Dallas Cowboys: Evaluating Their First Three Games

The Dallas Cowboys are 3-0 for the first time since 2008. Racking up victories against the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, and the Miami Dolphins, Dallas is dominating the gridiron. Amazingly, the Cowboys have scored 30+ points in all three wins so far. Furthermore, it’s the first time since 2007 that the Cowboys have scored 30+ points in their first three games of the season.

Dallas’ first three adversaries have a combined record of 1-8. That speaks for itself. While Dallas’ first three opponents are considered to be inferior, they’re still hard-fought. In Dallas’ case, an NFC East showdown is always a challenge no matter how bad either team is. Furthermore, in the National Football League, there’s no such thing as an easy win. That’s part of Dallas’ game strategy: Never take your opponent lightly.

Right now Dallas is on a mission. And their objectives are to make the playoffs, make it to the Super Bowl and break a 24-year drought and bring their sixth title home. For the moment, the Cowboys are in control of the NFC East. At any rate, they’re to do what it takes to remain in control.

Evaluating The Offense:

The offensive is really looking strong. Kellen Moore, the new offensive coordinator, is really taking the offensive in the right direction. With a wide receiver corps of Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup, Dallas passing game has made an impact.

Prescott has two games this season with 400+ passing yards and coming into this season he only had two in his career. Moore’s offensive scheme allows Prescott to use his throwing arm well. Both Cooper and Gallup each have 200+ receiving yards. Cooper has four touchdowns so far, thus he’s the fifth player in Cowboys history to start a season scoring in the first three games.

Unfortunately, the Cowboys are missing Gallup due to injury and he’ll miss one to three more weeks. Fortunately, Devin Smith who’s filling in for Gallup is making an impact. Smith has five catches for 113 yards and one touchdown since his promotion from the practice squad before Dallas’ game against Washington.

Dallas’ running game is very effective. Ezekiel Elliott has two 100-yard performances so far this season. He’s coming off his 21st career 100-yard game. Elliott’s still getting limited carries, but he’s doing well. He along with backup Tony Pollard is building a reputation of becoming a unique dynamic running back duo. Pollard and Elliott have a combined 438 rushing yards, each averaging close to five yards per carry. Against Miami, both Elliott and Pollard rushed for 100+ yards, being the first time since 1998 where two Cowboys running backs ran for 100+ yards in the same game.

A healthy and dominant offensive line is the primary source for Dallas’ effective running game. In addition, Prescott has only been sacked twice so far. As long as the Cowboys have a healthy offensive line that can protect Prescott and make holes for the running game, Dallas’ offense will be able to make an impact on the gridiron.

Dallas is third in the league in total offense(1,444 yards), averaging 481 yards per game. The running game is third in the league with over 530 yards and they average close to 180 yards per game. Elliott’s 289 yards for the season so far puts him fourth in the league. Dallas’ passing game is fourth in the league, averaging 302.3 yards per game. Prescott’s 920 passing yards place him sixth in the league. He’s also second in the league in touchdown passes(9). Furthermore, Prescott’s 128.0 passer rating places him second in the league. Finally, Prescott’s quarterback rating of 94.0 makes him first in the league.

Evaluating The Defense:

The Cowboys defense is average at most. They’re able to make plays, force stops, and make an impact every now and then. However, they still manage to manage to get torched by opposing offenses and sometimes struggle with tackling. On a positive note, they find ways to recover and do their part. Their allowing of 44 points speaks for itself, however, they did manage to prevent a touchdown against Miami.

Dallas’ biggest struggle on defense is turnovers. They have only three so far and they’ve yet to intercept a pass. In addition, they’re struggling with sacks with only five so far. A total of 124 tackles and the allowing of an average of 336 total yards per game shows how average the defense is.

With Dallas entering a challenging phase in their schedule, it’s time for the defense to pick it up. After managing to survive three below-average teams with not much effort, it’s time for them to play some sublime defense. In other words, there’s no more room for mistakes and excuses. It’s time for the defense to play with a more serious mentality.

DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn need to take down the opposing quarterback. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, both of who lead the team in tackles with 48 combined must continue to tackle as well as try to force turnovers. The secondary needs to do better in coverage and intercept some passes. They also want to prevent opposing offenses from pushing them all over the field.

While the offense is able to take the pressure off the defense, the defense needs to do their best give the offense some good field position. In other words, the defense needs to do their part as they can’t rely on the offense to bail them out at every turn. Dallas needs a well-balanced team.

The Cowboys take on the New Orleans Saints this Sunday. Dallas is looking to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2007. They’re also looking to beat New Orleans on the road for the first time since 2009.

Although the Cowboys don’t have to worry about Drew Brees, they still have to worry about Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater is not as big of a threat as Brees, Bridgewater is a quarterback with good experience. In other words, Bridgewater can’t be taken lightly.

Furthermore, in Dallas’ case, to have to play in New Orleans is a nail-biting situation. However, if Prescott and the offense continue to make big plays and drive down the field and score touchdowns continuously while the defense is able to sack the quarterback, make stops, avoid costly penalties, and force turnovers, Dallas can pull it off.

Dallas needs concentration for their game against the Saints. And they have to keep it if they want to win the game.

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