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Cowboys news: Dallas’ true identity set to be revealed in the next month

A stretch of five consecutive games against winning teams begins this Thursday with Seattle.

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Cowboys 5-game gauntlet starts at home with Seahawks, Eagles - Shane Taylor,

Where Dallas ranks among the NFL’s elite teams will be decided in the next month.

Since the 49ers loss, the Cowboys have played like one of the best teams in football.

They did lose to the Eagles on the road, but the offense put up over 450 yards, and they had plenty of chances to win the game.

Now, as Dak Prescott has continued to play well, it’s all about that they haven’t played anyone.

That is fine; we saw the Packers go into Detroit and beat the Lions on Thanksgiving. It happens in this league. The Cowboys are doing what they should be. Not even allowing these teams to make it a game.

That is something they have always struggled with… playing with their food.

Seattle is 6-5 and would be the seventh seed if the playoffs started today.

They struggled at home last Thursday against the 49ers.

They had a chance in the 3rd quarter to cut it to a one-score game, but once they had to settle for 3, making the score 24-13, the Niners ran away with it.

Seattle has beaten the Lions and the Browns, so if the Cowboys can pull out the win on Thursday, I don’t want anyone moving the goalposts and talking about them not being good.

Dating back to the start of last season, the Cowboys currently have a 13-game home winning streak. They are playing awesomely at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys have the toughest stretch of their schedule starting now, and the way they are playing should help because right after the Seahawks head out of town, they welcome the Eagles.

That matchup could be for first place in the NFC East.

Philly’s next two games are at home against Buffalo and the 49ers.

If they drop either of those games, December 10th is the season’s most-watched game. Dallas will have a chance to silence a lot of folks.

Credit Mike McCarthy for rise of Dallas Cowboys offense, QB Dak Prescott’s MVP run - Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A noted “QB whisperer,” coach McCarthy deserves recognition for Prescott’s stellar play.

No quarterback in the NFL is playing better than Dak Prescott over the past six weeks.

Prescott has a passer rating of 122.6 with 1,874 yards, 18 touchdowns and two interceptions to lead the Dallas Cowboys (8-3) to five wins during that span.

He is ranked by Pro Football Focus as the highest-graded quarterback in the NFL and put himself firmly in the running for league MVP honors.

And as much Prescott gets over analyzed and over scrutinized when he doesn’t play well, he is likewise getting his flowers nationally for his career-best hot streak.

The same can’t be said about coach Mike McCarthy, who is the true mastermind behind the Cowboys offense as the play caller and offensive coordinator.

McCarthy got a lot of blame for the early-season struggles on offense when the Cowboys had the league’s 17th-ranked offense and 20th-ranked passing attack through the first five weeks.

It was perceived as an issue with McCarthy’s archaic offensive philosophy and an example of the modern game passing him by, largely based on his rhetoric during the offense of not worrying about having a highly-ranked offense and being more focused on running the damn ball to protect his defense.

Prescott points to the changes he made following the 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers when he completed 14 of 24 passes for 153 yards with 1 touchdown and thre interceptions.

He started using his feet more.

It’s also when McCarthy cut Prescott loose and released the reigns on the offense.

And as much has Prescott is in a zone, the same is true for McCarthy, whose offense rose to sixth in yards, sixth in passing and second in points while leading the league with 29 10-play drives before last Thursday’s 45-10 Thanksgiving Day feast of the Washington Commanders.

Cowboys’ Dak Prescott fully in sync with Mike McCarthy offense, earns highest single-game QB grade since 2007 - Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

Prescott comes off of arguably his best performance of the season on Thanksgiving.

Prescott completed 22 of of his 32 passes for 331 yards and four passing touchdowns, with two of them traveling over 30 yards: a second quarter touchdown to wide receiver Brandin Cooks of 31 yards and a fourth-quarter scoring strike to wide receiver KaVontae Turpin, which kickstarted an on-field, turkey leg-eating celebration.

That production, including his effectiveness throwing on vertical routes — spelled out by the NFL’s Next Gen Stats below — led to Prescott earning a 97.0 grade from Pro Football Focus, giving him the highest-graded game by any quarterback in 2023 and the highest single-game grade by a quarterback since 2007.

“I think the situational football really, really stood out,” Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said postgame on Thursday. “The clutch throws, particularly attacking the endzone. We just got to keep chugging, you know keep pounding away, [in] the run game. So that’s something that you always look at and want to improve on, but I think that the benefits of moving him [Prescott via scrambles to set up passes] and particularly the red zone, on the gold zone and some of the situational calls. I thought he was incredible.”

“We know what we want to do,” Prescott said postgame Thursday. “We know how we want to attack. We know how we want to go at these different teams. We’re running plays that we’ve ran since the spring. Dressing them up different ways, giving them a different approach. Comfortable. Honestly credit the offensive line. That’s where it starts. The way that they’re protecting, giving me time to take shots down the field. Allowing me to extend plays whether it be using my feet, make plays down the field again after breaking the pocket. Guys are running, guys are running to win, and he’s [McCarthy] flying them off the all sheet, and it feels good.”

Cowboys blowout of Commanders nevertheless draws 41.4 million viewers - Mike Florio, NBC Sports

Another Thanksgiving game, another example why the Cowboys are “America’s Team.”

A captive audience can easily overcome a blowout.

The Commanders-Cowboys game, landing in the middle window on Thanksgiving, drew an average audience of 41.4 million, according to CBS.

It’s the most-watched show since Super Bowl LVII. CBS also calls it the third most-watched regular-season game in league history.

Making the development even more amazing is the fact that it was a blowout. But that doesn’t matter on Thanksgiving afternoon, when families are looking for something to do other than, you know, interact and there’s nothing else on.

It would be interesting to see how much better a better game (like Eagles-Cowboys) would have done in that spot. The difference might not have justified moving Eagles-Cowboys from another significant spot, like 4:25 p.m. ET on a Sunday — or in prime time.

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