Start or Sit (NFC Home Games)
Covering the impact of coronavirus on the sports world
The Dallas Cowboys, after a tough opening-night loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have ripped off four consecutive victories to get to 4-1 and take a firm hold of the NFC East after five weeks.
They’ve done so with an explosive offense led by Dak Prescott that we expected to see before the season. It’s dynamic, includes a lot of big plays, and they can run the ball with Ezekiel Elliott. But it’s the defense that’s the biggest story and the reason there are real Super Bowl hopes.
New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has taken a unit that was bad last season and has them taking the ball away and improving week by week. Even without top pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, who is out with a broken foot, the Cowboys continue to be an opportunistic defense. They have 10 interceptions, six by Defensive Player of the Year front-runner Trevon Diggs, after having 10 all of last season.
The Cowboys have a plus-7 in the takeaway/giveaway category, second best in the league, after being minus-3 last season. That shows how their new-look defense is impacting this team. The defense is also almost six points per game better than a year ago.
Craving even more NFL coverage focusing on previews, recaps, news and analysis? Listen below and follow the Pick Six podcast for a daily dose of everything you need to follow pro football.
That’s not to say they are flawless. They still have issues, such as having only nine sacks for the season and ranking 25th in the league in yards allowed. But they are making progress, which is why they are up to No. 7 in the Power Rankings this week.
The defense doesn’t have to be dominant, not with the offense leading the league in yards and and scoring. With Prescott playing at an MVP level, the Cowboys are tough to stop. So the defensive progress really does make them a contender.
When they get healthy on that side of the ball, look out. Quinn is a good coordinator who has this group of younger players growing each and every week. The Cowboys are legit again, and it’s the defense that has them in the position of leading the NFC East and being a real Super Bowl threat.
© 2004-2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc.
Images by Getty Images and US Presswire