The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a solid home victory against the Washington Redskins to even their record at 3-3. Despite earning the divisional win, the Cowboys offense wasn’t too noteworthy and must improve in Week 7.
This week, Dallas plays another divisional foe in the Philadelphia Eagles, who are currently tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East. Both teams are undefeated within the division thus far.
After an incredible offensive output against Denver in Week 5, Dallas was much more average against the Redskins. The team scored 31 total points, but special teams and defense generated much of that.
In order to keep pace with Philly’s high-powered offense, the Cowboys must become more consistent when they have the football. A big part of what must change is Dez Bryant’s role.
The fourth-year receiver has proven that he’s one of the best at the position in the NFL. However, similar to the Cowboys’ results, he’s been extremely hot and cold this year.
It may just be a mere coincidence, but Bryant’s stats are significantly better in each of Dallas’ losses. This is due in large part to the Cowboys being forced to pass more often while trailing, but this doesn’t provide any reasoning for his poor numbers in Dallas victories. Take a look at these perplexing statistics.
The Cowboys will need their star receiver to be better in Week 7 than he was on Sunday night. A big reason is because starting running back DeMarco Murray will not be available. He sustained a knee injury against Washington and is expected to miss at least one week.
Dallas will turn to rookie running back Joseph Randle to handle the every-down duties. He played decently after Murray left the game in his first action of his pro career.
Even though Randle filled in nicely, he’s definitely a downgrade from the starter. Murray was having a great beginning to the season and now must deal with yet another injury.
With the running game taking a hit, the pressure on Dez Bryant and the Cowboys passing attack is emphasized even more. Without one of his biggest scoring threats in Murray, quarterback Tony Romo must find Bryant more often this week.
Part of the reason Bryant is having a quieter 2013 is the attention he’s drawing from opposing defenses. Every defensive coordinator in the league knows what No. 88 is capable of and prepares for him each week. Many teams have chosen to utilize double-teams.
Even with the extra attention Bryant has on a weekly basis, Romo and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan must find ways to get him the ball. He’s far too explosive to only record five catches for 36 yards like he did this past week.
In fact, the Eagles rank dead last in the NFL in total defense this season. They give up an average of more than 420 yards per game.
Another reason to be excited for Bryant this week is his matchup with the Philadelphia corners. Whether it’s Cary Williams or Brandon Boykin assigned to him, Bryant has a significant size and skill advantage. If Romo has time in the pocket, Bryant should be able to have a field day against this secondary.
In spite of being inconsistent this year, Bryant still ranks among the league’s best in all of the major receiving categories. His six touchdowns put him at a tie for third behind Denver’s Wes Welker and Julius Thomas.
This week I’m expecting a monster game from Bryant that will lead the Cowboys to another win. He’s got a very favorable matchup against Philly’s defense and should be able to take full advantage if Romo can deliver him the ball. Look for Bryant to catch close to 10 passes and get in the end zone multiple times.
All statistics via Pro-Football-Reference.com unless indicated otherwise.