Following a road loss two weeks ago, the Dallas Cowboys host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. Will their home winning pattern continue?
It was quite the eventful week off for your Dallas Cowboys off-the-field. Without ever playing a game, they moved both forward and backward. This is, of course, a fitting pattern, given how things seem to go for this team.
Last Sunday, Dallas had the week off while both Washington and Philadelphia won their games. The Cowboys are now two full games behind Washington with a loss to them on the books. Philadelphia is a half-game ahead and off this week. There is your step backward.
The next day, the Dallas Cowboys traded a 2019 first round draft pick for former Raiders receiver Amari Cooper. Even though his numbers have been in decline over the past two years, Cooper represents a huge upgrade at the receiver position.
The Dallas Cowboys also fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander in an effort to revert to the ways that once made this line the best in football. If the Marc Colombo/Hudson Houck duo can do that, you are looking at two steps forward. If not, well …
Coming off the bye week, there are no more breaks the rest of this season. Dallas has nine games to get themselves in a position to make the playoffs. Missing the postseason would make that Cooper gamble even riskier.
First round picks are extremely valuable commodities regardless of the slot in which you find yourself. Punting on what could be a top 20 pick seems extra dangerous. The heat under this team could not get hotter.
So here are the Tennessee Titans, coming in for a Monday Night Football matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams are eerily similar in many ways. Dallas and Tennessee are both 3-4 this season and are led by young quarterbacks who had early success in their careers, only to struggle in recent years.
As such, the Cowboys currently rank 29th in passing yards per game. Tennessee is 30th. The Titans are also 30th in total offense. Dallas is not much better, coming in at 28th currently. Not shockingly, neither team puts up a ton of points either. The Cowboys, thanks to one 40-point breakout game, average 20 points per game. Tennessee is just about 15 points per.
Both teams are led by their defenses in 2018. Tennessee is third in points allowed per game. Dallas is second. Both are also not very good at creating turnovers as the Titans have seven on the season while the Cowboys have six.
The difference between them, which will be the story of this game, is Tennessee’s difficulty in stopping the run. Dear Scott Linehan, you have Ezekiel Elliott. Tennessee is 19th in rushing yards allowed. Please use this weapon accordingly. Sincerely, everyone who wants Dallas to win.
Employing this tactic will expose another low-key problem for Tennessee. In six of their seven games this season, they have allowed an opposing receiver to go for 100+ yards in a game.
Softening up the defense with Elliott could mean Cooper comes in and experiences immediate success. If not him, Cole Beasley could be in line for his second 100+ yard game this year.
Ultimately, if the Dallas Cowboys can follow this simple formula and sprinkle in protecting the ball, they should be victorious. For all his ills, Dak Prescott lives on the cautious side of the street so I would be shocked if he doomed Dallas with multiple turnovers.
Tennessee, on the other hand, is going to struggle to score. Dallas may as well, simply because that seems to be a theme of the season, although they are at home.
It may not be a “must-win” but the Cowboys are dangerously out of wiggle room. This is a game they should win. Will they? Who knows with this team but I’m sticking my neck out once again and saying yes.