The Dallas Cowboys are struggling and things won’t get any easier on Sunday when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville’s strength is their defense and Dallas’ weakness is their offense. That doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys. So how can Dallas pull off the upset and even their record at 3-3. Here are my five keys to victory.
1. Run the ball.
Jacksonville is number one in the NFL at defending the pass. Dallas is one of the worst teams at moving the ball through the air. Dallas has to be able to run the ball when Jacksonville knows it’s coming. If the offensive line can’t dominate and open up holes for Zeke to have a big day, Dallas will have little chance of winning.
2. Make a couple of big passing plays.
Dallas will struggle to pass the ball, but they must make at least two big plays through the air. It might be as simple as a screen to Zeke. It might be a blown coverage by the Jaguars. However it comes Dallas needs at least two plays of 25 yards in the passing game.
3. Take some risks.
Jason Garrett was called out by fans and media for punting on fourth and one in overtime last week. Garrett is an extremely risk adverse head coach, but he can’t be that this week. Dallas must go for it on fourth and short. They need to run a fake punt or fake field goal. Try a surprise onside kick. Plays like that can not only swing momentum, it also fires up your team and shows them you believe in them.
4. Make bad Blake Bortles show up
Blake Bortles is tough to figure out. He has great games like the one against New England, but then he has horrendous games like the one last week against Kansas City. Dallas needs bad Bortles to show up and getting pressure on him and making him uncomfortable is the best way to do that.
5. Score points on Defense
The Cowboys’ defense has played well this season. The one area they haven’t been great at is forcing turnovers. On Sunday Dallas’ defense will not only need to force turnovers, but they also need to score touchdowns off the turnovers. They need a pick six or a scoop and score off a fumble. Scoring a defensive touchdown is a lot to ask, but with the offense likely to struggle the only way Dallas can win is to score in other ways. It won’t be easy for Dallas on Sunday but if they do these five things they will have a chance to pull the upset.