News: BTB: Cowboys’ defense played well enough to win most road games, offense must now step it

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    The Cowboys 3-5 road record is concerning with a big primetime playoff game away from ahead.

    The Cowboys exacted revenge for one of their five road losses in 2018 when they eliminated the Seahawks last week. Still, that was a home game for Dallas, this week, they’ll do the travelling.

    Now, they face the task of being able to go win a playoff game, on the road, which they haven’t done in 25-years and are ‘0’ for their last seven during that span. They are also 3-5 on the road this season after going 12-4 over the past two seasons. When you are the fourth-seed in the NFC, being 8-1 at home doesn’t help much. At some point, to reach that ultimate goal, it’s going to take a road victory to get there.

    Here is just a quick peek into the Cowboys’ away splits this season:

    Avg. Road Gm PPG YPG # Plays Yds/Pl. 1st DN/Gm TDs TO Sacks Punts Pen
    DAL OFF 17 343 66 5.2 19.2 1.9 1.8 3.75 4.1 7/57
    DAL DEF 22 381 67 5.7 21.1 2 1.8 1.6 3.8 6/44

    So what gives? Why have the Cowboys been so different away from AT&T Stadium? Well, it’s the offense that stalls and stalls while the defense continuously keeps them in the game before finally succumbing to fatigue. Those numbers above are good enough defensively to have won more than three road games but not with this type of production on offense:

    QB​
    GMs​
    Comp.​
    Att.​
    Comp. %​
    Pass Yds​
    Yds/Att.​
    Total
    TDs​
    INT/FUM​
    QB RATE​
    SACK​
    Pts. Add​
    Dak Prescott 5 102 166 61.50% 1025 6.1 4 5/3 72.5 20 26
    RB GMs Rush Att. Rush Yds Yds/Att. FUM. Targ. Rec. Rec. Yds Yds/Rec. Tot. TDs Pts. Add
    Ezekiel Elliott
    5 84 370 4.4 2 33 22 108 4.9 1 6
    WR/TE GMs Targ. Rec. Rec. Yds TD Yds/Rec. Yds/Sep. x-YAC +/- Catch% Yds/Targ Pts. Add
    Cole Beasley
    5 31 22 225 0 10.2 2.6 -4.1 71% 7.3 0
    Amari Cooper 1 7 4 32 0 8.0 2.2 -3 57% 4.6 0
    Blake Jarwin 5 12 6 72 0 12.0 2.9 0.1 50% 6.0 0
    Michael Gallup 5 13 6 113 1 18.8 1.9 0.5 46% 8.7 6
    Tavon Austin 5 6 4 46 1 11.5 N/A N/A 67% 7.7 6
    Allen Hurns 3 17 10 128 1 12.8 2.3 1.3 59% 7.5 6



    Keep in mind though that four of the five road losses occurred prior to the Amari Cooper trade and the 8-1 roll the Cowboys are currently on. The trip to Carolina in week one was a sloppy start but it is week one. Seattle wasn’t fun, Houston was a heart-breaker, Washington was disgraceful (for the refs), and then there was the one nasty blemish that did happen during the win-streak at Indy. Could the Cowboys have laid such an egg because they had played five games in 28 days and were just spent? Perhaps.

    The road opponent this week, the Los Angeles Rams, happen to be one of the three most potent offenses in the playoffs along with the Chiefs and Saints. New Orleans did beat this Rams’ team back in week nine and L.A. beat the Chiefs 54-51 a while back in a barn-burner. If L.A. beat KC and NOLA topped L.A., who beat NOLA? Oh right, the Dallas Cowboys and their defense stifled the Saints 13-10 in week 13. A signature victory for such a young roster but again that was at AT&T Stadium. Now, it’s time to see if this team has what it takes to dethrone an NFC heavyweight in Hollywood.

    A trip to Los Angeles doesn’t seem so bad when considering the alternative of playing the Saints in the Superdome, sorry not sorry, Cody Parkey. Plus, the contingency of Cowboys’ faithful in sunny So-Cal should make it feel much friendlier. At least more so than Philly, Atlanta, and New York were, the sites of the Cowboys three road victories this season. How did this team look in those hostile territories?

    Road Avg. PPG YPG # Plays Yds/Pl 1st DN/Gm TD TO/TA Sacks Punts Pen/Yds
    DAL OFF 28.3 385.7 67 5.7 22 3.3 0.3 3.3 2 4/34.3
    DAL DEF 24.6 405.3 61 6.6 21 2.6 1.3 2.0 2 4/31.0

    Now, the defense has been giving up a little more than usual but a lot of that is inflated by the Giants game where the Cowboys pulled a few key guys. In the three road wins, here’s how the offense has looked:

    QB​
    GMs​
    Comp.​
    Att.​
    Comp. %​
    Pass Yds​
    Yds/Att.​
    Total
    TDs​
    INT/FUM​
    QB RATE​
    SACK​
    Pts. Add​
    Dak Prescott 3 75 112 66.96% 865 7.72 7 0/1 104.9 10 42
    RB GMs Rush Att. Rush Yds Yds/Att. FUM. Targ. Rec. Rec. Yds Yds/Rec. Tot. TDs Pts. Add
    Ezekiel Elliott
    2 42 273 6.5 2 15 13 115 8.85 3 21
    WR/TE GMs Targ. Rec. Rec. Yds TD Yds/Rec. Yds/Sep. x-YAC +/- Catch% Yds/Targ Pts. Add
    Cole Beasley
    3 18 15 182 1 12.1 3.1 0.6 83% 10.1 6
    Amari Cooper 3 26 14 142 0 10.1 2.2 0.8 54% 4.6 0
    Blake Jarwin 5 8 7 119 3 17.0 2.9 1.0 88% 6.0 18
    Michael Gallup 5 14 6 94 0 15.7 3.4 2.7 43% 8.7 2
    Tavon Austin 1 3 1 10 0 10.0 N/A N/A 33% 3.3 0
    Allen Hurns 3 3 3 89 0 29.7 N/A N/A 100% 29.7 0



    It’s been a re-occurring theme all season long for the Cowboys, they tend to find themselves in lots of strength-vs-strength games and the Rams are no different:

    Avg.​
    PPG​
    YPG​
    # Plays​
    Yds/Pl.​
    1st DN​
    TD​
    TO​
    Sacks​
    Punt​
    3DN%​
    DAL OFF 28.3 385.7 67 5.7 22 3.3 0.3 3.3 2 56%
    LAR DEF 28.1 378.7 59 6.32 20 3.4 2 2.5 4 37%
    Avg.
    PPG
    YPG
    # Plays
    Yds/Pl.
    1st DN
    TD
    TO
    Sacks
    Punt
    3DN%
    LAR OFF 37.1 452.5 69 6.5 26 4.5 1.0 2.3 3 48%
    DAL DEF 24.6 405.3 61 6.6 21 2.6 1.3 2.0 2 46%

    Will the Cowboys team that beat the Eagles, Falcons, and Giants show up in Los Angeles? Will it even be enough? The Cowboys have been playing with house money for several weeks, nobody expected them to be here but they made history being the first Cowboys team in franchise history to start 3-5 and win the NFC East. This team has fought through everything imaginable to earn this opportunity as they have been in playoff-mode for quite some time. Facing off against their toughest challenge yet vs. these Rams, there is a lot to prove for both teams.

    The Rams and Sean McVay are the darlings of the NFL but were beat by double-digits in last year’s wild card game vs. the Falcons. The Cowboys need to prove that their offensive philosophy can travel and lead this franchise to it’s 17th Conference Championship game after a historic layoff. After all that we’ve witnessed to date on the 2018 season, does this Cowboys’ team have a little magic left?

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