After opening the season 3-0, the Dallas Cowboys have gone into a tailspin, dropping 7 of their next 10 games. Yet, somehow these Cowboys lead the wretched NFC East despite their disappointing 6-7 record.
Statistically, the Cowboys actually appear to be a pretty good team. They lead the league in yards gained, are ninth in points scored, and have given up the ninth fewest yards in the league. Dak Prescott has mostly been good, and has certainly outplayed his classmates Jared Goff and Carson Wentz this season. Ezekiel Elliot is still great and should end up around 1,300 yards rushing. Receiver Amari Cooper will end up with over 80 catches. Yet they are not playing winning football, finishing games, or beating good teams.
The Cowboys are currently 0-6 against winning teams, and here come the 8-5 Los Angeles Rams, who have been playing pretty good football lately. Week to week, anything can happen in the NFL, but the body language in Dallas appears to be that of a team lost at sea. Barring a playoff victory, the writing seems to be on the wall regarding head coach Jason Garrett’s future in Dallas. The team’s accomplishments have fallen well short of their talent level this season.
A defense that features edges DeMarcus Lawerence and a revitalized Robert Quinn; linebackers Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee; and Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones opposite Chidobe Awuzie should be better. But whether it’s been missed tackles or a lack of big plays, they’ve come up short when it has mattered way too often this season. Following their 3-0 start, the Cowboys have given up 100+ yards on the ground in all but one game. Their pass defense has slipped from a year ago, but are still ninth in passing yards allowed; however, opposing quarterbacks have a 93.6 rating against them so far. Their pass rush has been average. Had the Cowboys defense performed up to its capabilities this season, the team would likely have at least a couple more wins this season.
On offense, Zeke Elliot has been good, not dominant though. At times the Cowboys offense will often start off a game with a nice drive, but then falter due to drops or off target passes from Dak. Yet, the Cowboys must be respected- they have more air yards than any other team in the league and allow the lowest sack %. The Cowboys line remains a strength, and their offense remains capable, especially at home.
The Rams and Cowboys feel like teams trending in opposite directions at the moment, but we all know how quickly that can change. The Rams need to jump out to an early lead to suck the life out of the Jerruh Dome and its team. If they give the Cowboys a reason to feel good, things could snowball in the wrong direction and the Rams could end up with yet another regrettable loss. Based on the last few clashes between the Rams and Cowboys, expect the Rams to tap Todd Gurley early in this one.