Dallas Cowboys 4 keys to victory against Jacksonville

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Jacksonville to begin the stretch run of the season. Three out of the next four games are on the road, with the December 14th rematch game against Philadelphia at home.

The Dallas Cowboys will have a much harder quarter of games during this the stretch run of the season than anyone thought.

Last Sunday’s game against the Texans, the Cowboys were hit with a series of injuries. The biggest injury being the season ending injury to RT Terence Steele.

The once raw undrafted free agent offensive lineman had become an elite run blocker for the Dallas Cowboys this season. Replacing him last week, was no small task. Dallas attempted to fill his void by rotating Josh Ball and Jason Peters on the right side, but it appears this week they have other plans.

The bad news didn’t stop there because nose tackle Johnathan Hankins will miss the rest of the regular season after suffering a pectoral strain. Carlos Watkins filled in during Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans. He stood out in the goal line stand that prevented Houston from going up by 10.

Mike McCarthy understands what the month of December means. The Dallas Cowboys have won nine in a row in December and are 9-1 in the month since McCarthy was hired in 2020. It is tied with Kansas City for the most December victories in the NFL.

Let’s spotlight the keys to victory…

1. Right Tackle

Terence Steele is no longer the raw rookie of 2020. He has worked transforming himself into a very dependable player at right tackle this year. An elite run blocker with jolting power.

No one is talking about Dallas walking away from La’el Collins anymore. Losing Steele for the rest of the year is an immense blow to the offensive line.

Luckily, Dallas has options. We don’t know who will lead the right side? Jason Peters would be the ideal choice.

Sunday, Dallas rotated Jason Peters and Josh Ball at the right tackle spot against the Texans, with Peters looking better overall than Ball. Ball had two bad snaps, and they were all in pass protection.

Ball wasn’t terrible by any means. His run blocking was further along than his pass blocking. Does that remind you of anyone?

"“We rotated five different combinations” on the O-line in practice Thursday, and that’s how we will get through the game.” – Head Coach Mike McCarthy"

There are whispers Dallas may insert Tyron Smith at RT. Smith has not played RT since his rookie year. He will provide some stability.

You start your best five, but continuity matters, too.

I will not question Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin. They have been doing this for a while.

The Cowboys need to solidify the spot next to Martin. Not just for this game, but the rest of the season.

light. Related Story. Cowboys to employ problematic strategy on their O-line

2. Pass Rush

The Cowboys vaunted pass rush has been missing. After posting a season high, seven sacks against the Vikings. Dallas has only generated six sacks in the last three games. They had none against the Texans. One of the worse teams in the NFL when protecting their QB.

If the Cowboys want to make a deep playoff run, they must storm the castles again. Last Sunday, they underperformed. Registering no sacks.

This is not me pushing the panic button yet. Because credit must be given to the Packers, Giants, Colts and Texans. They all deployed a quick passing game to counter the Cowboys’ dangerous pass rush, but even the pressures have dropped over the last few weeks.

Dan Quinn will be in the lab working on ways to correct this. I believe Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence will get home and cause chaos for Trevor Lawrence.

3. Passing offense

It is inexcusable that CeeDee Lamb had only 7 targets, resulting in 5 catches against the Texans. Kellen Moore provided no answers for Dak Prescott and the passing offense against Houston.

We’ve seen the inconsistency from this offensive unit before. Poor route concepts continue to plague the advancement of the passing offense. The route designs lack apparent purpose too often.

Passing routes that should influence DBs to vacate the areas you want to attack, instead become convoluted. Resulting in poor spacing. The opposing secondary are rarely influenced.

Kellen Moore has been labeled a genius by people. I am not one of those people. This is supposed to be his area of expertise. Well, he needs to get it fixed now. We are starting to see the same offensive struggles as years past.

4. Mistakes

Dallas needs to clean up the self-inflicted wounds. Too many mistakes. Turnovers by the offense and the special teams.

The scare against Houston could be a wake-up call. Mike McCarthy knows what needs to be done. He’s been done this road before with Green Bay.

If the Cowboys don’t correct their mistakes, they will have troubles again on Sunday. The goals they have set for themselves will not be achieved. Instead, it will be another early exit from the playoffs.

Related Story. How the Cowboys adapted to adversity this season. light

Next. Dan Quinn has two big problems to solve. dark

Give me Dallas 24-20