The Dallas Cowboys have quickly proven that they have one of the best offenses in the NFL through the first three weeks of the 2021 season. With Dak Prescott back under center and a talented, deep group of skill players, the NFC East club is well positioned to keep pace in any shoot-out this year.
Through three games, the Cowboys rank fifth in yards per game (416.7) and tied for fifth in points scored per contest (30.0). Most impressively, those numbers have come against some tough opponents like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Former Dallas quarterback and current FOX Sports analyst Troy Aikman has seen what his old team has done to start the 2021 campaign and has been impressed. He issued a warning for any team that has to take on the Cowboys later this year.
“If you’re an inferior team- and I think a lot of teams who are going to come and play Dallas are going to be inferior to them, then the best way in order to get into the fourth quarter with a chance to win, which is all you’re hoping for, you want to minimize the offensive snaps,” Aikman said on WTCK The Ticket, via CowboysWire. “The more snaps they have, the better chance they have of blowing you out and scoring points. To do that, you have to shorten the game. You try to shorten the game by controlling the clock on your side of the ball, but also not giving up big plays.”
“So I would play coverage. I would try to keep them from making big plays in the passing game and then make them just commit through the game of running the ball. Can you stop them? You get them to third down and you make a play, a dropped pass, a DB makes a play, then they’re punting. That’s the way that I would do it. I would not come up and try to stop the run and be over-committed to that and Ezekiel Elliott and [Tony] Pollard- and I like what he’s done too- and then allow CeeDee Lamb and the rest of them to run through your secondary. I think that’s a recipe for getting blown out.”
Aikman had plenty of experience in a high-octane himself when he was under center for the Cowboys. He has a unique understanding of what it takes to shut down a high-powered attack like the current team in Dallas, but recognizes that it's easier said than done.
The Carolina Panthers will be the next team to take on the Cowboys and might be the toughest test yet for Dallas. The NFC South club currently leads the NFL in rush defense, giving up just 2.6 yards per carry, and ranks second in total points allowed (30). However, two of the Panthers three opponents were the Jets and the Texans, and they haven't seen an offense of Dallas's caliber yet this year.
Time will tell if they're up for the task of defending the Cowboys later this weekend.