A new slate of NFL games is right around the corner as the Dallas Cowboys return from their bye in Week 8. America's Team currently owns the NFC East's second-place spot, meaning a strong effort is needed for the remainder of the campaign if the Cowboys hope to win the division.
DraftKings Sportsbook's futures odds emphasize Dallas' need for a strong finish to the year. Mike McCarthy's team currently sits at +165 odds to win the NFC East, putting them well behind the first-place Eagles (-200).
In other words, the Cowboys can't afford a slow start when they face the LA Rams on Sunday. Any underperformers must put their woes in the rearview to do their part when it comes to creating a winning environment.
1. Brandin Cooks
Cowboys fans were thrilled when the team acquired stud wideout Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans back in March.
After all, Cooks has been one of the most consistent receivers over the last decade. He's racked up six 1,000-yard campaigns since the 2015 NFL season and earned a reputation for being able to carve out a role no matter where he found himself.
Unfortunately, Cooks has failed to meet expectations more often than not this season.
The veteran pass-catcher has been invisible in the passing game, hauling in 13 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in five games. His catcher rate (56.5%) is significantly below his career average (65.1%) and the fact that he ranks ninth on the team with 4.7 yards per target shows that he isn't even being looked at for big plays.
If Cooks wants to prove that he has something left in the tank, now's the time to do it. The Rams' defense has been reliable for the most part this season, however, they are allowing the ninth-most passing yards league-wide over their last three games.
If he comes up with another dud, it's going to be hard to believe that he can turn things around.