Fresh off a much-needed bye week and with newly acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper acclimated to the offense the Dallas Cowboys turn their attention to there next opponent the Tennesse Titans. Here are the four keys that will determine if the Cowboys come out on top Monday night.
- Can the defense continue the high level of play?
These two teams are similar in a lot of ways headlined by their dominating defenses. Through seven games the Cowboys rank second in total defense including second in points allowed and third in yards allowed. The Titans offense resembles the one the Jacksonville Jaguars trotted out in a 40-7 loss to the Cowboys. They come in ranked 30th in every category outside of rushing yards where they rank 19th. If the Cowboys can stop the duo of Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis they have a good chance to get the win.
2. Can the Cowboys offense put it together?
Just like the Titians the Cowboys offense has also struggled this season coming in at 26th. However, there is hope for improvement with Cooper now in the fold and a new offensive line coach. They will face a stiff test Monday night against a Titans defense that is ranked third in both total defense and scoring allowing just 18.1 points per game. They have 15 sacks on the season led by defensive end Jurrell Casey who has 3.5. The line play under new coach Marc Colombo will determine if the offense can not only get the ball in the hands of Cooper but if they can take advantage of the defensive stops.
3. What kind of impact will Cooper have?
The moment he was acquired Cooper instantly became the best receiver on the team. Monday is his time to prove it. His impact can be felt in a couple of ways. For starters, just his presence alone helps out Cole Beasley and co. as they have to be aware of Cooper on each and every play. If Cooper gets going early it will force the Titans to give him more attention opening things up for others. If we thought Beasley was on a tare so far this season being the go-to imagine what he can do with defenses not focused on him. I expect Cooper to get going early with a couple of quick passes.
4. Can the Cowboys end their red zone woes?
As it stands right now the Cowboys have hit more field goals (16) then they’ve scored touchdowns (13). The Titans are no better scoring nine touchdowns to 15 field goals. That’s never a good stat and it needs to change quickly if the Cowboys want to pull out a win. In what is shaping up to be a low scoring defensive struggle points will be at a premium and touchdowns will be CRUCIAL. One touchdown might be all it takes for one of the teams to pull out the win. It is imperative that when the Cowboys get down inside the 20-yard line they get six instead of three. This is where the acquisition of Cooper can pay immediate dividends.