Can the defense continue to carry the Cowboys in Prescott’s absence?

The Dallas Cowboys experienced the worst fear of every NFL team and fanbase at the end of their season opener. Losing any key player to your team is a crucial blow, but it’s even worse when that player is the guy that the whole franchise is built around—the quarterback.

To make matters even worse, this happened to the Cowboys in their very first contest, a game that turned out to be a lopsided defeat nonetheless. But, there’s still hope for this team thanks to the dominant Dallas defense.

Led by Micah Parsons and his do it all mentality, the Cowboys’ defense proceeded to hold the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to just 19 points on the night in Week 1. The only issue with that is that the Cowboys could only muster up three points of their own.

Looking away from the Cowboys’ offensive ineptitude for a minute though, think about what the defense did. As the eras and rules, more than anything, of NFL football have changed, so have the norms or common beliefs.

Not too long ago, the belief was that if you could hold a team to 10 points or under with your defense, you should have a great chance to win that game. As the league has geared the rules more towards scoring and the offensive side of the ball, that number even crept up to 14 and then 17.

The Cowboys can survive the loss of Dak Prescott with their dominant defense

However, over the last couple of years, a lot of people believe that number is actually 21 points. Basically, with the rules, the quality of quarterback, the quality of receivers, and the fact that the league literally wants more points put on the board, if you can hold a team to under three touchdowns worth of points in a game—you should win that game.

Dallas should be able to do that until Dak Prescott returns from injury, which could be as long as eight weeks or as short as four. You then also have to play the schedule game.

Looking at their next six opponents, the number between the lowest and highest end of a Prescott return as far as weeks go, they have the Giants, the Commanders, the Rams, the Eagles, and the Lions.

Only one of those games looked like a, more than certain, defeat prior to Sunday’s win over the Bengals, and now that one even looks contestable. To still be fair though, that would be the Rams in Los Angeles on October 9.

However, people didn’t believe that Cooper Rush could do what he did on Sunday. But, once again thanks to a strong defensive performance, Rush and the Cowboys came out victorious. 

The same thing can be said of the Eagles game on October 16. Philly has a ton of talent with the addition of A.J. Brown, but they also struggled to beat the Lions, making that a toss-up game as well right now.

Looking at the other contests, the Giants just as well as could have been defeated in Week 1 while they have gotten off to a gritty start with a Week 2 win over the Panthers. The Commanders, who had a time with the lowly Jaguars, proved that notion to be legit as they couldn’t quite handle the early and often firepower of what looks to be a high-octane Detroit Lions offense.

Those same Lions did compete mightily against the Eagles and are beginning to show that they are a legitimately explosive offensive team. However, with their ineptitude on the other side leaving them susceptible to allowing points too, the Cowboys defense should be able to slow them down enough to be the difference in that contest.

Things may not be as bad as they seemed. With a defense this strong and some beatable opponents, this roster can hold things down until Prescott returns. This very same defense that held Tom Brady and his Buccaneers to just 19 points and Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to just 17 points in the following week will get it done.

We still hope Dak Prescott’s return is sooner rather than later, but these guys should be just fine.