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Position battleground (offense): Cowboys at Bills head-to-head breakdown

Which offense do you trust more right now, Dallas or Buffalo?

Buffalo Bills v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

This week the Dallas Cowboys take on the Buffalo Bills in an extremely important contest for both teams. The Cowboys are looking to maintain the top spot in the NFC East while the Bills are hoping to close the gap on the Miami Dolphins who just lost to the Tennessee Titans. Let’s break down both teams offense’s by position and find out which team looks stronger.

QUARTERBACK
Dak Prescott
vs.
Josh Allen

If you were on the fence about whether Dak should be the front runner for the Most Valuable Player award before the Philadelphia Eagles game, hopefully his performance during the game has helped sway your opinion. Dak is having the season of his life right now and he’s threading some difficult throws into tight windows. This week he faces a defense that is allowing a completion percentage of 66.2%, which is ninth-worst. But where Dak needs to be cognizant this week is the Bills ability to generate pressure and create sacks. The defensive line is extremely clever at disguising where the pressure is coming from, as a result the team has totaled 42 sacks this season, third-most in the NFL. Adding to that, the defense has allowed only 17 passing touchdowns this year, that’s the same amount as the Cowboys defense. But the Bills rank 13th in passer rating allowed (87.2).

Josh Allen is a very capable quarterback, he’s second in the NFL in passing touchdowns (just below Dak). But his issues come in the form of turnovers, where he leads the NFL for the second year in a row. His offensive line is doing a great job at keeping the pressure away from him, the coaches added to the group of pass catchers for Allen, and the team has a fairly stable running game. Yet Allen is giving the ball away to the opposition more than any quarterback this year. In fact, the last two seasons alone, Allen has turned the ball over 36 times, that’s an incredible rate. Now he has to face a Cowboys defense that ranks fourth in interceptions and fifth in sacks. Why everyone puts Allen so high on a pedestal, besides his cannon of an arm, is his ability to run the ball. He’s scored 10 rushing touchdowns this year, that’s third-most in the NFL. But to help with context, the Cowboys defense just faced the quarterback last week with the most rushing touchdowns, and he failed to score on the ground or in the air.

Conclusion:
Since Week 6, Dak has thrown 23 touchdowns and two interceptions, insane numbers. Allen, since Week 6, has thrown 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Win: Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

RUNNING BACK
Tony Pollard/Rico Dowdle
vs.
James Cook/Latavius Murray

The Cowboys running back duo against the Eagles found relative success last week. Both Pollard and Dowdle averaged 3.7 yards per carry, which isn’t amazing, but they were both making first downs when the offense needed them to. They combined for 105 rush yards last week and Dowdle added a touchdown to his stat line. The ground game is an area this Cowboys offense will need to utilize a lot more this week against Buffalo. The Bills defense is allowing 114 rush yards per game, which is 13th-most and they average 4.7 yards per carry, which the third-worst in the NFL.

The Bills running back room is very hot or cold this year. Their lead back, James Cook, has only scored one rushing touchdown this year and he’s only had two games where he’s eclipsed 100-yards rushing. But he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and his dual-threat capabilities as a receiver is where he excels. He has nearly 400 yards receiving and has scored three receiving touchdowns. Defending him in both aspects of play is key for the Cowboys defense. Latavius Murray isn’t quite the guy he once was when he was playing for the Las Vegas Raiders. As with all running backs that get a heavy workload, as each season progresses the wear-and-tear on them is noticeable. He’s averaging 4.0 yards per carry and rushed for 289 yards this year, both are less than Pollard and Dowdle.

Conclusion:
The Cowboys running back tandem has scored nine total touchdowns. The Bills duo has scored seven collectively. But the Bills are outproducing the Cowboys in rush yards per game this year. In the last three games, the Bills have averaged 140 rush yards per game. In comparison the Cowboys running backs have only averaged 124. The kicker here though is the number of first downs the Bills have made from their ground game this season. They rank second-most this year, even more than San Francisco.
Win: Bills

Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

WIDE RECEIVERS
CeeDee Lamb/Brandin Cooks/Michael Gallup
vs.
Stefon Diggs/Gabe Davis/Khalil Shakir

CeeDee Lamb scored another touchdown off six receptions last week, turning in another good game. He did, however, drop one big pass on the left boundary late in the game. If he had caught that one he was off to the endzone on that play. Lamb is now third in the NFL in both receiving yards and touchdowns and is second in first downs among wide receivers. Brandin Cooks has become a solid constant on offense and his connection with Dak has improved. This was on display during the catch he made that took the ball all the way down to the one-yard line. It was interesting to see the team target Michael Gallup as much as they did. Last week, Gallup caught three balls for 48 yards and had one huge play where he caught a deep pass. He even scored a touchdown down on the one-yard line. This wide receiver corps has some work to do this week against the Bills defensive backs. They are pretty capable but can lack consistency, so this receiver unit needs to certainly be fully prepared this week.

Stefon Diggs has aired his frustration in the Bills offense a few times in the recent past, but he’s still managed to pile on the production this year. He’s scored eight touchdowns this season, which is the same amount as Lamb, but his receiving yards are a lot less. He currently has 993 yards, which ranks 12th among receivers, and his 335 yards after the catch ranks 30th. Most of Diggs frustration comes in the form of the last three games where he’s only totaled one touchdown. Gabe Davis is the teams second leading receiver. Davis is a huge target man for the Bills offense. He’s a fantastic deep threat option for Allen and has shown a good ability to run through his gears to get defensive backs second guessing. You won’t miss him on the field as he stands at nearly 6’3” tall with a huge reach. He’s scored six touchdowns this year, which puts him on pace to have a career scoring season. The battle between him and DaRon Bland will be exciting to see this week. Khalil Shakir is the newest entry on the Bills receiving corps. Drafted in 2022 out of Boise State, Shakir is a solid blue-collar player. He’s versatile in some respects but he plays mostly from the slot due to his length. His cuts and breaks are sharp and he has good hands.

Conclusion:
The battle of WR1 is tricky. Lamb is enjoying a phenomenal season and is tinkering with being one of the league’s top-three receivers. Diggs isn’t that far behind, and has a long track record of success. Both receivers are big threats for both respective teams, so let’s call this a push. WR2 and WR3 however isn’t as close. Both the Bills receivers are out producing the Cowboys, both in yards and touchdowns.
Win: Bills

NFL: NOV 26 Bills at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TIGHT END
Jake Ferguson
vs.
Dalton Kincaid

Yep, it’s now confirmed after last week’s game - the Cowboys officially have themselves a tight end. From here things can only get better for Ferguson as his connection with Dak only gets stronger and he continues to develop. His seam routes last week were lethal and let’s talk about that hurdle (Fly Fergy Fly). He led the team last week in receiving yards, and his five touchdowns this year is second-most among tight ends. At a time when the tight end position in the league has been uninspiring, Ferguson has been one of the most fun players to watch this season.

Dalton Kincaid is on the practice report. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury and deemed day-to-day. Kincaid has enjoyed a solid rookie season and continued his production from Utah straight to the NFL. He’s third on the team in receiving yards and among tight ends he ranks 13th. For a rookie tight end that’s a great start.

Conclusion:
Jake Ferguson is on the verge of making himself a top-five tight end. He’s not quite there yet but he’s not far off. Kincaid is carrying an injury as well as needing major development as a blocker to become a complete tight end.
Win: Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

OFFENSIVE LINE
The Cowboys offensive line allowed three sacks last week against the Eagles, but the penalties were the biggest problem. Each one that came from the offensive line wiped off a key play in the game. In defense of the offensive line though, some of the penalties called were questionable, like the clipping call on Tyler Biadasz. They have their work cut out this week as the Bills defense is incredibly efficient at creating pressure with their pass rush. It’s not even like there’s one major player to be concerned about, the pressure comes from a range of players at different positions, so this Cowboys offensive line needs to completely prepared from left to right. The Cowboys offensive line has got better in run blocking and slowly it’s starting to get to a place that gives fans full confidence. This is reassuring when the Bills run defense is maybe their biggest weakness which stems at the line.

The Bills offensive line is pretty efficient and probably better than Dallas’ in pass protection. The Bills line have given up more pressures than the Cowboys line this year, but it has given up less sacks. Some of that is down to Allen’s elusiveness to escape the pressure, but the line has done its part to keep back the pass rush. Ironically, the starting linemen to allow the fewest pressures for the Bills is none other than Connor McGovern. The player with the most pressures allowed is another familiar name to most Cowboys fans, rookie O’Cyrus Torrence. Where these two lines differ in capabilities though is in run blocking. The Bills run blocking is far less effective than Dallas currently. The middle of the line is seriously up for the taking in the ground game.

The Bills win in pass protection, the Cowboys win in run blocking.
Win: Push

Poll

Which team has the better offense?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (572 votes)
  • 11%
    Buffalo Bills
    (76 votes)
648 votes total Vote Now

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