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Dallas Cowboys Game Preview

The Dallas Cowboys are gearing up for their second division game of the young season after a disappointing loss to the New York Giants. The Cowboys had an opportunity to steal a game at home with their rookie duo in the backfield. Unfortunately, when the team failed to get out of bounds late in the game, time ran out on them.  Now all focus shifts to their rivals in Washington, DC.

What may be the biggest disappointment of all from last week’s contest had to be the Cowboys inability to win up front with their top offensive line. The Cowboys weren’t able to consistently put pressure on the opposing defense and allow their wide receivers to make plays. Despite how the offense played the team only lost by a point.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon against Washington, the Cowboys have an opportunity to get back on track. Their rivals are also coming off of a loss but in more depressing fashion. After leading the Steelers 6-0 in the first quarter, their defense would give up 24 points before they could answer. By that time, it seemed too late and Pittsburgh was able to enforce their will on the defense. Could the Cowboys do something similar this week?

Much like the Cowboys, the Steelers ran the ball 30 times. Unlike the Cowboys, Pittsburgh got 4.9 yards per carry as opposed to the Cowboys 3.5. The difference came in yards before contact. Pittsburgh had a total of 103 yards before contact against Washington. An average of 3.4 yards into their rush before a hand was laid on the runner. Cowboys countered with 1.8 yards before contact. Both teams almost identical with 1.5/1.6 yards after contact.

The Cowboys will need to focus on running the ball on the left side of their offensive line. Behind Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. Washington’s defense gave up 7.4 yards per carry when running behind the left tackle and left guard. Utilizing this aspect will really put this defense on their heels. Which should allow Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris to hit some cut back lanes for bigger gains. Washington isn’t as stacked up the middle as the Giants were, which should allow some of the lane to open up.

How Washington’s defense stacked up against how the Cowboys performed.

Vs Washington Defense Cowboys
Personnel Carries Yards Avg TDs Carries Yards Avg TDs
11 14 62 4.4 0 13 61 4.7 1
21 6 39 6.5 0 10 28 2.8 0
31 9 48 5.3 2 2 5 2.5 0
Direction Carries Yards Avg TDs Carries Yards Avg TDs
Left 13 96 7.4 2 12 40 3.3 0
Middle 6 23 3.8 0 5 13 2.6 0
Right 10 34 3.4 0 10 39 3.9 1
Men in Box Carries Yards Avg TDs Carries Yards Avg TDs
6 11 52 4.7 0 6 22 3.7 0
7 4 17 4.3 0 14 64 4.6 1
8 10 64 6.4 2 7 8 1.1 0
9 4 16 4.0 0 3 7 2.3 0
Vs Wash Dallas
YBC 105 53
YAC 44 48

Getting this running game off to a fast start will really help the passing game. Cowboy need to focus on getting Zeke more involved in the passing game as well. All of this will depend on how Dez Bryant gets utilized this week. My good friend Joey Ickes had a great write up on it. This team can ill-afford to start the season 0-2.

Prediction:

Elliott gets his first 100-yard game of his career and Morris adds another 50 and a TD.

About Patrick Conn

Patrick Conn is the lead NFL Draft analyst for TBN. Over the past three years he has worked with Inside The Star, Blogging The Boys, and Fansided. His work has even been published on SI.com. Patrick has been on ESPN East Texas discussing the Cowboys and the NFL Draft. Follow him on twitter @DraftCowboys.

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