Local News

Thad’s Three Things: Bills v Cowboys

todayDecember 16, 2023 14

Background
share close

Three thoughts for what could be an epic showdown Sunday in Orchard Park…

Hole In The Star

The Dallas offense is bananas. The Cowboys are averaging (for emphasis… pronounced ah-vah-ridge-ing) 300 pass yards per game since week six. They are top three in the NFL for ten different statistical categories. They are the best in the league at avoiding turnovers, first downs, passing touchdowns, scores per drive, touchdowns per pass, third down conversions and no team has punted less all season.

The one big head scratcher of a non-strength is in the red zone. The Cowboys are only 15th in red zone efficiency. Efficiency tends to matter less when your offense reaches the red zone laughably easily (Dallas has 57 red zone possessions this year. Six more than any other team). However, that can be a problem in the unpredictable world of Any Given Sunday.

Red zone failures were a big reason why the Cowboys got picked off by Arizona back in week three. Dallas had four second half possessions that gained 272 yards and all moved inside the Cardinals’ ten yard line. They totaled six points.

The Bills love to play bend, don’t break. This defense has been bending like a willow tree since injuries erased three of its best players. They’ll still have a good shot against the Cowboys if they can force 3’s instead of 6’s.

Dance With Dak

The Bills have to get pressure on Dak Prescott. Dallas has one elite receiver in CeeDee Lamb, but a host of respectable and sometimes dangerous weapons beyond that. Brandin Cooks was pretty recently a number one wideout. Jake Ferguson has all the tools to be a top tight end. Running backs Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle must both be accounted for out of the backfield.

Dallas does seem to go as their pass protection goes. In the three Cowboys losses, they’ve allowed 11 sacks or nearly four per game. In the ten wins, Prescott has only gone down 19 times or less then two per game. Nine of those 19 sacks in victories came against the Chargers and Seattle, the only two games Dallas has won by less than 20 points.

Sacks aren’t the only weapon the Buffalo D-Line has used to create wins. Just last week, they closed out the Chiefs with a variety of game-changing non-sacks late. Dorian Williams got a piece of Patrick Mahomes’ arm as he threw to a wide open receiver for what would have been a 30-yard completion on the second to last KC possession. After the now legendary Kadarius Toney offside, the Bills stopped the next three plays on a Von Miller QB hit, an Ed Oliver pass deflection and a Leonard Floyd just-barely-soon-enough pressure.

One way or another, the Bills must make Prescott uncomfortable. Especially with Micah Hyde out on top of the long term absences of Tre White and Matt Milano, the Bills can’t depend on the secondary to slow the Cowboys down.

Beat Your Man

The Cowboys play man coverage on 40 percent of passes. That’s the highest rate in the NFL. Old friend of the Bills Stephon Gilmore is having another solid year. The other guy is Daron Bland, only the the first player in NFL history to record five pick-sixes in a season.

Man coverage has been bad news for Bills receivers not named Stefon Diggs. The rest of the pass catchers haven’t shown the physical skills to win often in man on man situations. A big part of the reason Buffalo’s offense sagged in the second half was Kansas City’s success winning 1-on-1 situations all over the secondary.

The bright side is most man coverage situations force the DB to turn his back on the pocket. There’s two reasons why that’s good for Josh Allen. First, he’s very comfortable throwing the ball “through” a defensive back who might be in good coverage positioned between Allen and his receiver. Since Allen’s receiver can have eyes on the ball and adjust while the DB can’t, all the pass really must do is miss the defender to be complete.

Second, man coverage often opens up scramble opportunities since defenders aren’t usually watching the pocket. That information could prove quite valuable in 3… 2… 1…

Betting Things

Mahomes barely thought about rushing the ball last week. Give the Bills defensive line credit for disciplined rush lanes, but it cost me a unit with Mahomes not even sniffing his 5.5 rush attempts line. I’m down to 8-5, but still ahead 4.6 units for the year.

I also said Allen rush yards was a good bet last week (and was also wrong about it), but I’m going back to the well this week. Allen’s line is 33.5 rush yards, but I’m going to reach bigger and take Allen to hit 40 yards on the ground because the FanDuel odds there are a relatively generous +130. The Bills QB has reached that mark in three of his last six games.

I considered hitting the Allen rush attempts over because he’s ran the ball ten and nine times the last two weeks. However, none of the major books even have an Allen attempts line on the board. Even Vegas is nervous doubting Allen’s apparent rushing freedom over Joe Brady.

Fair warning: Dallas has only allowed 40 rushing yards to quarterback once since week 3 (Tommy Cutlets hit 41). The context here is that the Cowboys haven’t faced a ton of scrambling QBs this season and Jalen Hurts still go to the 30’s for both of the Dallas matchups with Philly.

The Pick

The Bills have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. And they should. Regardless the fortunate circumstances late, that’s a damn good win at Arrowhead last week before even including the part about how much a loss could have doomed their playoff chances. The offense is still mostly humming, despite a not so productive second half. There’s healthy reason to be optimistic.

The Cowboys might be on a different level. The pile of talent was remarkable watching back the Dallas game against the Eagles last week. It seemed there were multiple star players around or holding the ball on every snap. To that point, you’ve completed nearly an entire preview article on a game involving the Cowboys and have yet to read the name “Micah Parsons” until just now.

FYI… Parsons is good at the football with 12.5 sacks. Dallas can also throw DeMarcus Lawrence and Dante Fowler at pass protection schemes just for fun. In addition, you will be likely to hear the name of third year defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa called a few times. He’s second on the Cowboys with nine tackles for a loss and has three sacks. You might even hear it pronounced correctly (It’s actually fun to say: OH-diggy-zoo-ah).

The weather could very well be a factor. Rain is nearly 70 percent probable throughout the game window, but wind could be the real issue. Sustained winds of nearly 20 miles per hour with gusts close to the 30 are in the forecast. The prediction is the heavy breeze dies down during the first quarter, but it won’t take much of a change to make wind a factor all afternoon.

I actually think that slightly favors the Bills. Dallas has the better passing attack and the wind might nullify that advantage. While the Cowboys offensive line is still good, it’s not the overwhelming group it has been. I think the two Buffalo lines can match up quite nicely if this game has to be played more so on the ground.

The Cowboys, Eagles and Niners all seem a step above the morass of Super Bowl potentials in the AFC. It took a ridiculous Josh Allen game just to get Buffalo into overtime against the Eagles. I think it will take something similarly herculean this week for the Bills to knock off Dallas.

Yes, I know the Cowboys are 3-3 on the road, but I’m less enamored with theories of Dallas road troubles when examining the three losses. The first against Arizona came with Dallas missing three starting offensive linemen. The other two were against the aforementioned elite teams in Philly and San Fran.

If you want to doubt the Cowboys, your case is the overall Dallas schedule. It curiously lacks much of a test outside three games against the Eagles and Niners. None of the other ten opponents for the Cowboys currently have a winning record. Only the Seahawks and Rams are even 6-7. It’s possible Dallas is simply the product of a fortunate schedule.,

The whipping of Philly last week certainly is the where the pro-Cowboys response begins and Dallas hasn’t shown any cracks in the armor against the NFL’s lower class since that Arizona game in week three. This is also one of the few elite passing games the Bills will face all year. The only thing close the injury depleted Buffalo defense has seen is the Joe Burrow led Bengals who nearly rolled up 350 yards through the air.

Allen has it in his bag to play one of those incredible games and beat anyone. Expecting that to happen or predicting it is probably unreasonable. So, I’m just going to pick Dallas to be the better team they appear on paper. Give me the Cowboys 30-24.

​ Three thoughts for what could be an epic showdown Sunday in Orchard Park…

Hole In The Star

The Dallas offense is bananas. The Cowboys are averaging (for emphasis… pronounced ah-vah-ridge-ing) 300 pass yards per game since week six. They are top three in the NFL for ten different statistical categories. They are the best in the league at avoiding turnovers, first downs, passing touchdowns, scores per drive, touchdowns per pass, third down conversions and no team has punted less all season.

The one big head scratcher of a non-strength is in the red zone. The Cowboys are only 15th in red zone efficiency. Efficiency tends to matter less when your offense reaches the red zone laughably easily (Dallas has 57 red zone possessions this year. Six more than any other team). However, that can be a problem in the unpredictable world of Any Given Sunday.

Red zone failures were a big reason why the Cowboys got picked off by Arizona back in week three. Dallas had four second half possessions that gained 272 yards and all moved inside the Cardinals’ ten yard line. They totaled six points.

The Bills love to play bend, don’t break. This defense has been bending like a willow tree since injuries erased three of its best players. They’ll still have a good shot against the Cowboys if they can force 3’s instead of 6’s.

Dance With Dak

The Bills have to get pressure on Dak Prescott. Dallas has one elite receiver in CeeDee Lamb, but a host of respectable and sometimes dangerous weapons beyond that. Brandin Cooks was pretty recently a number one wideout. Jake Ferguson has all the tools to be a top tight end. Running backs Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle must both be accounted for out of the backfield.

Dallas does seem to go as their pass protection goes. In the three Cowboys losses, they’ve allowed 11 sacks or nearly four per game. In the ten wins, Prescott has only gone down 19 times or less then two per game. Nine of those 19 sacks in victories came against the Chargers and Seattle, the only two games Dallas has won by less than 20 points.

Sacks aren’t the only weapon the Buffalo D-Line has used to create wins. Just last week, they closed out the Chiefs with a variety of game-changing non-sacks late. Dorian Williams got a piece of Patrick Mahomes’ arm as he threw to a wide open receiver for what would have been a 30-yard completion on the second to last KC possession. After the now legendary Kadarius Toney offside, the Bills stopped the next three plays on a Von Miller QB hit, an Ed Oliver pass deflection and a Leonard Floyd just-barely-soon-enough pressure.

One way or another, the Bills must make Prescott uncomfortable. Especially with Micah Hyde out on top of the long term absences of Tre White and Matt Milano, the Bills can’t depend on the secondary to slow the Cowboys down.

Beat Your Man

The Cowboys play man coverage on 40 percent of passes. That’s the highest rate in the NFL. Old friend of the Bills Stephon Gilmore is having another solid year. The other guy is Daron Bland, only the the first player in NFL history to record five pick-sixes in a season.

Man coverage has been bad news for Bills receivers not named Stefon Diggs. The rest of the pass catchers haven’t shown the physical skills to win often in man on man situations. A big part of the reason Buffalo’s offense sagged in the second half was Kansas City’s success winning 1-on-1 situations all over the secondary.

The bright side is most man coverage situations force the DB to turn his back on the pocket. There’s two reasons why that’s good for Josh Allen. First, he’s very comfortable throwing the ball “through” a defensive back who might be in good coverage positioned between Allen and his receiver. Since Allen’s receiver can have eyes on the ball and adjust while the DB can’t, all the pass really must do is miss the defender to be complete.

Second, man coverage often opens up scramble opportunities since defenders aren’t usually watching the pocket. That information could prove quite valuable in 3… 2… 1…

Betting Things

Mahomes barely thought about rushing the ball last week. Give the Bills defensive line credit for disciplined rush lanes, but it cost me a unit with Mahomes not even sniffing his 5.5 rush attempts line. I’m down to 8-5, but still ahead 4.6 units for the year.

I also said Allen rush yards was a good bet last week (and was also wrong about it), but I’m going back to the well this week. Allen’s line is 33.5 rush yards, but I’m going to reach bigger and take Allen to hit 40 yards on the ground because the FanDuel odds there are a relatively generous +130. The Bills QB has reached that mark in three of his last six games.

I considered hitting the Allen rush attempts over because he’s ran the ball ten and nine times the last two weeks. However, none of the major books even have an Allen attempts line on the board. Even Vegas is nervous doubting Allen’s apparent rushing freedom over Joe Brady.

Fair warning: Dallas has only allowed 40 rushing yards to quarterback once since week 3 (Tommy Cutlets hit 41). The context here is that the Cowboys haven’t faced a ton of scrambling QBs this season and Jalen Hurts still go to the 30’s for both of the Dallas matchups with Philly.

The Pick

The Bills have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. And they should. Regardless the fortunate circumstances late, that’s a damn good win at Arrowhead last week before even including the part about how much a loss could have doomed their playoff chances. The offense is still mostly humming, despite a not so productive second half. There’s healthy reason to be optimistic.

The Cowboys might be on a different level. The pile of talent was remarkable watching back the Dallas game against the Eagles last week. It seemed there were multiple star players around or holding the ball on every snap. To that point, you’ve completed nearly an entire preview article on a game involving the Cowboys and have yet to read the name “Micah Parsons” until just now.

FYI… Parsons is good at the football with 12.5 sacks. Dallas can also throw DeMarcus Lawrence and Dante Fowler at pass protection schemes just for fun. In addition, you will be likely to hear the name of third year defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa called a few times. He’s second on the Cowboys with nine tackles for a loss and has three sacks. You might even hear it pronounced correctly (It’s actually fun to say: OH-diggy-zoo-ah).

The weather could very well be a factor. Rain is nearly 70 percent probable throughout the game window, but wind could be the real issue. Sustained winds of nearly 20 miles per hour with gusts close to the 30 are in the forecast. The prediction is the heavy breeze dies down during the first quarter, but it won’t take much of a change to make wind a factor all afternoon.

I actually think that slightly favors the Bills. Dallas has the better passing attack and the wind might nullify that advantage. While the Cowboys offensive line is still good, it’s not the overwhelming group it has been. I think the two Buffalo lines can match up quite nicely if this game has to be played more so on the ground.

The Cowboys, Eagles and Niners all seem a step above the morass of Super Bowl potentials in the AFC. It took a ridiculous Josh Allen game just to get Buffalo into overtime against the Eagles. I think it will take something similarly herculean this week for the Bills to knock off Dallas.

Yes, I know the Cowboys are 3-3 on the road, but I’m less enamored with theories of Dallas road troubles when examining the three losses. The first against Arizona came with Dallas missing three starting offensive linemen. The other two were against the aforementioned elite teams in Philly and San Fran.

If you want to doubt the Cowboys, your case is the overall Dallas schedule. It curiously lacks much of a test outside three games against the Eagles and Niners. None of the other ten opponents for the Cowboys currently have a winning record. Only the Seahawks and Rams are even 6-7. It’s possible Dallas is simply the product of a fortunate schedule.,

The whipping of Philly last week certainly is the where the pro-Cowboys response begins and Dallas hasn’t shown any cracks in the armor against the NFL’s lower class since that Arizona game in week three. This is also one of the few elite passing games the Bills will face all year. The only thing close the injury depleted Buffalo defense has seen is the Joe Burrow led Bengals who nearly rolled up 350 yards through the air.

Allen has it in his bag to play one of those incredible games and beat anyone. Expecting that to happen or predicting it is probably unreasonable. So, I’m just going to pick Dallas to be the better team they appear on paper. Give me the Cowboys 30-24. Read More Buffalo BillsRochesterFirst  

Written by:

Rate it

Previous post

Local News

East boys basketball wins emotional game over Edison Tech

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The East High boys basketball team won an emotional game on Friday night, defeating Edison Tech 63-62. Both teams honored Kenny Jackson, who died earlier this week of a heart attack at the age of 43. Kenny "Action" Jackson won two sectional titles in 1998 and 1999 for Edison Tech as one of the top basketball players in the area. Jackson's son Zymier is a standout on the East High basketball team and is committed to […]

todayDecember 16, 2023 15


Similar posts

Local News

Roundball Roundup: Sectional Final Friday

Boys Basketball Class AAA Championship (4) UPrep 83, (3) Franklin 65 The Griffins stormed past the Bulldogs with 33 points in the third quarter to earn their first sectional title since 2020. Franklin got off to a 21-12 start before UPrep's Jermelle Cotton hit one of his four first-half three-pointers […]

todayMarch 2, 2024 2

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Generated by Feedzy
0%