Dallas Cowboys: Four keys to victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars will square off in a massive Week Six battle. Who comes out on top? Let’s take a look at four key factors.

The Dallas Cowboys will walk into Sunday’s contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 2-3 record. Interesting enough, all of those losses have happened away AT&T Stadium. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are 3-2 and looking to take the lead in the AFC South. This should be an interesting matchup between two franchises looking to land a big win in Week Six.

With that said, let’s take a look at three key factors in this contest.

An interesting thing to note, the Dallas Cowboys are tied for fifth in sacks in the NFL with 15 on the season. The Jaguars are a few spots below with 11, so that goes to show you, depending on the matchup the Cowboys pass rush could be more effective than Jacksonville’s.

Pressure in this game will be very important as both quarterbacks can struggle if the pass rush gets home. Realistically this also will come down to offensive line play and the Jaguars are just awful at that.

They are fairly great at everything else, even running the ball without Leonard Fournette, however, their line is the Achilles heel of the franchise. The Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, have had pretty steady offensive line play throughout the season especially when running the football.

On paper, it appears that Dallas will be better equipped to handle pressure which will be key on Sunday.

Efficiency in the red zone
The Dallas Cowboys are at the very bottom of NFL rankings when it comes to third down percentage, which should have their coaches sitting in pretty warm water. The team has only converted 17 third downs all season while Jacksonville ranks in the top five with 32.

Weirdly enough, Dallas is a more successful red zone team in terms of scoring percentage as they currently have a 41.67% chance of success while the Jaguars have 38.46% chance. The Dallas Cowboys simply have to execute their offense efficiently and effectively.

If they get the ball near the goal line they have to score. Blake Bortles throws more interception on average than Dak Prescott so scoring off of any takeaways is a must. The Cowboys will need to rise to the occasion and play a bit better than their opponents on Sunday.

Creating rushing lanes for Ezekiel Elliott:
The Dallas Cowboys are currently running the football more efficiently than the Jaguars as they struggle to really dominate on the ground with TJ Yeldon as the starter. Leonard Fournette has missed most of the season with nagging injuries and this has had a negative impact on the Jaguars.

Currently, the Jaguars are only averaging 111 yards per game which is good enough for 15th in the NFL. The Cowboys, on the other hand, are averaging 135.8 rushing yards per game which is good for fifth in the NFL. The Cowboys offensive line has to keep creating holes for Elliott as he has been the most dangerous runner in the NFL.

If Dallas can win in the trenches, then the time of possession should be in their favor. Winning the time of possession battle will be the first factor in winning this football game. It would also help if the Cowboys trusted this ground game and Zeke in short yardage and goal line situations, for some reason it feels like field goals will not cut it.

Dak Prescott VS Blake Bortles
Let’s compare the numbers…

Dak Prescott: 61.8 completition percentage, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 3.5 touchdown percentage, 81.4 average quarterback rating, 40.7 QBR, 2.8 interception average, sacked 16 times, and 961 passing yards.

Blake Bortles: 61.6 competition percentage, 8 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 3.8 touchdown percentage, 3.3 interception average, 82.4 average quarterback rating, 53.1 QBR, sacked 11 times, 1525 passing yards.

Very similar performances from both men with Bortles just edging out Prescott in how awful things have been, Dak is far less of a liability on the field but throws shorter throws and accumulates less yardage.

Bortles constantly has to throw it, as they are without Fournette and are fairly bad a run/pass blocking. Dak constantly has no one to throw it too and the Cowboys strength is easily running the football. This matchup is going to come down to which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes in this ball game which seemingly favors Dak at this point.

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Overall this should be a close game with a lot of hard hits and frustrated offenses. This seems like a game Dallas would win by a late field goal/touchdown.

  • Published on 10/14/2018 at 12:00 PM
  • Last updated at 10/15/2018 at 06:03 AM