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

Which offense is playing better in your mind, the Dallas Cowboys or Miami Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Let’s get out of this funk Cowboys Nation is currently in and get ready for double excitement this Christmas Eve. Not only do we all get to relax and enjoy some family time with a glass of eggnog, but the Dallas Cowboys also hit our screens Christmas Eve, this week playing at the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins are having a big season and are leading the AFC East, but have now been hit with the injury bug. The question is, how do both teams offense’s rank against each other? Let’s break it down by position and find out.

Dak Prescott
Tua Tagovailoa

Dak Prescott’s NFL career stats when playing in the rain is 59% completion rate, 6.3 yards per pass, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 64.7. The good news is the weather in Miami this weekend looks cloudy with a low chance of rain.

Last week’s performance shouldn’t put people off Dak and the offense completely. The offense struggled in Buffalo and that backed the team into a corner and made them one-dimensional. This led to the offense asking Dak to do more than he should have been doing. This week, Prescott has his work cut out against the Miami Dolphins pass defense. In the last three weeks the Dolphins defense has allowed the fewest passing touchdowns and produced the fifth-most sacks. The Dolphins defense just shut out the New York Jets and restricted Trevor Siemian to just 110 yards.

Tua Tagovailoa has had a big season this year, but he’s not without his ups and downs. Mostly his restrictions have been due to injuries but some have also been in his own inconsistencies. He leads the NFL in passing yards and completion percentage, but he’s sixth in interceptions (10) and has 20 turnover-worthy plays this year which is fifth-most. One thing Tagovailoa has enjoyed this season however is one of the best offensive lines at keeping him clean. With his mobility and ability to avoid pressure, this makes him hard to catch behind the line and disrupt the play. He’s been sacked 25 times this year, that ranks 24th in the NFL.

Dak has more touchdowns, fewer interceptions, and fewer yards. Between these two quarterbacks the numbers aren’t far from each other, even their season passer ratings are side-by-side in rankings. Dak does win considerably in rushing yards. He has 212 rush yards and two rushing touchdowns to Tagovailoa’s 55 rush yards.
Win: Push

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

Tony Pollard/Rico Dowdle
Raheem Mostert/De’Von Achane

Last weeks game needed the ground game more than ever and it came up short. Some of that was down to blocking up front, some of that was down to poor execution by the defense which altered the game script for the running backs. Pollard was averaging 4.7 yards per carry and on his 11 attempts he produced 52 rush yards. But after the team fell behind, Pollard’s role changed and saw less work. Dowdle really struggled last week, but the penalties from the offensive line put the team in negative situations which killed an early drive and the momentum Pollard was slowly beginning to muster. This week, the running back unit is facing the fourth-best defense against the run, they are allowing only 90 rush yards per game. But in the last three games, Miami have allowed the third-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL. That’s something to take note of.

De’Von Achane returned to his duties three weeks ago after going out injured in Week 5. He hit the headlines after rushing over 200 yards and scoring two touchdowns against Denver. In the last three weeks since returning, Achane hasn’t quite hit the levels of production he was acquiring before the injury. He’s only rushed for 152 yards in the last three games. What the Cowboys will need to care of however is his receiving abilities and the speed at which he breaks downfield after catching ball. His acceleration and speed is truly mind blowing. Another running back that can hit the afterburners if given the chance is Raheem Mostert. He’s getting up there in age but he’s had elite levels production this year on an offense predicated on speed. Mostert is third in the NFL in rush yards and first in rushing touchdowns. His 56 first downs is second only behind Christian McCaffrey among running backs.

The Cowboys running backs aren’t lacking talent, they’re lacking consistency. Offensive line play doesn’t help their case but there are times when this Cowboys running back duo just looks flat at or lacking power to hit a gap like a certain number 21 once used to do. Miami ranks fourth in average rush yards per game, Dallas ranks 12th. Miami is first in rushing touchdowns, Dallas is tenth. Easy win here for Miami.
Win: Dolphins

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images

CeeDee Lamb/Brandin Cooks/Michael Gallup
Tyreek Hill/Jaylen Waddle/Braxton Berrios

CeeDee Lamb did as well as expected in the poor conditions. He made seven receptions for 53 yards and scored the only Cowboys touchdown off a running play late in the game. For guys like Cooks and Gallup, their role was extremely limited due to the fact they play deep, and last week there was very little chance of making plays deep downfield. This receiver corps faces a solid safety unit in Miami led by Jevon Holland. Holland has done well in defending the run game, but in coverage he’s allowed a 65% completion rate. On the other side, DeShon Elliott is doing just as well allowing a completion rate of 62%. But the Cowboys receivers should be able to advantage of the teams cornerbacks, especially from the slot where the majority of the receiving touchdowns have come from.

Tyreek Hill leads the NFL in receiving yards, ahead of CeeDee Lamb by 232 yards. Hill was out last week with an ankle injury and his availability this weekend is still unknown. Jaylen Waddle had a great game in Hill’s absence and took over the WR1 role. He had 142 receiving yards and scored a touchdown last week. He ranks 16th among wide receivers, making him the most productive WR2 in the league currently. His 414 yards after catch yards is also the most among supporting wide receivers.

Hill and Waddle outscore Lamb and Cooks in yards and touchdowns. The Dolphins offense ranks first in receiving yards which is all we need to know.
Win: Dolphins

NFL: DEC 03 Dolphins at Commanders Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jake Ferguson
Durham Smythe

Ferguson finished second on the team in receiving last week with 44 yards. Ferguson didn’t play well or poorly, he was just part of an offense that couldn’t get going last week. He made some important first downs late in the game but his run blocking was lacking effectiveness when it was needed most.

Smythe is still waiting to catch his first touchdown this year. In fact, since joining the league in 2018, Smythe has caught only three touchdowns in his career. His 226 receiving yards this year ranks 33rd among tight ends.

Jake Ferguson has outscored Smythe by a considerable amount. Ferguson ranks sixth in receiving yards and third in touchdowns among tight ends. As a blocker, Ferguson is far better in pass sets and run blocking. Luke Schoonmaker has shown to be a better blocker than Smythe so far.
Win: Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The game against the Bills was one of the worst examples of offensive line play by the Cowboys line this season. They got bullied when trying to run block and allowed way too much pressure, especially on key plays. This Miami defensive line can get pressure very effectively and last week had six sacks. The Dolphins rank second in sacks this season and in the last three weeks has really tightened up on run defense, allowing only 81 yards on the ground. Zack Martin gave everyone a scare going out of the game last week, but so far it’s been reported he has nothing serious and could possibly go this week.

The Dolphins line is playing very well this season even with the injuries it’s sustained. Starting tackle Robert Hunt will more than likely miss this week’s game with a hamstring injury. Starting guard Austin Jackson left last week’s game early with an oblique injury and he’s uncertain to play this week. On top of that, old friend Connor Williams was placed on injured reserve last week and Isaiah Wynn was shutdown back in October. That’s a lot of missing pieces yet the line allowed only one sack last week. Competition level does help with fact and the Dolphins playing possession football early in the game against the Jets.

But this week against the Cowboys pass rush things may look a different. With this amount of line changes on the Dolphins offensive line, you expect the cohesion and synchronicity to not quite be at levels previous. That of course will disrupt the zone blocking scheme and its effectiveness to protect Tua. This line could actually have a bad day against Dallas, if Dallas can capitalize on the situation. With the injuries piling up on the Dolphins side, and the Cowboys looking to start their entire starting offensive line, this favors Dallas.
Win: Cowboys


Which team has the better offense?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (103 votes)
  • 62%
    Miami Dolphins
    (172 votes)
275 votes total Vote Now

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