Who will Bill Belichick target to shut down against the Dallas Cowboys?
By Nick Crain
In arguably the toughest game of their season, the Dallas Cowboys will look to overcome the genius of Bill Belichick and his schemes to shut down key players.
Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in NFL history, there’s no doubt about that. A six time Super Bowl champion and a 68.5 percent career win percentage (including the rough days in Cleveland), he’s established himself as a future Hall of Famer.
One of the things Belichick is most known for is choosing a player or two on the opposing team’s offense and building a defensive game plan around shutting them down.
In past seasons, any team knew if you could shut down Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys offense would fail. Now, with Dak Prescott playing some of the best football of his career, along with a three-headed monster of receivers in Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup, it’s a little more difficult to stall the top offense in the NFL.
Through eleven weeks, the Cowboys lead the league in both total offensive yards per game as well as passing yards per game. The passing game has been their weakest point in years past, but not this season.
Over the past two weeks, the Cowboys receiving core has been on fire.
- Amari Cooper: 14 receptions, 185 yards, and 1 touchdown
- Michael Gallup: 13 receptions,224 yards, and 1 touchdown
- Randall Cobb: 10 receptions, 221 yards, and 2 touchdowns
That’s 37 receptions, 630 yards, and four touchdowns between the trio. This stretch of outstanding play is a big part of the reason why Dak Prescott is currently the league leader in passing yards this season with 3,221. This is without a doubt the best group of receivers he’s ever had in his young career.
Who exactly will Belichick look to shut down with so many weapons in Dallas?
My guess: Amari Cooper. It’s clear that Cooper is Prescott’s favorite target. To this point, Cooper is fourth in the entire NFL in receiving yards with 886. Historically, when Cooper isn’t having a big game, neither is Prescott the Cowboys overall.
With back-to-back weeks of Ezekiel Elliot producing under 50 yards on the ground, he may not be at the top of Belichick’s priority list. Not to mention, the New England Patriots boast arguably the best secondary in football. They certainly have the personnel to shut down Amari Cooper.
Only time will tell who Bill Belichick will target as his player of the week to game plan strictly for, but my guess is Amari Cooper.