The Dallas Cowboys are an NFL betting nightmare. In the past two weeks, the offense has scored enough points for 50-plus-point totals to go over, while the defense has allowed enough points to lose back-to-back games straight-up and against the spread.
It's enough to drive a gambler crazy.
In a mailbag article on the Cowboys' official site, a fan asked a fairly straightforward question about the defense: "Do you think we have the talent needed to improve this season?"
The answer: "potential improvement is continuing to allow these young kids to play." Uh oh.
Perhaps these youngsters will benefit from the Cowboys' bye week — doing some film work, resting up, and just getting some thinking done, because they're not just beating themselves out there; they're beating their own offensive teammates.
It's like Dallas' offense and defense are riding a tandem bike, but the offense is doing all the pedaling while the defense holds the brakes. Against the Packers Sunday, quarterback Dak Prescott completed 25 of 36 passes to match his career-high of 251 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Cole Beasley. Ezekiel Elliott had 116 yards on 29 carries, including 85 in the fourth quarter. Prescott also carried the ball four times for 37 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to give Dallas a 31-28 lead with 1:13 left.
The defense allowed the Packers' backup running back Aaron Jones to rush for 125 yards on 19 carries on the day. They also failed to stop, or really even slow down, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense as they drove 75 yards in just over a minute for the game-winning touchdown.
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And speaking of the Packers quarterback, the Cowboys defense sacked him four times, but Rodgers, as they do in wrestling, "no-sold" it. Rodgers completed 19 of 29 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 11 seconds remaining.
Some have said Prescott should have refrained from scoring that 11-yard touchdown near the end, as it gave Rodgers too much time to mount a comeback. But let's think about it for a second; you're asking an offensive player to stop short of the end zone, with his team down a touchdown in the final two minutes of the game. If he holds up to run the clock, there's no guarantee they score at all. Take the points when you can get them.
The fact remains that the Cowboys have, for the second consecutive week, blown a double-digit lead. If you have a double-digit lead to begin with, can you really blame the loss on the offense?
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dallas is only the second team in the history of the league to score 30 points at home in consecutive weeks and lose both games.
The Cowboys have scored points on 10 of their past 19 drives in the last two games but the defense has undercut those efforts, allowing points on 14 of their past 18 drives. Head coach Jason Garrett has his work cut out for him if he wants to whip this defense into shape in time for the Cowboys' return to action against the 49ers on October 22 at Levi Stadium.
May we suggest that he try mass hypnosis?
"You are all very good players. You will give 110%"