The Dallas Cowboys had to sit back and watch last week as the bye week passed. They got virtually zero help with a Philadelphia Eagles win and have a tough road ahead. Together, we’ll take a look at the last eight games on the schedule and assess what this team can do.
Analyzing the Dallas Cowboys Schedule After the Bye Week
Week 9: at New York Giants – MNF 8:15 PM EST
The Cowboys will travel to face the Giants this week in the Meadowlands, looking to keep their division-leading pace. Last time these two teams met, it wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Dak Prescott dominated New York through the air with some help from Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper. He ultimately ended his day 25/32, four touchdowns, 0 INTs, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Coming into his first game back from the Cabo San Lucas holdout, Ezekiel Elliott had 13 carries for 53 yards. This time around, they can expect a much heavier workload from Zeke as he’s healthy, and coming off a needed bye week.
The defense gave up over 400 yards of offense that game, but a lot of it came in garbage time. The defense is again healthy and starting to make its presence felt. They also added a new face in Michael Bennett, who should have no problem seamlessly fitting in. The Cowboys need to slow down Saquon Barkley in order to win this pivotal Monday night game.
Week 10: vs Minnesota Vikings – SNF 8:20 EST
In Week 10, the Vikings roll into town. Kirk Cousins is coming off of a blazing month of October and just had their winning streak halted by the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. The key to stopping the Vikings though, much like the Giants, is to stop the run. Dalvin Cook has been great so far this year and can open up the game in so many way for Minnesota.
Dallas beat Minnesota the last time these two teams met. It was a Thursday night in Minnesota, yet it was a very sloppy game. Expect the Cowboys to rely on Elliott and Cooper early and often as it has a lot this season.
Week 11: at Detroit Lions – 1:00 EST
After playing Sunday night, the Cowboys will roll into the Motor City and should have no problem beating the Lions. Their offense is very good, but their defense is not as good as the offense. Dallas should be able to thoroughly run the football to open up big passing plays downfield. Stafford and company could possibly make this game a shootout, but if Dallas’ defense shows up, it will not be close at all.
Week 12: at New England Patriots – 4:25 EST
Possibly the toughest matchup on this stretch, the Patriots are tough to beat already, not mentioning they’re playing in Foxborough. Brady and company suffered their first loss to the Ravens, who took an approach that Dallas should follow closely. Run the football with your running back, but keep the Pats honest with your athletic quarterback. The Ravens shredded a usually disciplined Patriots team because of Lamar Jackson‘s threat to run and make plays. Dak might not be as fast, but he is still plenty mobile and can make things happen when it goes sideways.
Playing the Patriots offense is a different story. The Patriots have a plethora of athletes that contribute and can hurt you in many ways. The Dallas defense will have to wreak havoc, much like the Ravens did, by blitzing and landing legal hits on Tom Brady.
Week 13: vs Buffalo Bills – Thanksgiving Day 4:25 EST
The Cowboys will host the Bills and former wideout Cole Beasley on Thanksgiving. The Bills are stuck behind the Patriots, but they are no slouch of a team. The Bills are decent on offense and have a very underrated defense. They force turnovers and score off of them and that’s a big reason the team is 6-2. Particularly vulnerable against the run, Dallas will feature Elliott probably quite a bit. That will force Buffalo to load the box and stop the run, opening up Gallup and Cooper to run free.
Week 14: at Chicago Bears – TNF 8:20 EST
Rolling into Soldier Field in December and winning a ballgame is tough. It will be cold, most likely snowing, and it will be in primetime. The Bears, and particularly Mitchell Trubisky, have struggled all year long. They don’t look the same as the team that went 12-4 last year but don’t let that fool you. They can still play. Dallas will have to hit first and hit hard, and the Bears will do exactly what they did against Philly this past week. They will lay down. They’ll try to come back, but they’ll dig themselves a hole too deep to climb out of.
Week 15: vs LA Rams – 4:25 EST
Here it is. The rematch of last year’s Divisional Round. LA took that game 30-22 and eventually wound up losing to New England in the Super Bowl. If the Cowboys want to show they’re real contenders in the NFC, they need to beat the Rams. Doing so would propel them into the final weeks with a lot of momentum. It will not be easy though, as the offense is still really good, and Aaron Donald still leads that defensive side of the ball.
Week 16: at Philadelphia Eagles – Time TBD
Dallas won the first meeting against the Eagles 37-10. This game could be different though. The way this season has gone, the Cowboys and Eagles are on a collision course for a winner take all game in Week 16. Unless one team melts down, these two teams will meet to determine the NFC East Champion at Lincoln Financial Field.
Dallas ate Philly alive last game in large part due to Ezekiel Elliott doing his thing, and Dak Prescott bouncing back from a terrible three-week stretch of games. The Cowboys will have to use the same formula in order to win this super important road game in December.
Week 17: vs Washington Redskins – 1:00 EST
This is virtually a throwaway game if Dallas wins the East. The Redskins should surely be tanking with Dwayne Haskins throwing the football around, trying to salvage a win. Dallas should be expected to be able to rest their important guys going into a wildcard, or divisional game in the playoffs.
All Stats gathered from http://NFL.Com