Game Preview: Cowboys to rustle up another win

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After a couple of poor losses that could have easily been wins, had my Dallas Cowboys cut out the mistakes in those games, we are now onto Week 6 and travellling to MetLife Stadium to take on the 0-4 New York Jets. This should serve as a chance to get our season back on track and build some confidence going into the game of the season against our main rivals for the NFC East crown, the Eagles. So let’s take a look at some of the key facts going into this game.

Key injuries

  • Chris Herndon TE – Jets – Out
  • Kelechi Osemele G – Jets – Doubtful
  • Demaryius Thomas WR – Jets – Questionable
  • Jordan Jenkins LB – Jets – Questionable
  • CJ Mosley LB – Jets – Doubtful
  • Randall Cobb WR – Cowboys – Questionable
  • La’el Collins OT – Cowboys – Questionable
  • Tyron Smith OT – Cowboys – Questionable
  • Randall Cobb WR – Cowboys – Questionable
  • La’el Collins OT – Cowboys – Questionable
  • Tyron Smith OT – Cowboys – Questionable

Both teams have a few injury concerns going into this game but the ones that stand out the most are the those of the Cowboys. With both the left and right starting tackles listed as questionable, this could mean that Dallas would have to start our third and fourth tackles in Cameron Fleming and Brandon Knight. We are fortunate to have Fleming as a back-up as he has generally performed to a high standard when called upon and even Brandon Knight had a decent start against the Packers and certainly wasn’t the reason we lost. However, the Cowboys have a better line with both Tyron Smith and La’el Collins in the line-up. I’m not concerned with Randall Cobb being on the injury list as I think we have the players to step up in Tavon Austin and Devin Smith.

With the Jets, the continued absence of linebacker CJ Mosley is the biggest issue and I don’t see him playing in this game. Along with key injuries in an already under-performing offense in TE Chris Herndon and WR Demayrius Thomas, they will struggle to move the ball. Even with QB Sam Darnold returning after nearly a month out, I don’t see this being more than the dump-off offense it’s been for most of the season.

Key players

Dallas Cowboys

Amari Cooper – WR Cooper has been outstanding this season with 32 receptions for 512 yards and five touchdowns, and consistently hauling in 20+ yard receptions from Dak Prescott. He had a monster game against the Packers where he recovered from a tipped pass from Prescott that hit him in the hands and ended in an interception to stall the first Cowboys drive of the night. Cooper ended up recording 11 receptions for 226 yards and a touchdown with a devilish spin move to get into the end zone. I think he will again show why he was worth that first-round pick the Cowboys gave up for him and have a good outing with another 100-yards-plus game and two scores. He currently ranks second in receiving yards so far this season – just behind Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints who has 31 more yards – although Cooper has five TDs to three for Thomas and eight catches of 20+ yards over Thomas’s five. Three of these receptions by Cooper were over 40+ yards, while Thomas only has one.

Michael Gallup – WR The other receiver on the Dallas team is also averaging more than 100+ yards per game. In fact, his 113 yards per game against Cooper’s 102.4 just goes to show how much Gallup has grown in his second season. He has missed two games so far this year but came right back in against the Packers and showed up with seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown. The Colorado State man would have had more had a blatant defensive pass interference call not been missed that resulted in a Dak Prescott interception. I see him again showing up and this one-two attack will feast look for Gallup to get his second touchdown of the season while moving the chains.

Credit: Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott – QB Dak needs to bounce back after throwing three interceptions against the Packers and he could have had more as well, with one being cancelled out with a penalty on the Packers. However, he still played well overall, throwing for two touchdowns and 463 yards and don’t forget for all that was bad in the last couple of weeks he still has 119/171 for a 69.6% completion rate for 1,606 yards, 11 TDs and six INTs and is consistently getting large chunk plays out of his wideouts. Look for this to continue against the winless Jets, with Dak throwing for three TDs on the day with no interceptions.

New York Jets

Sam Darnold – QB This could be the biggest change for the Jets with Darnold coming back after being out since the first game of the season with mono. Will his comeback see an uptick in a stale offense relying on dump-off passes and Le’Veon Bell (see below) having a monster game? Well yes, I think it does, but not in this game. I do see Darnold having more success with this team than Luke Falk; however I don’t see him getting much out of this Dallas defense who will ensure that they stuff the run after being embarrassed by the Packers’ Aaron Jones.

Le’Veon Bell – RB Listed as a running back is always a bit of a sleight on Bell, who is more of a wide receiver than a traditional running back. Look for more of the same against Dallas with Bell being the Jets’ primary playmaker (it could even be said their only playmaker). He will get the ball early and often against the Cowboys. The Jets should get creative using screens and misdirection to get the ball in his hands in positive positions but I see this being a long struggle. Although he will have more than 100 yards from scrimmage, it will be a hard day against a Cowboys defense wanting to stuff the run. Bell currently has 71 carries for 206 yards at only 2.9 yards a carry with no touchdowns and 27 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. The YPC average of 2.9 is very poor and speaks to the troubles this Jets team has had this season. Look for lots of attempts but not much output from Bell and this Jets rushing attack.

Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Adams – S A premier safety on a bad team, Adams is a good player and will be a danger to a Dallas team who have thrown the ball more than in recent seasons. The Jets safety will be looking to add to his one interception so far this season. If the Jets are to win this game, Adams and the defense will need to have its best game since Week. However, without the push upfront, I don’t see this happening. But still look for Adams to get involved in the action. I predict that he will have an important pass defensed at a pivotal point in the game.

Summary

Overall, I see this being a match-up between two teams going in different directions. The winless Jets are staring at a losing record on what was supposed to be their year while the Dallas team are getting back to winning ways after two tough losses. The overstretched Jets defense will struggle against the leading NFL offense in yards per game. Dak Prescott will get back to looking after the ball and I expect to see a clean game from him and the offense after multiple mistakes these last two weeks.

The only question mark against Dallas in this game is if the starting tackles don’t make the game, how will the back-ups in Fleming and Knight play if called upon?

Prediction

I see this being a battle between the Dallas offense and the Jets defense. Ultimately. the Cowboys offense wins out with another big day from the receiving corps. Cooper and Gallup will get more than 100 yards, RB Zeke Elliott will get 80 yards rushing and 40 yards receiving, and the Cowboys can get back to winning. They will go 4-2 while the Jets will be 0-5 by the end of Sunday.

Prediction: Cowboys 31, Jets 12

Feature Picture – Credit: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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