The Baffling Minnesota Vikings

The 11-1 Philadelphus Eagles might have the inside track on the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in the conference – and the cushy bye and homefield advantage that comes with it – but no one should be sleeping on the 9-3 Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys survived the Cooper Rush era while Dak Prescott got healthy and the ‘Boys are now absolutely surging. Their three losses were as follows:

Week 1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Week 1 game shave always been a crapshoot and that is even more true in the 2020s where teams get three preseason games and barely play their starters.

Week 6 at Philadelphia – This was the game where Rush showed he wasn’t ready for primetime and dispelled any thoughts of the Cowboys sticking with him after Prescott returned. He threw three picks as Dallas lost 26-17

Week 10 at the Green Bay Packers – The Cowboys outgained the Packers but is wasn’t enough as they went down 31-28 in overtime coming off of the bye.

That defeat at Lambeau is the only one of the three where it feels like there wasn’t some type of mitigating factor. The loss to Philadelphia is obviously brutal given how good the Eagles have been this year, but the return game in Week 16 is going to be fascinating. Dallas will need outside help to claim the No. 1 seed – the Eagles will have to lose one of their other four remaining games in addition to Dallas winning out – but even without the No. 1 seed, this is a dangerous team.

The improvement post-Rush has been drastic. The Cowboys have gone from 29th in total offense after Week 7 to 11th as of Week 14. In that same span they moved the scoring offense from 19.1 points per game to 27.8 points per game. That includes an explosion over the last month where they have averaged almost 40 points per game.

This is a team with all the component parts clicking. It is why the talk of Odell Beckham Jr. joining the team has quietly faded over the last couple of weeks. Dallas did their due diligence in looking at OBJ, but if he isn’t at his peak – and it is hard to see how he could be after his knee injury – then how does he come in and do anything for this squad other than upset the beautiful balance they are currently working with?

Dallas Cowboys ticket holders already know this is a dangerous team. The rest of the NFL will need to figure out how to stop them before January or the Cowboys will be making a deep playoff run.

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