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5 Cardinals-Cowboys questions with Blogging the Boys: Elite defense, what needs to improve on offense, Mike McCarthy’s seat and more

We discuss the Dallas Cowboys before their matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

New York Jets v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals are likely walking into a buzzsaw this week in the form of the Dallas Cowboys.

We talked with Dave Halprin of Blogging the Boys to talk us about what is going on with the Cowboys and if he sees this team competing.

Editor’s Note: This was written before the news of the Trevon Diggs injury.

1. 2-0 and really not contested in either game. Probably not this game either. Are you enjoying the opening act or are you looking forward to seeing the Cowboys up against contenders?

It’s a little bit of both. Winning big never gets old in the NFL so I would like this to continue as long as possible, even if the competition is somewhat sub-par. We wait so long for football to come back around, so enjoying games like the first two from the Cowboys is very satisfying. And obviously we want it to continue this week against Arizona. But yes, at some point, you really want to meet up with the big boys and see how you are as a contender for the playoffs/Super Bowl. Everyone has the game against the 49ers in Week 5 on their minds, but if you start paying too much attention to things like that, you lose a game you should win. So for now, we’re just going to keep enjoying what we’re seeing. and hoping we see it again this week.

2. The defense looks… Elite. Again, not the best competition, but 10 points in two games in the NFL is insanely impressive. Outside of the names we know, who has stood out that Cardinal fans should know?

Okay, so I’ll skip Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs, and I’m sure most fans have some familiarity with DeMarcus Lawrence. So let’s start with defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, who has taken his game to another level this year, He already has three sacks on the season and he is creating pressure up the middle. He is a quick player, but he is also playing the run well. He’s turning into a complete three-down defensive tackle. The Cowboys brought in corner Stephon Gilmore in the offseason and he’s been huge playing opposite Trevon Diggs. He allows the Cowboys to play a pressing man scheme in the secondary, with safeties Jayron Kerase and Malik Hooker helping to shut down opposing passing games. Markquese Bell is a second-year UDFA who played safety until just before the season started when he was switched to a linebacker because of injuries. He’s leading the Cowboys in combined and solo tackles. And this doesn’t even touch on the wave of pass rushers like Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams and Dante Fowler the Cowboys have behind Parsons and Lawrence.

3. The offense has just needed to not screw it up through two weeks, and they’ve done that an more. What is one thing you’d like to see more of from the offense though?

I’ll give you two things. The Cowboys running game hasn’t exactly been efficient. The Cowboys use it a lot because they get ahead in games, so the volume stats are there, but in terms of efficiency that has lagged. Dallas has been missing starting left guard Tyler Smith, so that may have had an impact, but he might play this week. Tony Pollard is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry, well below his usual average in previous years. So an efficient running game is one thing that they could improve on. Another is in the redzone, they are converting TDs at 50% on the year and were only at 33% last game. They are moving the ball, and they are hitting their field goals, but converting TDs in the redzone is not where it needs to be at this point.

4. There was a lot of off-season chatter on Mike McCarthy, what is the expectation and if he doesn’t reach it could this be the end?

It always feels like that chatter is coming from the outside. McCarthy has led the team to back-to-back 12-5 seasons, and last year they made the Divisional Round after a Wild Card Round win. The 49ers have been their roadblock the last two playoff seasons. I’m not sure there’s an exact line McCarthy has to make this year, but it really does not feel like he’s on the hotseat like those around the NFL would have you believe. Of course, if things start going south, anything could happen. But it feels like he is on pretty steady ground.

5. DraftKings Sportsbook has the over/under at 43.5 as of Wednesday. Im setting the Cowboys over/under at 37.5, are they hitting it and in turn will the Cardinals help get to the over 43.5?

37.5 is a big number. The Cowboys average 35 points per game so far this year, and it feels like a lot of things have gone their way in those two games. I don’t think the Cowboys will hit that number because McCarthy has shown this year that once the team is in firm control of a game, he will start calling a conservative game. Some of that may play into those redzone problems mentioned above.He’d rather take care of the ball and not make the big mistakes that can get another team back into a game. So I’m taking the under 37.5 points for Dallas. As for the Cardinals, I’m guessing they score somewhere in the range of 10-13 points.