MIAMI — With emotion running high after completely shutting out the Rams and improving their record to 4-1, Dallas Cowboys defensive star Micah Parsons emphatically outlined three words:
“We are for real!”
Yes they are Micah, yes they are.
And they are, particularly because the defense has the potential to be historically good.
So much so, that these Cowboys became the first defense in franchise history to allow five or fewer touchdowns in the first five weeks of action. They are also the first defense in the Cowboys’ 50-year rich history to limit their first five opponents to fewer than 20 points.
Micah Parsons has received comparisons to Lawrence Taylor, and while I think it’s still premature to compare him to one of the best players in history, there’s no denying that we’re talking about a different talent and one of the best three defensive players in the present.
His athleticism and versatility are virtually impossible to replicate. Parsons, on one leg, had two of the five sacks the Cowboys had against the Rams, becoming the first player in history to record 19 sacks in his first 21 games.
And the most incredible thing is that Parsons is not alone. The defensive line, in general, is absolutely dominant.
Consider that DeMarcus Lawrence, who at the time signed a five-year, $105 million deal, has become a distant memory. However, Lawrence is still an impact player; he already has three sacks this season, and he returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams.
What a way to start the game! Scoop & score for @TankLawrence!!!#ItsMillerTime | #DALvsLAR | @MillerLite pic.twitter.com/XoDV3TGzj6
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 9, 2022
Don’t forget Dorance Armstrong either. Many of us criticized the Cowboys for letting Randy Gregory walk, but obviously Dallas had plenty of reasons. Armstrong had a sack, a forced fumble and a blocked punt against the Rams, and he continues to shine quietly.
In high school, cornerback Trevon Diggs is in the spotlight. And his all-or-nothing style, which has seen him total 13 interceptions in two seasons but also get burned at times, is ideal for such an aggressive defensive front.
All led by one man, who is sure to be in high demand this offseason to be a head coach again: Dan Quinn.
It seems like forever ago that Quinn inherited a historically bad defense, but it was only in 2021.
Last year they led the NFL in forced turnovers and touchdowns scored, and this year they are one of the top two, if not the best, defense in the league.
It’s a Super Bowl-caliber defense, and now it remains to be seen whether the offense can keep up as the season progresses.
Speaking of the Cowboys’ offense, please stop talking about a potential quarterback controversy, because there simply isn’t one.
Give Cooper Rush a lot of credit, because he has limited mistakes and done his bit to help Dallas improve to 4-1.
On the surface, what Rush did is historic, given that he is just the 14th quarterback in history to win his first five starts, and the first to do so in Cowboys history.
But if they think the Cowboys are a title contender with Rush behind center, they’re letting their emotions get the better of them.
Like I said before, Rush has limited mistakes, but in the postseason against high-octane offenses, that just won’t cut it. Rush threw for 102 yards against Los Angeles, and in his five starts he has completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,100 yards, with six touchdowns and just one interception.
When Dak Prescott was injured, most of us feared the worst for Dallas, and Rush rose to the occasion as a replacement.
And as is often the case when you lose such an important player, the rest of the team grows up around him, and that’s exactly what happened in Dallas.
The simple way to explain why there is no quarterback controversy in Dallas is that Prescott makes $40 million a season.
But no matter what anyone thinks of Prescott, whether he deserves that kind of money or not, the reality is that there is no question that Prescott’s ceiling is much higher than Rush’s.
The good news for the Cowboys is that this good passage by Rush buys time for Prescott, who now does not have to rush his return after suffering that thumb injury. Until he has 100 percent ball grip and comfort, he shouldn’t come back; his position is not going to lose him regardless of whether he wins or loses when he returns.
I understand that every Cowboys fan would like to put their best team possible next Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles; Philadelphia is undefeated and it’s a crucial matchup in the division. However, Dallas is to think about bigger things, and we are only in the sixth week.
Running back Tony Pollard brings the explosiveness this team desperately needed. Wide receiver Michael Gallup is back and will get more comfortable with each passing week. CeeDee Lamb has the potential to be a star receiver when he has a quarterback who can attack more vertically. And tight end Dalton Schultz has dealt with several injuries, most recently to his knee, but aspires to be healthy when it matters most.
The only thing keeping me from listing the Cowboys as a candidate right now is the uncertainty surrounding their offense and Mike McCarthy’s leadership from the sidelines.
Both are important questions, but in the meantime that phenomenal defense will keep the ship afloat.
And even more important is the fact that those are questions that need to be answered in January and not in October.
But make no mistake, the Cowboys are for real, and they should definitely be a rival to watch out for.
In honor of a Dallas fan who hasn’t had much joy recently, we take a look at THE BEST MOMENTS IN THE RICH HISTORY OF COWBOYS.
*Local teams are in second place
As I always say, it’s never good to play every game. In other words, there are some that are better to pass up. That’s why I decided to add this section, to publicize my six favorite betting line teams. Opinions are welcome, since the idea is to add an attribute that is beneficial to readers. The order of the teams is not random and the predictions do not affect the total statistics.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
GREEN BAY PACKERS
LOS ANGELES RAMS
NEW YORK GIANTS
SUICIDE POOL, ‘ELIMINATOR CHALLENGE’
There are many of us who are in this type of competition. In this case the bet line does not matter. Just don’t repeat any team throughout each week. Of course, these forecasts will not affect the total statistics either. In parentheses, the teams chosen so far.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
FIXED WITH BET LINE
At the request of many, we added the fixed with bet line starting in Week 11 of 2013.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
I’ve always said that I’m not a fan of teasers, since they come from the word tempt and are called “sucker bets”, but, at the request of several readers, we added this section. Here, as there are three teams, the line is modified by 6 points, but you must hit all three to collect. Below, I name the three teams with the altered lines in parentheses.
NEW YORK GIANTS (+11 and a half)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+8 and a half)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (+9 and a half)
At the request of several of our readers, we include a game of ups and downs for each week.
GIANTS-RAVENS HIGH (42 and a half)
COWBOYS-EAGLES OUT (44 and a half)
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (+7 and a half)
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (+7 and a half)
Total statistics (With+Without+Teaser+Ups and Downs+NCAA):
With Bet Line:
No Bet Line:
Surprise of the Week (no line):
Fix of the Week (no line):
Fixed of the Week (with line):
Power 6 (with line):
Ups and downs:
Suicide Pool (no line):
2-3 (DEN, LAR, KAN, DET, BUF)
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Guru of the Diagonals: The Dallas Cowboys are for real