What can the Dallas Cowboys learn from playoff teams?

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Blake Bortles /

The Dallas Cowboys can learn quite a bit from watching the NFL playoffs from home. There are some distinct similarities between the remaining four teams.

The Dallas Cowboys will be watching the playoffs just like everyone else around the world, but there are some valuable lessons to be learned even though Dallas may not be on the field.

The remaining teams left in the NFL playoffs all have several things in common, and most of those things are not typically what you would expect.

Is elite quarterback play necessary?

Three out of the four teams in the Divisional rounds of the 2018 NFL playoffs do not have typically what you would call elite quarterbacks. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots aside, the Jacksonville Jaguars have Blake Bortles, Minnesota Vikings have Case Keenum, and the Philadelphia Eagles are currently rolling with Nick Foles.

The main constant of those three quarterbacks is that they have not typically been very good. A lot was made of Dak Prescott’s regression however even his level of play would allow him to start for all three of those teams, it would even be considered a step up for Jacksonville or Philadelphia.

This year is showing a trend that should be pretty constant throughout the NFL, teams having to make do without an elite quarterback. It is more common than you think and as a younger generation of players come into the spotlight it is something franchises will have to get used too.

The NFC East could potentially have the youngest quarterback lineup in the NFL after the 2018 draft. With this massive change slowly shifting the power dynamics in the NFL, other factors become more important.

Sound defense is crucial for success

The Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles all boast top-tier defenses. These teams have depth at multiple positions on the defensive side of the ball and that has paid off for them in the long run.

The Dallas Cowboys can mirror this success by building on the defensive talent they have acquired so far. The safety, linebacker, and defensive end positions seem to be the weakest heading into 2018 so expect the Cowboys to add more players at those positions.

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The Jaguars by adding only Jalen Ramsay and Calais Campbell have turned a young and hungry defense into potentially the league’s best. The Eagles have been fortifying their defensive line for a couple of seasons now and have a young crop of cornerbacks that should only continue to grow as time goes on.

The Vikings have an elite unit that can generate a pass rush from every level. Their linebackers and defensive lineman have shown a fantastic ability to get to the quarterback and a large part of that has been their ability to draft capable and productive players. There is a saying in football that defense wins championships, and if one of these teams can get past the Patriots, this season will be another example of that ideology proving to be true.

Having a sound running game comes in handy

The Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles, and Vikings all have running games perfect for the offenses they run. The Dallas Cowboys have this in spades however they could add a speed back to their offense much like the New Orleans Saints did when they added Alvin Kamara. The Saints may have gotten beat by the Minnesota Vikings but they had one incredible season.

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All of the teams listed above have invested in several backs that specialize in doing different things which helps keep defenders on their heels. The Cowboys could help their offense a ton by adding a speedy, receiving back at some point in the 2018 draft. Alfred Morris and Rod Smith have been capable power backs but a change of pace back is much needed in Dallas.