Dallas defense turning Cowboys into championship contenders

The Dallas Cowboys finally appear to have combined a potent offense led by Dak Prescott with an all-action defense, making them legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Video Transcript

VOCH LOMBARDI: What's up, y'all? It's Voch Lombardi. Watch every second of the NFL season when and where you want it, only on "The Zone."


It is time to talk about my beloved Dallas Cowboys. Now, I'm going to try my best to not be as biased. I'm not going to be 100% biased, but I'm not going to be as biased. So let's talk about it.

The one thing that my Dallas Cowboys have been lacking over the past few years is this perfect marriage of peanut butter and jelly, right? So once upon a time, the Cowboys had an elite, top-tier defense. But they couldn't get things going on offense.

And then in the past couple of years in the Dak Prescott administration, he's been top five quarterback on all important metrics. He's led this offense that has been number one in yards and points-- efficiency, all those good numbers, right?

But we never had this elite defense to kind of pair along with it. Even if you look in the first half of this season, the Dallas Cowboys' defense has been elite. And they are still number one in most pass rush numbers, right? But Cooper Rush was your quarterback.

And contrary to what the national media may say, look, you've got Voch Lombardi was here to just correct all the madness. If you was watching this show, Voch Lombardi never led into the idea that Cooper Rush was going to be some type of savior for you, right?

I knew that when Dak Prescott came back that this soup, this dish, this combination of things was all going to come together and be something beautiful, right? That's what makes this whole Cowboy thing scary. And I'm not going to be the obnoxious Cowboy fan because I need to keep this thing as professional as I could possibly make it.

But there is this scary combination of, you take this elite cowboy defense, and you just give us some type of offense, right? The offense that looks similarly to what the Cowboys have been doing for the past couple of years, then you have some danger. And why is that dangerous?

Well, because Cowboys fans are obnoxious. Trust me. I'm one. I know. I deal with them all the time, right? So what's so interesting about this thing is that there's also been this-- and I wouldn't call this a narrative because this is real thing, but Cowboys' run defense isn't the best.

Most of the Cowboys' positive defense numbers come from their pass rush numbers. You know, and you can look at guys like Micah Parsons who has 10 sacks, Dorance Armstrong with seven, DeMarcus Lawrence with six, right? Even the fourth pass rusher, Dante Fowler, has five sacks. They just picked him up in the offseason, right?

This idea that, OK, well, it's impossible to pass the ball versus the Dallas Cowboys. But you can run the football. And you'll see teams, even if they're down by 14 points, they're down by 21 points, they'll still run the football because passing is the other option.

And Trey Diggs is over there catching interceptions. Micah Parsons is over there getting sacks. That's not good for your health. So now there's this idea that, well, if the Dallas Cowboys can stop their run woes, they can be one of the best teams in the National Football League. Insert Dak Prescott, right?

The one thing that you can do to help your defenses run woes is to score points. And we saw that. Oh, we saw that versus y'all's beloved Minnesota Vikings. Why do I say beloved? Because all last week when the Vikings, when they beat the Bills, everybody crowned the Vikings as this legit team.

And I do think that the Vikings are a legit team. But somehow, when the Cowboys beat them, the national narrative becomes, oh, the Vikings weren't for real in the first place. Cool. We're not here to talk about that.

When we're watching Dallas Cowboys versus Vikings, and the Cowboys are damn near scoring 14 points per quarter-- this actually happened-- we get to halftime, and the score is-- what, this is like 23 to 3 at this point. So yeah, if you're the Minnesota Vikings, you should probably try to run the football to get back in this game.

But the Cowboys get the ball at the half. And if this offense remains to be this efficient, then they score at the half. And they do. Now you're in this hole of 30 to 3. So if you're the Minnesota Vikings, and any other team would also do this-- if you're in that type of hole versus the Dallas Cowboys when that offense is humming, what happens? When you can't run the football anymore, you're forced to pass for an entire half of football.

And what does that mean? Trey Diggs, just over there shutting down Justin Jefferson, the best wide receiver in the league. He only got, what, three catches for 33 yards, nothing else. TJ Hockenson, getting shut down by Jayron Kearse.

And then what do you got to do? You got to continue to pass the football. And what happens when you continue to pass the football versus the best rushing team in football?

You get seven sacks on Kirk Cousins. So now this is my thing. The Cowboys are third place in the NFC because they got three losses. The Vikings got two loss. The Philadelphia Eagles got one.

So now the Cowboys are kind of in a situation where they need a little bit of help. And they could be playing for the number one overall, the number one by week in the playoffs, right? So now we're in a situation where, if the Eagles lose one more game-- and the Cowboys already have the tiebreaker versus the Vikings, right, common opponents, we've played you, things like that.

If the Cowboys simply win out, the Cowboys go from this team to where we don't know if you can make the playoffs or not to they get a first round bye in the playoffs. And we always say this, though-- well, you know, yeah, Dak is doing this, Dak is passing the football, but what really makes a championship team is if you can run the ball and play defense. Tony Pollard might be the as running back in the league, but we'll talk about that next week.