3 biggest takeaways through the Cowboys season

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Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The Dallas Cowboys (8-4) are off to their best start through 13 weeks since 2016 when they started 11-1 in quarterback Dak Prescott’s rookie season. Although their 8-4 record leads the NFC East by two games, they currently find themselves as the fourth seed in the NFC playoff picture. The Arizona Cardinals (10-2), Green Bay Packers (9-3), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) all have better records.

After a strong start for America’s Team, starting 6-1 in the first two months, they went just 1-3 in November. All three of their losses came against AFC West opponents (Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Las Vegas Raiders).

Besides the cross-league play between the NFC and AFC, the Cowboys are 6-1 against teams in the NFC, tied for the best conference record this season. Their only loss in the NFC came in week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 31-29.

Even though the Cowboys have lost some big games against teams that are .500 and above, they also have solid wins against the New England Patriots (8-4) and Los Angeles Chargers (7-5). The Cowboys have definitely had an up and down season, like most teams in the National Football League. It’s hard to play elite, consistent football for 17 games. 99.9 percent of teams can’t do it.

Nonetheless, this Cowboys team is much different than last year especially with a healthy Dak Prescott, a much-improved defense, and the emergence of young stars. As a result, here are the biggest takeaways so far as the regular season comes to an end.

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3. When fully healthy, the Cowboys offense can’t be stopped

The Cowboys have been hit with the injury/COVID-19 bug this season. Players like Dak Prescott, tackle Tyron Smith, and all three of Dallas’ wide receivers (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb) have missed time this season. Even tackle La’el Collins has missed time due to a suspension.

As a matter of fact, all of Dallas’ starters on offense have only played 24 snaps together since opening night. Those 24 snaps were from their most recent game on Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. However, even in this game, the Cowboys weren’t fully healthy with Cooper just returning from COVID. Consequently, he was limited to just 24 snaps.

Essentially, Dallas hasn’t had their offense at full strength for the majority of the season, yet they are still the number one offense in the league averaging 416.3 yards per game. They also average 29.4 points per game which ranks third in the NFL behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31.4) and Buffalo Bills (29.6).

There’s no doubt that this Cowboys’ offense is elite. They can beat you through the air with Prescott and their trio of wide receivers. Additionally, they have the talent to beat teams on the ground as well. Although their rushing attack has been down in recent weeks, they still rank fifth in rush yards per game (129.0).

At times, the Cowboys’ offense goes extremely cold especially in the past couple of weeks. However, if the coaching staff and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can figure it out, teams are going to have a hard time stopping this offense when fully healthy.