Can Cowboys continue their climb from rock bottom against Vikings?

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

This Dallas Cowboys team is not good but they aren’t at their lowest

The lowest point of the Dallas Cowboys season could be the moment quarterback Dak Prescott was left reeling on the field in pain against the New York Giants. The decline continued for the team though and continued until an embarrassing loss to the Washington Football Team Week 7. Losing 25-3, a game which featured a vicious hit and concussion for quarterback Andy Dalton and the Cowboys defense allowing 208 rush yards.

The next two games after that rock bottom moment have been better for America’s Team but still have resulted in two losses. The games against the Philadelphia Eagles featured a better defense and the Week 9 game against the Philadelphia Steelers featured an offense that had the most life since Prescott’s injury.

Still, a path to the division title exists for Dallas and could start with an upset victory against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. The Vikings are on a desperate dash for the NFC playoffs themselves and will not take the Cowboys lightly. So, what is the one key factor for America’s Team in Minneapolis?

Find a way to force quarterback Kirk Cousins to beat you and not star running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook is on the rise, Cousins continues to tread water

The Vikings are loving the month of November, already winning their first three games of the month coming into Sunday. A big part of this is due to the efficiency of their offense, averaging 27 points per game during the three-game winning streak.

It will most likely be too late to change the MVP race but Cook has been on the rise the past three games, already rushing for 465 yards in November. Still, one of the weaker performances for the explosive running back came this past week against the Chicago Bears. The Bears followed the formula of forcing Cousins to beat them and containing Cook.

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It worked, Cook averaged just over three yards per rush, and the Bears if they had any offense at all would have been in a position to win the Monday Night Football game.

Cousins had a rocky start to 2020, throwing for only 11 touchdowns through the Viking’s first six games, he added 10 interceptions to that stretch. The major reason the Vikings started the season 1-5. Their defense has not been special either after losing multiple key players in the offseason.

The winning streak has padded Cousins stats with six touchdowns and only one interception, he has managed each game well. It is easier when your running back has a defense on their heels and feeling hopeless to stop Cook. The Cowboys need to take advantage of this.

If the Cowboys are able to stop Cook enough, meaning that they don’t let him near his season average of 5.5 yards per rush and they get pressure on Cousins, it could keep them in the game. Letting Dalton and an offense coming off their bye week a chance to steal a victory in Minnesota.

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A record of 3-7 is a train wreck but would give the Dallas Cowboys momentum heading into Thanksgiving against Washington. Dallas has the formula to succeed, can they implement it as they did against the Steelers when their “Bear-Front” defense held Pittsburgh to only 46 yards rushing? If they do and force Cousins to throw, it might be enough.