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Cowboys news: Dallas defense will be put to the test against Miami in “prove it” game

The latest news and stories on your Dallas Cowboys entering the holiday weekend.

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NFL: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Track speed, home-field advantage among 6 things Cowboys should know about Dolphins - CowboysWire, Ben Grimaldi

After the Buffalo game, the Dolphins run game is a huge concern.

Dynamic one-two punch at RB

Miami has one of the best one-two punches at running back with starter Raheem Mostert and backup De’Von Achane. The duo has combined for 1,579 rushing yards and a whopping 25 touchdowns on the ground.

The veteran Mostert is just 34 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season, ranks third in the league in rushing and is tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with 20, 18 of which have come on the ground. Mostert is averaging almost five yards a carry and has run for the third most first downs, with 56.

Achane has played in just eight games but has rushed for 613 yards and seven scores, despite carrying the ball just 72 times. The rookie’s most impressive number is 8.5, which is his ypc on the season. Achane’s also scored on runs of 67 and 76 yards, both os which came at home.

It’s a dangerous dynamic duo that will be difficult to slow down, especially for a team that just gave up 266 yards on the ground last week. There isn’t a more explosive RB tandem in the league than Mostert and Achane.

CeeDee Lamb on Dolphins, Cowboys road struggles - Patrik Walker, DallasCowboys.com

Cowboys WR1 tries to make sense of some of the team’s struggles.

It’s paramount that Lamb, with the aid of quarterback Dak Prescott, delivers a big day for the Cowboys’ offense, along with others like Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks and others. Their woes on the road are now well-documented, and it’s one of the few items they’ve yet to check off of the task list of narratives that has attached itself to them in 2023.

“I feel like just knowing who you are as a team, knowing your identity and staying true to it,” said Lamb of how the Cowboys can overcome their struggles in away games. “I know some things happen along the road in the journey, but it’s all about bouncing, recovering and responding the right way. Finding an answer, the answer is going out there and winning on the road. That’s the answer.

“To be who we are and what we want to accomplish, we have to start one play at a time, one quarter at a time and one drive at a time. Taking care of our responsibilities, protecting one another, and being explosive.”

Thanks to the Seattle Seahawks handing the Philadelphia Eagles a third consecutive loss, both the Eagles and Cowboys sit at 10-4 on the season heading into this coming weekend, and with both the NFC East throne and one of the top seeds in the NFC still up for grabs.

“Obviously this game has a lot of things riding on it,” said the All-Pro wideout. “We understand that. We know that. For us, being the players and the ones that’s going out and having to do that, we have to basically take a step backward and look and realize the position that we’re in and everything that we wanted at the beginning of the season is still in front of us. This is definitely a playoff type of game.

“We wouldn’t rather [another] position than [this] because we don’t want walk-offs going into the playoffs, and then go to the playoffs and get in and out. I feel like this is a test for us, and it’s all on how we respond.”

NFL Week 16 expert picks and odds for Cowboys vs. Dolphins, 49ers vs. Ravens and every other game - The Athletic, Jay Felicio and Adam Gretz

Prove it game for both teams.

Overall, there are eight games this week where both teams are either occupying a playoff spot or within a single game of a playoff spot. The two best matchups on paper are probably Sunday’s game in Miami, where the Dolphins host the Dallas Cowboys, and Monday’s featuring the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Baltimore Ravens. Both are realistic Super Bowl previews.

The Dallas-Miami game is arguably the most intriguing because both teams have big questions to answer. Dallas needs to show it can play winning football and score points away from AT&T Stadium. Miami needs to silence a two-year narrative that it can’t beat playoff-caliber teams.

The Cowboys still hold the top spot in the NFC East despite getting dominated by Buffalo last week, while the Dolphins are trying to hold off the Bills for the top spot in the AFC East.

Even without Tyreek Hill, Miami still scored 30 points against the Jets on Sunday. Hill needs 458 yards (152 per game) over the Dolphins final three games to reach the 2,000-yard mark. Calvin Johnson holds the NFL record with 1,964 yards in a season.

Martin, Smith statuses up in the air going into Miami - DallasCowboys.com, Nick Harris

Player health is always a concern this time of year.

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys saw four players miss practice on Wednesday with injuries as offensive linemen Zack Martin (quad/thigh) and Tyron Smith (back) joined safety Malik Hooker (ankle) and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (knee/ankle) on the practice report after the latter two were ruled out of the game in Buffalo.

Martin suffered a quad injury on the team’s second possession in Buffalo when he had a knee bang into his lower thigh. He went back to the injury tent and said his leg had lost strength and it “wasn’t firing” which led him to miss the rest of the contest.

Smith surprisingly popped up on the injury report with a back injury that he suffered in the game against the Bills and is not expected to practice until at least Saturday. It will be then when the Cowboys can get a better expectation for his status on Sunday.

In a walk-through on Thursday morning, Smith was not participating, but is scheduled to be more active than he was on Wednesday.

“It’s something from the game,” head coach Mike McCarthy said in his press conference. “He’s working through it. He’s scheduled to do more today than he was yesterday.”

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