If the Cowboys don’t want to suffer the same fate the Patriots did last week, they will need to dominate the Lions with their ground game.
At some point, the Dallas Cowboys offense is going to embrace what they are and stop worry about what they aren’t. This week would be a good time. If the Cowboys want to even their record, they’re going to need to dominate the Lions on the ground.
The good news for the Cowboys is that they have one of the most punishing runners in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott is a stud. If his offensive line can help him get to the second level, he’s got the talent and elusiveness to make big plays happen.
Unfortunately, he’s about all the Cowboys have to be excited about on offense. Their passing game is atrocious. Jerry Jones and the front office tried to convince everyone before the season that they had enough talent at wide receiver to get by, but that’s clearly not the case. When you’re counting on Tavon Austin to be your big play wideout, your offense is set up for failure.
The Lions have no such issues at wide receiver. Their trio of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay might be the best overall unit in the NFL. If the Cowboys give the Lions opportunities to burn them down the field they’re going to get torched. Dallas has talent on defense, but the absence of Sean Lee is going to present them with serious problems.
The path to victory for Jason Garrett is startlingly simple. The Cowboys need to reduce this game to a giant contest of keep away. The best way to keep the Lions from lighting up the scoreboard will be to keep the ball away from Matthew Stafford.
That means the Cowboys offense needs to lean on Elliott even more than normal. Shockingly, he’s managed to grind out 5.7 yards per carry on 48 rushes this year. Garrett and company will need to significantly increase his workload on Sunday. The Cowboys season is hanging in the balance. They should be shooting to give Elliott somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 touches.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Dak Prescott has to hand him the ball that many times. It would be nice if Scott Linehan and the coaching staff would involve him in the passing game as well. That might be a bit too much to ask from this conservative offensive staff though.
If Elliott dominate this game things might get out of hand. Relying on him for 100% of the offense isn’t a reasonable plan for the rest of the season, but it’s workable in a one game scenario. It’s their only chance to beat the Lions on Sunday.