The Dallas Cowboys defense is gaining momentum at the right time

: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Winning their second consecutive road game with one more left to play on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys are finding ways to beat feisty and inferior teams on the road. The win over their NFC East rival, the Washington Football Team, was just as impressive as the victory over the New Orleans Saints down in the thunderous Super Dome.

Because the Cowboys were favored in both games, beating the Saints and WFT in hostile environments was expected to some degree. But it has been the Dallas Cowboys defense that is gaining momentum at the right time to help this team win the NFC East crown and make a deep run in the playoffs.

The Dallas Cowboys defense has picked up the slack and have the momentum to take this team far into the playoffs.

If someone had told you a month ago the Dallas Cowboys defense would be the catalyst to a two-game winning streak and would carrying the offense in December, we would have called them crazy.

But that is the reality in Week 15 as Dallas’ defense has forced 27 takeaways and have eight turnovers in the last two games. For the first time in this proud franchise’s 60-year, plus history, they have never had two defensive linemen return a fumble and interception for touchdowns in two consecutive games. Wow!

Parsons means so much more to this team than winning DROY/DPOY (Defensive Rookie of the Year/Defensive Player of the Year) awards. In some ways, Parsons is the linchpin to this defense being successful.

Dallas’ defense is playing at such an elite level in all phases that it can finally contest against the best signal callers in the NFC and their high-octane offenses. Meaning they are prepared for the likes of Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay Packers, (the Grinch), Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Arizona Cardinals with Kyler Murray. Dallas’ defense will test their mettle against the dynamic Murray and his arsenal of weapons in Week 17.

The game against the Cardinals is significant because of seeding implications. Dallas will be fighting for a higher seed and beating the Cardinals will give them the tie breaker over them if they end the season with identical records. However, let us get back to Dallas’ stifling defense.

The most exciting part about Dallas’ defense are their ferocious pass rushers-DeMarcus Lawrence,  Randy Gregory, and rookie sensation Micah Parsons. This trio of “War Daddies” has  combined for a total of nineteen sacks, and Parsons has a sack in six straight games (9.5 sacks). Further, the “War Daddies” are not only sacking quarterbacks but are forcing strip fumbles and catching tip balls for interceptions while sacking the quarterback (Gregory’s well-timed interception against WFT is a fitting example).

Dallas’ ability to sack, pressure, hit, and force a turnover on a quarterback consistently is the recipe for championship football-especially if they are only rushing four. This benefits the secondary tremendously because now the defensive backs can anticipate jumping routes, look for deflections and most importantly, not allow the secondary to get beat for long touchdowns or get flagged for undisciplined pass interference calls-Anthony Brown comes to mind.

Another gem for Dallas’ defense is how the secondary has 20 interceptions with Trevon Diggs leading the way with nine. Combine the pass rush with an opportunistic secondary, opposing offensive coordinators will have too many issues to handle when facing this defense. And that’s because of this one particular player…

Parsons is the linchpin to this defense

Parsons to Dallas’ defense is what Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb are to Dak Prescott and his aerial attack. In other words, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn must continue to make Parsons a difficult mismatch for offenses because that will allow the entire Dallas defense to flourish.

Think about it: how can offenses stop three pass rushers all at once? Allocating an extra man to stop Parsons. Someone has to account for the ultra-talented Parsons!

Parsons means so much more to this team than just winning DROY/DPOY (Defensive Rookie of the Year/Defensive Player of the Year) awards. In some ways, Parsons is the linchpin to this defense being successful. Remember, Parsons has been balling out all season with D-Law and Gregory missing games because of injuries. Parsons has held it down for the defense in their absences-making big play after big play.

Dallas’ defense peaking while its high scoring offense struggles is a miracle in itself because it is normally the opposite.  The defense has bailed them out over the last two games. Parsons has had two, game-changing sacks against the Saints and WFT that won Dallas the game.

That sack fumble on WFT’s quarterback was scooped up for a touchdown by Dorance Armstrong, Jr. came in handy because of Dak’s untimely interception late in the fourth quarter.

Without the defense playing lights out, this team would be on a downward spiral.

With four pivotal games left to play and three of those against divisional rivals, Dallas’ defense is really peaking because of the return of D-Law, Gregory, and Neville Gallimore coming off of IR. Those three bolstered an already legitimate defense that lived off of turnovers and the explosion play of Parsons.

On the flip side, the critics will point out that Dallas beat an offensive challenged Saints team and that WFT were without several starters due to Covid-19 protocols and injuries. But isn’t WFT the same team that rode a four-game winning streak against Dallas? The same team that beat the Bucs? Sorry, Dallas has played without its starters and kept winning. No excuses.

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But for the first time all season, Dallas’ defense is at full strength and their impact is making a stark difference. Dallas’ offense will eventually return to its high scoring ways to match its dynamic defense because the playoffs are looming.

And that is why the Dallas Cowboys defense is gaining momentum at the right time. BOOM!