dominant if he can clean up the mistakes.
Which opponent scares you the most in the NFC in a potential playoff matchup?
As much as I hate to say it, it’s gotta be the Philadelphia Eagles. Right now, there’s no way to argue that the Eagles are not the NFL’s best team. Philly has scored the most points in football, won half of their games by double-digits, and turned the ball over the fewest times, and taken it away the most times. That’s going to win you a ton of games.
Their quarterback, Jalen Hurts, would be the league MVP if the season ended today. Hurts has thrown 22 touchdown passes to just three interceptions, and ranks in the top three in the league in EPA + CPOE (0.161 3rd), EPA/Play (0.242 3rd), and CPOE (3.7 2nd).
Hurts is accompanied on offense by arguably the best rushing attack in football, an absolutely dominant offense line, two stud receivers, and a very solid tight end. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the Eagles’ defense that leads the NFL with 23 takeaways has given up 17 or fewer points in eight of their 12 games this season.
As tough as it might be to say, right now, the Eagles look like a juggernaut. They clearly are the biggest threat to the Cowboys in the NFC and potentially playing them on the road in the playoffs would be one of Dallas’ toughest games in the last decade.