With last Sunday’s ugly performance in the rearview mirror, the Cowboys put themselves in as close to a must-win game as possible. Yes, a week two must-win game. Since 2007 83 teams have started 0-2 with only 9 of those teams making the playoffs. So while it is not impossible it is extremely difficult to climb out of that hole.
The Cowboys found themselves trying to climb out of holes they put themselves in all afternoon vs the Panthers. The offense was constantly in 2nd and 3rd and long situations, something that can’t happen for a second consecutive week. Especially going up against a better secondary in the Giants. Safety Landon Collins has already made it clear what their intentions are after watching the film from week 1.
“We really just have to focus on stopping Zeke. We need to make sure we’re playing our gap assignments and make sure we [take] the air out of their running game,” Collins said. “Put the ball into Dak’s hands and I think we have a better shot at winning.”
If there is one player that is facing the most pressure this Sunday it is the quarterback Collins speaks of, Dak Prescott. It’s easy to write off week 1 as one game of struggles, but when you roll it into last season it’s actually about 7 games of struggle. Sunday marked the 7th time in the last 9 games Prescott hasn’t reached 200 yards passing. Something that is hard to do in today’s passing league. Couple that with 5 of the last 9 contests the Prescott led offenses has failed to score 10 points. That folks cannot happen if you want to win in this league.
To make matters worse, on Sunday the Panthers completely ignored the passing threat by loading the box 54% of the time. League average is less than 40% which makes what the Panthers defense did downright disrespectful.
Getting teams to back off is something offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Dak Prescott have to figure out. Linehan is under fire as well after last weeks debacle on offense, for some of the same reasons Prescott is. The fact that this isn’t a one-game mirage but an 8 or 9 game stretch is a serious cause for concern.
The Giants are coming off a 20-15 defeat against the Jaguars so they will be coming in just as hungry and with an urgency to not start off the dreaded 0-2. With the big stage set for Sunday Night Football, there is no better time for the Cowboys to get out of this offensive funk. If they cannot there will be even more questions and concerns moving forward, specifically about the guy throwing the ball and the coach calling the plays.