Well that last game got out of control in a hurry. The back end of schedule, from Thanksgiving and beyond, always looked favorable for the Dallas Cowboys. And right now the Cowboys sit in the middle of that favorable section, as they get ready to suit up against their in-state rival, the Houston Texans.
So how does each offensive position on both teams fare in a head-to-head battle?
Dak Prescott vs Davis Mills
The Cowboys managed to pile on 54 points last week against the Indianapolis Colts. But what’s even crazier, you can’t call this a good game by Dak Prescott. In the first half, Dak was missing throws, he was wide on his mechanics on a couple of throws, and he was lucky one or two throws weren’t picked off. In the second half however, Dak was back in full swing and playing with confidence. The play-calling was better, which suited what Dak wanted to do. Some of the throws people would class as bad throws should of had some flags thrown on the play for facemask, illegal contact or pass interference by the defense. But blaming referees is an ugly way to do this. Regardless of the slow start, Dak still threw three touchdowns, finished with a rating of 100.7, and only had one sack. Let’s see some more designed runs in the playbook for Dak though, he had zero rushes last week, and only one attempt in the last three weeks.
For Houston, they are already eliminated from playoff contention, the second year in a row they are the first team to be mathematically eliminated. Davis Mills is again the signal-caller in Houston after getting benched for Kyle Allen for two games. Mills has both eleven touchdowns and interceptions this year. His 93 throws for a first down, and 62% completion rate, is one of the lowest among starting quarterbacks. For Allen, things didn’t look much better. In the two games he started, he managed a 59% completion rate, two touchdowns and four interceptions. The seven-game losing streak Houston find themselves in is likely to grow no matter who is under center.
Elliott/Pollard vs Pierce/Burkhead
Everyone has issue with the Cowboys run defense, but on the other side of the ball is the Cowboys run attack. Against the Colts, the Cowboys racked up a very impressive 220 yards on the ground. And in the last three games, the Cowboys running game averages 180 yards which is third best. To put some contrast on how good the running backs for Dallas are, last week Zeke had the lowest average yard per carry at a very effective 4.5 yards per carry. Yes, that was the worst! Tony Pollard is looking better at taking handoffs down the middle, and the hope going forward is that he remains a Cowboy next season and beyond. Let’s also remind everyone, Malik Davis got his chance as well, and scored a touchdown. Amazing to watch.
In the last three games, the Texans rushing game averaged 46 yards per game, that ranks last. Dameon Pierce was putting together a very good season but he looks as though he’s hit the rookie wall, and slowed down a tick. He’s failed to get to the 100-yard mark in the last four weeks, and has failed to score since Week 5. Behind Pierce is Rex Burkhead, who averages 3.5 yards per carry on his 24 attempts this year. He does offer a receiving option, and has one receiving touchdown this year, and 164 receiving yards. He’s on the injury report due to concussion protocol, so his status is unknown.
Lamb/Gallup/Brown vs Cooks/Collins/Moore
The last few weeks CeeDee Lamb is really showing up. In the play where he caught the ball, dragged his feet to move backward on the play to kill any angle the defenders had on him, was reminiscent of his play making ability back in Oklahoma. He’s playing more physical, with more confidence, and what looks like an alpha mentality. Lamb’s willingness and strength to get his body in on the blocking for running plays is also commendable. Lamb is getting close to the elite wide receiver status. Michael Gallup had himself a day too. With Lamb taking up so much attention, Gallup was able to use his burst and strength to get involved and score two touchdowns. The chemistry between Gallup and Dak, as well as Lamb, is becoming more solidified, and that is showing up on the field.
Brandin Cooks is on the injury report, missing last week’s game due to a calf injury. Behind Cooks is Nico Collins, who isn’t a bad receiver, and they also have ex-Baltimore Ravens pass catcher Chris Moore. Both these players combined have less receiving yards than Lamb, and have four touchdowns between them. They also combine for 33 first downs, as compared to Lamb’s 49. The lack of talent at quarterback, teams not respecting the run game, and a general struggling offense makes watching these guys trying to get a first down look exhausting.
Dalton Schultz vs Jordan Atkins
The receiving options at Dallas, which has been playing phenomenal the last few weeks, are making it tough for the front office to decide on Odell Beckham Jr., and having the dynamic receiver, if healthy, would be great. But the tight end group in Dallas is part of the factor to make that a hard decision. Dalton Schultz was second in receiving yards against the Colts, and in Week 12 it was Jake Ferguson reeling in the catches. But it’s also the run blocking by the tight ends that looks much more improved, and yet another reason why Zeke and Pollard get such good production.
Jordan Atkins leads the team in receiving touchdowns with two. He averages 32 receiving yards per game. And as for his blocking, he’s much more suited to a zone scheme in the run game, but his technique lacks consistency.
The sack streak is finally over. The Cowboys allowed their first sack during the Colts game since Green Bay. Some in-game line changes were made last week during the Colts game. Clearly they are looking at the guys they have, as well as giving players reps to keep them sharp. All this points to one obvious change coming, Tyron Smith. The Cowboys line gets stronger as the season inches closer to the playoffs and that is an exciting development. When, and how quickly, they put Tyron Smith back in the lineup full-time is up for debate. But the whole line is looking to get better soon. Now much can be said about continuity, which breeds consistency, but right now it seems as though the coaching staff are doing a little line dancing, trying to find the best five guys going forward.
Houston’s line does have some players. Kenyon Green was a name some people at Dallas wanted to see here. He is, however, having his struggles in his rookie year. They also have Laremy Tunsil, a name most people are familiar with for various reasons, and is a pretty good pass blocker. Tytus Howard and Scott Queensbury, however, are allowing a bunch of pressures, much like Green. And the Texans line ranks eighth-worst in pressures allowed, and eighth-worst in sacks allowed. Dallas still ranks best in sacks allowed.
Which team has the better offense?
This poll is closed