Analyzing Tendencies: Attacking the Cowboys

In this segment, we'll look at how the Jaguars' 25th ranked offense will go about attacking the Cowboys' 10th ranked defense. That initial stat would lead one to believe that the Jaguars are the outmatched team on that side of the ball, but the Monday night performance by the Dallas defense against Eli Manning and the Giants would beg to differ.

According to Football Outsiders, the Cowboys have the 28th ranked defense which sheds a little light as to why the team that has given up the 10th fewest yards per game in the league is giving up the 6th most points per game.

As a pass defense, the Cowboys rank out pretty poorly at 28th in the league on Football Outsiders and around average in rush defense at 17th. David Garrard's effectiveness post-concussion could be and probably will be key to a victory in Dallas.

What the stats also tell us is that the Jaguars will need strong play out of their wide receivers. Dallas ranks 27th at stopping #1 receivers, 27th at stopping #2 receivers and 24th at stopping all other receivers. A more wide open gameplan with intermediate routes from Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas and Tiquan Underwood would appear to be the best way to attack the defense. Kassim Osgood could see some action at receiver as he may be an effective target against the Dallas secondary.

Where the excel in pass defense is stopping tight ends and running backs, ranking in the top 10 in both. In fact, no team is better at stopping running backs from making plays outside the backfield. After 6 games, running backs are averaging 14.9 yards a game on 4.5 receptions.

Similar to the Jaguars, the Cowboys pass defensing woes can be traced to the secondary. The pass rush ranks among the league average at 13 sacks through 6 games. Demarcus Ware will be the obvious threat among the Cowboys' pass rushers as he has already accumulated 8.0 sacks in 2010 through 6 games, a total that has him pacing to take the sack title for the season. Eugene Monroe's success against the All-Pro will be vital if the Jaguars wish to pass downfield.

As a run defense, the Cowboys rank nearly identical to the defense of the Jaguars. While it is the strength of their defense, the rush defense ranks at 19th in the league and is by no means a top notch unit. The strongest part of their defense line is again Demarcus Ware, as the Cowboys rank 11th in the league on runs behind the left tackle. Runs between the guards and off the right side all rank in the bottom half of the league. As such, teams have avoided going at Ware, running the ball at him only 9% of the time, while the other side of the line sees runs 3 times as many at 27%.

It would appear that Dirk Koetter needs to put together a gameplan as though he's facing a clone of the Jaguars defense. The only significant difference is that the Cowboys have a player in Demarcus Ware that is a better version of Aaron Kampman and can cause more havoc for the Jaguars offense. Stay tuned for what the Jaguars need to do to slow the Dallas offense on Sunday.

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