ANALYSIS NFL

Cowboys Surviving the First Wave of the Season

Zeke vs Lions 9-30-18

With 4 games in the books, the Dallas Cowboys are still somewhat of a mystery. They are currently 2-2 with their 2 wins coming from the Detroit Lions and the New York Giants. There are definitely some good things that is working for the Cowboys and some things they can improve on.

The defense is incredible for lesser words. They are currently ranked 6th in yards per game with allowing teams to get 311 yards and 3rd in points allowed with 17 per game. This is a group of young guys with Demarcus Lawrence leading the team with plays like this:

While the Cowboys are last in the league in takeaways with 2 this season, they will have plenty of chances to get better with that. To make things better, David Irving will come back from his 4 game suspension and will make the defense down right dangerous.

While the defense has been great, the offense needs consistency. The offense probably had their best game of the season and Ezekiel Elliott ran wild all over the Lions. It is widely accepted that have to give your best player the ball. If Dallas wants to get back into the playoffs, they need to rely on Zeke to be the workhorse. Look at the first 4 games so far:

                         Rush Rush Rush Rush Rece Rece Rece  Rece      Rece
Tm           Opp  Result Rush  Yds  Y/A   TD  Tgt  Rec  Yds   Y/R   TD   TD
DAL          CAR  L 8-16   15   69 4.60    1    4    3   17  5.67    0    1
DAL          NYG W 20-13   17   78 4.59    1    6    5    9  1.80    0    1
DAL          SEA L 13-24   16  127 7.94    0    8    3   11  3.67    0    0
DAL          DET W 26-24   25  152 6.08    0    4    4   88 22.00    1    1
Cowb   Cowb Cowb    Cowb Cowb Cowb Cowb Cowb Cowb Cowb Cowb  Cowb Cowb Cowb

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table

Cowboys have to find ways to get Elliott at least 25 carries a game because when they feed him, it opens up the offense to do a lot more.

Also Cowboys should want Dak Prescott to run with the ball more. Dak took more chances against the Lions with throwing some deep passes and it was quite refreshing to see instead of throw short routes. There are still some opportunities that Dak should take advantage of and use his legs. Teams know that Dak is not going to throw 300 yards on a regular basis but he has the ability to keep them guessing.

Another room for improvement is the play-calling. On offense, has been less than desirable and for some of the games, it has been predictable. Scott Linehan, the offensive coordinator and play caller for the Cowboys, has been under some criticism for last season and this season as well. The Cowboys have to not only be creative with the offense but also execute when they are in the red zone.

While it has only been a small sample size, the next 4 games will be quite interesting for the Cowboys. They will face the Texans this Sunday night in a high stakes game for both teams. It should feel more a neutral site game with the huge fan bases both being present at NRG Stadium in Houston. Afterwards, Cowboys will face top defenses in back to back weeks against Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins. The Tennessee Titans, who did a huge favor for the Cowboys by beating the Eagles in overtime, will be the last team before the halfway mark.

Fans should be content with going 2-2 for the first 4 games. If they want Dallas to be taken more seriously, the Cowboys will need to have a huge October.

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