With one week left, the question to play or rest the starters will be the topic for the Dallas Cowboys this week.
The Dallas Cowboys have one game left in the regular season before heading into the playoffs as the number one seed. The decision to rest the starters or play them to maintain the flow they have will be a discussion all week and will be an interesting decision. There are points for both, negative and positive.
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On one side, resting starters will ensure an injury like what happened to Derek Carr won’t occur to Dak Prescott. There is always a fear of injury heading into the playoffs, which is probably why the Cowboys chose to hold out Tyron Smith for the rest of the Lions’s game. It is also the reason they kept Ezekiel Elliott out for much of the second half.
While ensuring no injuries will occur, it could throw off the flow the Cowboys have going.
While riding a rookie quarterback into the playoffs, the desire to continue to get him more experience has to be on the mind of Jason Garrett. Even Garrett in his press conference was noncommittal to who plays and who doesn’t next week.
There is also getting Tony Romo some valuable playing time in case something were to happen to Prescott during the playoffs. Playing Romo could also help to see if there is a high value for him in the off-season. Again, do the Cowboys want to risk the flow of the team, or would they rather take the chance of an injury?
While it is likely some players will rest, such as Elliott, Smith, and players banged up, the Cowboys will still have a bye week in the first week of the playoffs. Either way, the Cowboys coaching staff approaches this could be seen as the right answer. Personally, I would play starters for a little bit, then go to backups. Make it like a pre-season game in a way.
The defense will most likely rely on the starters more than the offense as there have been some more injuries that will need healing. The 3-2 dime package that Rod Marinelli used against the Lions could make another appearance next week against the Eagles. With nothing to play for by either team, the Cowboys could try some new things on defense next week as well.
It will be the offense that will have the most questions as to who plays and who sits. I would imagine no one will hear much of an answer until late in the week. However, I would watch to see what the reports on Thursday say about who played in practice and who didn’t. It would probably be a good indication for Sunday’s game.
With one week left, it is nice to have this as the topic of conversation rather than having to beat the Eagles to get into the playoffs, or worse, a repeat of last year. While there are no sure things in the NFL, we all get to see at least a little more Cowboys football this season. We just hope it is three extra games. It actually all starts next week, as the Cowboys prepare for the playoffs by resting or starting players.