Cowboys News: Tyron Smith out vs. Dolphins with Back Injury; Chuma Edoga Will Start - Jack Murray, Bleacher Report
Although it’s not the news we wanted to hear, it’s the news that was expected after Tyron Smith was listed doubtful on Friday’s injury report.
Chuma Edoga will be starting in place of Smith in the matchup and will make his sixth start of the season.
Smith suffered a back injury in the Cowboys’ Week 15 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. He did not practice this week as a result of the injury and was joined by guard Zack Martin, who suffered a quad injury during the Bills game.
Martin is reportedly ahead of Smith in his injury recovery but is currently listed as questionable.
Smith is an eight-time Pro Bowler and has made 11 starts this season. His absence could be of note for a Cowboys team looking to rebound after falling 31-10 to the Bills last week.
Here are a few fiery takes on what will undoubtedly be a hotly-contested contest in Miami.
The 2 Teams Will Smash the Over
For two offenses near the top of the league in virtually every category, Vegas setting the line at O/U 49.5 seems criminally low. The offenses rank first and second in scoring. Miami comes in top of the league with 31.5 points per game while Dallas is right on their heels at 30.8 points per game.
Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL with 3,921 passing yards, and his total offense ranks first with 414 yards per game. The weapons at Tua’s disposal are like a video game. WR Tyreek Hill is the most explosive weapon in the world, and he is very near his preseason goal of being the first wide receiver to hit the 2,000-yard receiving mark.
Opposite him is Jaylen Waddle, another speed demon who also has the short-area quickness to get himself open and then wiggle away from defenders for bigger gains. In the backfield is the dynamic duo of Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane, who have combined for 1,579 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. The Cowboys’ offense is no slouch either and combined will smash the over on the betting line to the tune of nearly 80 total points.
Dak Prescott Will Throw 4 Touchdowns
This isn’t too bold for the fact that Dak Prescott has thrown for four touchdowns in a game three other times this season. It’s bold because he will accomplish that feat on the road for the first time this season. Prescott’s three games with four touchdown passes all came at AT&T Stadium over the Commanders, Giants, and Rams.
Dak’s numbers show a large discrepancy between home and away this season, and the Cowboys’ 3-4 road record is a direct result of that. In those home wins, Dallas has scored 45, 49, and 43 points. The amount of points needed to hang with the Dolphins offense in Hard Rock Stadium will likely need to be above 40 points. Dak Prescott will light up the Dolphins’ defense for over 300 yards passing and four touchdowns to lead the Cowboys to victory.
Here’s how you want this holiday weekend’s slate of games to shake out.
Rooting Guide for Saturday, early Week 16 games
The Cowboys got their first wish, Los Angeles winning on Thursday night. Aside from going down to Miami and beating the high-powered Dolphins, here’s what else Dallas needs to happen.
The Jets are one of the opponents that Dallas has beaten but the Eagles have lost to. If the tiebreaker scenario gets down to strength of victory, Dallas wants teams like this to have the best record possible.
Root for the Jets.
The Eagles haven’t faced and won’t face the Panthers nor the Packers. But Dallas has a win over Carolina and as the worst record in the league, they aren’t doing Dallas any favors in the SoV tiebreaker. Step it up again, Carolina.
Root for the Panthers.
As one of the Eagles’ three remaining games, the hope is the Cardinals will upset them like they did Dallas in Week 3. It may not seem likely, but there’s a scenario where this game could still impact a Strength of Victory tiebreaker in Philly losing to New York and Dallas’ fifth loss being against Washington, not against the two remaining division winners. So…
Root for the Cardinals.
Rooting Guide Summary for the rest of 2023
There are a ton of games that Dallas will have no control over the results. The most important ones come in two categories, as the Cowboys are virtually assured of being either the 1, 2 or 5 seed come the second week of January.
Win The NFC East
Have a better record than Philly, or
Be tied but with a better division record, or
Be tied with Philly and have a better record against the NFC, or
Be tied with a higher Strength of Victory.
The first is easy, win one more game than the Eagles over the final three contests, boom, NFC East champions.
The second requires the Eagles to lose at least one of their two games against New York, this Monday or in Week 18, and for the Cowboys to complete their season sweep of Washington. That game is also in Week 18.
The third option can only happen if Dallas’ fifth loss is Sunday against Miami and the Eagles also lose to Arizona, as a loss to New York in this scenario gives Dallas the better division mark.
The final option requires a convoluted string of good-team meltdowns and weaker team come ups that is pretty farfetched but not impossible.
Cowboys scouting report: Breaking down the Dolphins defensive scheme - David Howman, Blogging the Boys
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense square off against a familiar foe who gave them trouble the last time they met.
A copycat league it certainly is, because Fangio’s style of defense has taken the league by storm. There are 14 teams in the league that currently operate some iteration of the two-deep safety scheme that Fangio has had decades of success with, while even more teams have incorporated elements of the scheme into their own defense in one form or another.
In fact, the Cowboys have faced 10 such teams this year alone, including six games (Cardinals, Chargers, Rams, Eagles x2, Panthers) against defenses coordinated by coaches that have direct links to Fangio in their coaching tree. To say that the Cowboys have seen this defense more often than not would be an understatement. If Fangio caught the Cowboys by surprise in 2021, that won’t be the case this week as he tries to defend an offense now run by McCarthy himself.
As for the scheme, it’s not all that difficult to understand. A Fangio defense is predicated on having two safeties play deep, at least at the snap, while employing a variety of coverages designed to take away the deep plays. Fangio most frequently uses quarters coverage and Cover 6, flooding the deep portion of the field and only giving up underneath routes.
The Fangio defense, as run by the man himself, rarely blitzes - Miami has the fourth-lowest blitz rate in the league - and runs a ton of zone coverage, currently ranking ninth in rate of zone coverage plays per game. The defense is also often accompanied by very light boxes, effectively daring offenses to run the ball.
The Bills, who run a similar scheme but don’t have any real ties to Fangio, successfully baited the Cowboys into this trap last week; there were many times early on where Prescott checked into a run play, with varying degrees of success, which impacted the passing offense’s ability to get into a groove once they were playing from behind.
As far as the actual personnel, Fangio arguably has the best roster he’s ever worked with. Miami is third in pressure rate and second in sacks even after losing edge rusher Jaelan Phillips for the year. That’s because Miami also has Bradley Chubb, Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Wilkins, and Zach Sieler anchoring this defensive line.
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