Skip to main content

Big Picture

Presented by

Big Picture: 10 Storylines for Cowboys & Cardinals


The Cowboys have had two dominating performances against the Giants and Jets, but now look to become 3-0 for the first time since 2019.

They'll face a Cardinals team that is 0-2 but has lost a pair of second-half leads, including one last Sunday to the Giants, who had to rally from a 20-0 deficit.

Here are the 10 big storylines for the week, with five for the Cardinals and five for the Cowboys.


  • The Cardinals seemed poised to bounce back after a Week 1 loss, cruising out to a huge lead over the Giants. But in the second half Sunday, the Cardinals blew a 21-point lead and eventually lost to the Giants, 31-28. New York erased a 28-7 deficit in the third quarter and rallied for the win on the road, thanks to a 34-yard field goal by Graham Gano with 19 seconds to play. The Cardinals are looking to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2018, when they finished 3-13.
  • So far, the first two games for the Cardinals have been a tale of two halves. They led Washington 13-10, only to lose 20-16. Against the Giants, they were up 20-0, only to see the Giants rally for the win. In the second half, the Cardinals have been outscored a combined 41-11.
  • With Kyler Murray still on Reserve/PUP, he will miss at least two more games after suffering a torn ACL at the end of last season. The Cardinals have gone with Joshua Dobbs as their starting quarterback so far this year. Dobbs has an 89.5 QB rating this year, with 360 passing yards, 1 TD and no interceptions. In his career, which includes two starts with the Titans, Dobbs is 0-4.
  • The Cardinals received another big blow regarding injuries when Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker was placed on injured reserve this week with a hamstring injury. Baker was inactive for the Week 2 game against the Giants. Head coach Jonathan Gannon said "he'll miss some time, but he'll back." Being on IR means Baker will be out at least four games.
  • The Cowboys saw plenty of Zach Ertz when the veteran tight end was in Philadelphia for many years. But now with the Cardinals, he's been the most consistent target for Dobbs this year, catching 12 passes – with six receptions in each of the first two games.


  • Injuries continue to be the big storyline for the Cowboys, entering this game with the Cardinals. While being without three starters on Sunday, it appears the trio of Tyler Smith, Brandin Cooks and Donovan Wilson all have a great chance of returning to the field. Smith (hamstring) and Wilson (calf) have yet to play in the games this year and have been listed as "doubtful" for each of the first two games. Cooks was questionable with a knee injury and it was decided before game-time that he would sit. Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones said he's optimistic about all three making it back for the Cardinals game.
  • After leading the NFL in interceptions last year, despite missing four games with a broken thumb, Dak Prescott is taking care of the football better in 2023. The offense alone has put up 27 and 30 points, respectively in the last two games but have not turned the ball over with an interception or a fumble. With Mike McCarthy calling the plays this year, the ball is coming out quicker, plus the Cowboys have been a little more conservative down in the red zone, leaning heavily on the defense.
  • That defense, anchored by Micah Parsons, who has three sacks in two games, has allowed just 10 points so far this season. This weekend, 29 of the other 31 teams allowed more points in one game than the Cowboys have all season long. The 10 points allowed in the first two games of the season is the fewest in Cowboys history, surpassing the 13 points allowed in 1974 and 1976.
  • So far, the experiment with rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey is working out. Signed from the USFL with no college experience, Aubrey has 7-for-7 on field goals with just one missed extra point on his resume. Aubrey became the fourth rookie kicker in Cowboys history to make five field goals in a game last Sunday.
  • If there were any doubts that Tony Pollard could handle a heavy workload as the lead back, he at least answered that, with a career-high 32 touches, including 25 carries. The Cowboys weren't overly creative in the second half, nursing a big lead, so Pollard got many of his carries up the middle against the stout Jets defense, which attributed to his 2.9 yard average. Pollard is tied for 10th in the NFL with 142 rushing yards.

Related Content