The Dallas Cowboys offense looks to be coming back strong with the return of quarterback Dak Prescott, tight end Blake Jarwin, and both starting tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. Not to mention running back Ezekiel Elliott coming back in great shape, looking lighter and faster than he did last season. You combine those things with the progression of second-year receiver CeeDee Lamb and tight end Dalton Schultz, and this offense looks like they are in for a monster season. But before they can do anything, they need to win the division and to do that they need to have a strong game plan.
So let’s take a look at ways offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can beat each division rival’s defense, and find their mojo at the same time.
On paper, the Giants have done a few things to revamp their secondary and while we haven’t seen the finished product yet, they are a very talented group, on paper. If the Cowboys want to beat this team they are going to have to win the battle in the trenches and get Elliott and Tony Pollard going early. They’ll want to force the Giants talented secondary to make business decisions on the field with offensive lineman and running backs coming at them full speed. This might just be the one secondary in the division with enough talent to cover the Cowboys receivers and make things a bit difficult for Prescott and company.
Elliott and Pollard will be the key to this game; if they are able to hit the ground running it will force the Giants to load the box leaving less help for their cornerbacks and forcing them into more one-on-one situations which favor the Cowboys. We know this Cowboys offensive line has opened up massive running lanes in the past for the running backs, and they will need to do it again to make this offense as balanced as possible if they want to beat this rebuilt defense.
Against the Eagles, the Cowboys will be looking to do the exact opposite of what was prescribed for the Giants, and that’s attack a suspect Philadelphia secondary. While it’s still a good idea to get Elliott and Pollard going early, the Cowboys have the talent on the outside to beat the Eagles. Receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup should be the main focus for offensive coordinator Kellen Moore; their combined abilities will make it tough for the Eagles to hold them up as all of them have the potential to take over games.
What makes this even better for the Cowboys is they have been putting Gallup in the slot and are starting to move Lamb around the formation more, and that is giving them more opportunities to create mismatches based on what the defense is showing them. Prescott will be able to go with his best option and if given enough time in the pocket he will make life miserable for this secondary. The Cowboys receiving trio is going to be what breaks this defense in Philly.
The easy answer here is stay away from Chase Young and Montez Sweat, but the Cowboys have both of their starting tackles returning and Young and Sweat didn’t see them last season. Outside of the obvious answer, the Cowboys main focus should be to attack the middle of this defense. Washington has a rookie middle linebacker in Jamin Davis who only started one season in college, and Landon Collins who is returning from a torn Achilles. The Cowboys have two pass-catching running backs to throw at the rookie and two talented tight ends that can test Collins.
Given how talented their defensive line is the Cowboys will want to get the ball out of Prescott’s hand quickly, and this is the best way to do it. It’s effective and will force this tough defensive front to dial it back in an effort to take away passing lanes which then opens up other parts of the Cowboys offense. If the Cowboys are able to win the battle in the middle of the field against these linebackers and safeties, then they have a very strong chance of winning these games.