The Dallas Cowboys are still alive in the face for the NFC East crown and the conference’s top seed following their win over the Eagles. Next up for Dallas is a date with a floundering and banged up Titans side on Thursday Night Football.
The Cowboys have played with fire against inferior opponents on several occasions this season, but it speaks volumes about how Vegas thinks this game will go that Dallas opened as -9.5 road favorites for the game.
With Tennessee facing a win-and-in against the Jaguars in Week 18, they might be compelled to rest some starters on Thursday.
For context, no Titans player has logged a full practice this week, and Derrick Henry was only one of four players who returned on a limited basis on Tuesday. Studs Jeffery Simmons, Bud Dupree and Zach Cunningham were all sidelined.
By the time Wednesday rolled around, the Titans had ruled out nearly their entire cadre of stars, with Henry remaining “doubtful”.
With that in mind, might Dallas take a similar approach with one of their most invaluable offensive weapons?
Tony Pollard’s been a DNP all week, and while the running back can likely battle through the injury, it might in the Cowboys’ best interest to rest him on a short week with the playoffs on the horizon.
Cowboys Injury Report: Tony Pollard sidelined with thigh injury, Micah Parsons limited with a hand injury
As much as we want to see Pollard out there, the Cowboys should (should!) take care of business against the Titans with Ezekiel Elliott and Malik Davis manning the backfield. The most important thing is having Pollard fully healthy for the playoffs. If that means letting him heal on a short week vs a battered opponent with Dallas having already secured a ticket to the postseason, then so be it.
While Elliott’s been every bit as important to the offense, it doesn’t take a football savant to recognize Pollard is the unit’s x-factor. With him, the Cowboys’ offense takes on a new meaning of explosive. Without him, opposing defense’s can prepare for Zeke knowing the chances he breaks a big run are very slim.
It’s not like Davis is a slouch, either. An undrafted free agent out of Florida, Davis hasn’t gotten a sniff behind Pollard and Elliott, but he starred in training camp and preseason, parlaying that into 103 rushing yards and a TD on an efficient 4.5 yards per carry during the regular season.
It’s the same deal with Elliott’s knee in 2021 and 2022. If the game was Sunday, and Pollard had an extra three days to get ready, it’d be a different story. No sense risking a setback to the first-time Pro Bowler on a short week.
Aside from Pollard, the Cowboys’ injury report looks good going into Thursday. The only noteworthy takeaway is that Micah Parsons was limited with a hand injury. Parsons had his hand taped during practice, but left little to no doubt that he’ll be on the field Thursday night in Nashville.
Yeah, Parsons isn’t letting a hand injury keep him out.
In other news, Jayron Kearse, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Sam Williams were also limited. Kearse and Lawrence’s reps are seemingly just being managed, while Williams is back practicing after he missed Week 16 following his car accident.
What do you think, Cowboys fans? Should Dallas sit Pollard?