Cowboys at Jets: The 5 categories in which Dallas just can't lose
FRISCO - There are many, many things the New York Jets cannot do. Five things, however, that the Jets cannot do jump out to me as areas of vulnerability waiting to be attacked on Sunday by the visiting Dallas Cowboys. Those five things ... and what they mean to Dallas:
1) The Jets can't get to the QB; Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves to blitz but winless New York is bottom-three in sack rate.
How this translates to Dallas: I believe Tyron Smith (ankle) will play on Sunday. I believe, despite La'el Collins (knee) playing coy with the media on Friday, he will not. That puts Cam Fleming at right tackle, and while it's all imperfect ... the Jets don't seem capable of taking advantages of the imperfections.
2) The Jets are OK against the run - but C.J. Mosley is out and game script means that in their last two games opposing teams average 27 rushes per game.
How this translates to Dallas: Give Ezekiel Elliott 27 carries and you'll like the results.
3) The Jets can't cover Amari Cooper. He's putting on a route-running clinic even while hurt ... on pace for a wondrous season total of 103 catches, 1,639 yards an 16 TDs. Meanwhile, teams complete 72 percent of their passes against Jets corners.
How this translates to Dallas: Cooper hasn't been healthy during the week all year; see my one-on-one Video Visit with him here:
And yet ... on Sunday, he is magically healthy enough to look like an All-Pro. Fellow receiver Randall Cobb is battling through a back bad, but plans on playing Sunday.
4) Sam Darnold is back ... but he doesn't get protected. The Jets' offensive line that has allowed league-highs in tackle-for-loss rate, QB Hit Rate (30.1 percent) and sacks (23) ... Including 10 last week against Philly. Keep in mind, the Eagles had three sacks in their first four games -- and got 10 here!
How this translates to Dallas: DeMarcus Lawrence is playing hurt and is due for a sack breakout.
Yes, yes, Tank had plenty to say about the injury part. To wit: “Who cares? You care? Be honest. Do you really care? Nobody cares. Nobody cares about your feelings. Nobody cares if you’re hurt. Nobody cares if you’re broke, rich. Nobody cares. Be you. Go to work.”
OK. Anyway ... Between him and Robert Quinn on the other end, the Jets are ripe for the picking here.
5) Stop Le’Veon Bell and .. Well, you oughta win. The Dallas defense has in five games permitted 431 rushing yards (4.59 per carry) and the league’s fifth-most receiving yards to enemy backs (56.4 per game). But ... maybe some of that is situational; I still think Aaron Jones did his damage for Green Bay last week because of Dallas' concerns over the other Aaron.
How this translates to Dallas: The point is: Of all the things the Jets will try to do, the least surprising should be feeding Bell. Le’Veon is on pace for career-highs in targets (128) and catches (108). ... and the Cowboys, if they can't see this coming, are blind. (Or sick with the vertigo, as it Leighton Vander Esch this week.)
“They always talk about play with speed and violence under an 'umbrella of discipline,' said linebacker Sean Lee. "I don’t think we were under that umbrella at all last week. We have to get back to that and build off it.”
Stay "under the umbrella'' ... and stay out of the "trap.''