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Cowboys news: Decision on Tyler Smith for Week 18 will be made on Saturday

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ difficult Tyler Smith decision to be made on Saturday before Week 18 - Mauricio Rodriguez, AtoZ Sports

The final call on Smith's availability versus the Commanders will be made soon.

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy talked to reporters on Friday and revealed the team still hasn’t determined the status of left guard Tyler Smith for Week 18 vs. the Washington Commanders.

The Cowboys will wait until Saturday to make a final determination, while Friday’s injury report is likely to have him as questionable once it comes out.

“I would never count him out,” McCarthy said of Smith via ESPN's Todd Archer, who's shown his toughness this year fighting through injury.

Under McCarthy’s regime in Dallas, Friday’s practice is more of a walkthrough while the “real” final practice takes place on Saturday, even when the team goes on tour.

After that Saturday practice is when the Cowboys hold a personnel meeting in which they decide who’s playing and who’s not, something that been detailed by the coaching staff more than once.

That means Cowboys fans won’t know if Tyler Smith is expected to play until the day before gameday.

Spagnola: ‘Just win’ playoff mentality starts now - Mickey Spagnola, DallasCowboys.com

Dallas needs to lock into postseason mode a week before it officially begins.

Beat Washington Sunday at FedEx Field to finish 12-5 for the third consecutive year and win the NFC East title for the second time in three years and the third time in the past five years.

That simple. Doesn’t matter what the 11-5 Philadelphia Eagles do at the New York Giants starting at the same 3:25 p.m. time on Sunday. Doesn’t matter that at one point the then 10-1 Eagles had a two-game lead on the 8-3 Cowboys after Week 12 of the season.

Just win, baby. And even if the Cowboys and Eagles finish tied at 12-5 come around 6:30 p.m. Sunday night, the Cowboys win the title on the fourth tiebreaker – their better NFC record, 9-3 to 8-4. The difference being the Cowboys beat Seattle and the Eagles did not, which also prevented the Eagles from becoming the first NFC East team to repeat as division champs since 2001-04.

But look, it’s the Washingtons, just 4-12, losers of their past seven games. And if ever a franchise wanted to tank to preserve NFL Draft position, it would be the Commanders, currently owning the No. 2 pick that possibly could drop out of the top five, depending on what other teams at 4-12 or 5-11 do and tiebreakers.

But that doesn’t matter either to the Cowboys. Just go win.

“We understand the magnitude of this game, what it is what it means,” said the Pro Bowl quarterback Prescott, who leads the NFL with 32 touchdown passes and has thrown just eight interceptions – three in one game, so just five in the other 15. Meaning he has been picked off on just 1.4 percent of his 554 attempts, proving all those naysayers so wrong after the 15-interception season of last year, a total anomaly, with about half of those not on him.

“We got one game to go win the division.”

Dak would continue: “For us, it’s about going and running our race again this weekend.”

Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, a year after throwing NFL’s most picks, can be first Dallas QB to hit this pass TD mark - Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

Prescott has put last season’s turnovers in the past.

His 1.4% interception rate is the third-lowest in the league this season, trailing two passers who have missed games with injuries in Texans rookie C.J. Stroud (1.1%) and the SteelersKenny Pickett (1.2%). Besides 2017, when Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott served a six-game suspension, and last season when fighting through the thumb injury, Prescott has posted interception rate figures lower than his career figure of 1.9%, which is tied for the eighth-best in NFL history.

“Probably one of the most important statistics in quarterback play,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday about interception rate. “[A figure of] 1.7 or less will win it annually for you, if you’re looking for a benchmark or a goal.”

Prescott’s head coach agreed that 2017 and 2022 were outliers and that this season falls in line with type of quarterback Prescott really is.

“I think so,” McCarthy said. “I think if you go back and look at his history I think that would be accurate.”

Should Prescott hold on to sole possession of the NFL lead in passing touchdowns (32), he would become the first player in the Super Bowl era — since 1966 — and just the second in league history (along with Hall of Famer Bob Waterfield in 1945-1946) to jump from the NFL’s interception leader to passing touchdown leader in consecutive seasons, according to NFL Media researcher Dante Koplowitz-Fleming.

Is the Cowboys one-dimensional offense fixable, fine, or fatal flaw? - Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire

Dallas is looking for a way to be more balanced offensively.

With just one game remaining in the regular season, it’s become pretty clear what the Cowboys offense is and what it isn’t. They are a one-dimensional attack, relying heavily on the arm of Dak Prescott and the legs of CeeDee Lamb. They aren’t a viable running team, capable of shouldering a load or even keeping defenses honest.

The delta between the air and ground game in Dallas is significant. The ground attack is producing an EPA/rush of -0.67 with a success rate of just 40.9%, while the ballistics department is posting +0.21 EPA/attempt through the air with a success rate of 47.1%. The fact the Cowboys offense is somehow ranked No. 2 in the NFL without any credible form of a ground game to be seen, is a testament to the proficiency of the passing game.

Stop me if you heard this one: the Dallas Cowboys are entering the postseason as a one-dimensional offense.

The Cowboys now find themselves heading into the playoffs with the full weight of the offense on Prescott’s shoulders. It’s similar to how they entered the postseason last year when the running game cratered following Terence Steele’s season-ending knee injury. It also threatens to be their undoing if they can’t fix it and the passing game trips up at some point.

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