The Dallas Cowboys organization is preparing for an emotional Sunday at AT&T Stadium as Ezekiel Elliott makes his return with the 1-2 New England Patriots.
A two-time rushing champ with the Cowboys, Elliott racked up 8,262 rushing yards over his seven years with the Cowboys. He's the third-leading rusher in franchise history, trailing only Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, respectively, and is third in team history in rushing touchdowns and 100-yard games.
Simply put, Elliott is one of the best RBs of the last 20 years, which is highly impressive when you consider his massive workload and propensity to play through injury, as he famously battled through a PCL tear and hyperextended knee.
So, yes, Sunday will be emotional leading up to kickoff. Jerry Jones will further tug on fans' heartstrings with an apparent tribute for Elliott.
Appearing on 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday, the Cowboys owner all but confirmed the team has something special planned for Zeke.
Cowboys News: Jerry Jones reveals Dallas will honor Ezekiel Elliott
A tribute video underlining Elliott's finest moments with the Cowboys is the most likely course of action here, but Jones and Elliott share a close relationship. Perhaps the owner has something extra planned for the former No. 4 overall pick. Either way, Jones' words should incentivize fans to get to their seats early.
While Elliott will be the center of attention Sunday, the Cowboys need a rebound performance following their Week 2 loss to the Cardinals.
It was an uncharacteristic sloppy game in all three phases. Arguably the most frustrating part, however, was Dallas' self-inflicting wounds, as they committed 13 penalties for over 100 yards after they were flagged a combined 10 times in the first two games.
The Cowboys have to be more disciplined going forward, and they'll be tested against Elliott's Patriots as they drew Scott Novak's crew. Per Bobby Belt of 105.3 The Fan, Novak has penalized Dallas 10 and 13 times, respectively, the last two times he refereed Cowboys games.
Penalties have been a common theme for the Cowboys under Mike McCarthy. Week 3's penalty monsoon was indicative of a team that wasn't ready to play. That's on the head coach just as much (if not more) as it is on the players.
Even if Dallas starts out hot against the Patriots, penalties can flip momentum and change the complexion of a game. Novak seemingly will be happy to take the spotlight on Sunday. Let's hope the Cowboys don't give him a reason to.