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Big Picture: 10 Storylines for Cowboys & Dolphins


The Cowboys have clinched a playoff spot and technically have a first-place lead in the NFC East, but all three games from here on out are needed to secure a home game. We know the Cowboys are 7-0 at AT&T Stadium but just 3-4 on the road. It doesn't help that Miami is also 10-4 this year, and 6-1 at home, looking to help their playoff seeding.

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


  • The Dolphins are coming off a 30-0 home win over the Jets this past Sunday, bouncing back from their only home loss of the season – a stunning Monday night loss to the Titans after leading by 14 in the final three minutes. But Miami got back on track against the Jets, the second of three straight home games, which ends against Dallas on Sunday. The Dolphins are 6-1 at home this season.
  • The Dolphins played the last game without superstar receiver Tyreek Hill, who was a game-time scratch from the lineup with an ankle injury. Miami head coach Mike McDaniel said because Hill was able to workout before the game, that suggests he was close to playing then, meaning he's likely on track to play this week. Hill is first in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,542, along with a league-leading 12 TD catches.
  • Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is one of three active quarterbacks with a rating over 100. His 104.0 rating is second in the league, behind only Brock Purdy (106.0) and ahead of Dak Prescott (103.8). He leads the NFL in completion percentage (71.0) and passing yards (3,921).
  • Speed is a huge part of the Dolphins' offense, especially at receiver with Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But the running back spot is arguably the fastest group in the league as well, led by Raheem Mostert and rookie De'Von Achane. Mostert just set the Dolphins' single-season record for rushing TDs with 18 and Achane is back from a four-game stint on IR but has displayed plenty of playmaking ability, averaging 8.5 yards per carry.
  • The Dolphins rank fifth overall in total defense but it appears to be a magic number of 20 points allowed that makes the difference in wins and losses. Miami is 8-0 when giving up 20 points or loss. In the six games in which they've seen opponents score over 20, the Dolphins are just 2-4. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are averaging 30.8 points a game. The only team in the NFL scoring more … the Dolphins at 31.5.


  • The best part of the NFL weekend for the Cowboys did not occur on Sunday, when they officially clinched a playoff spot but then were embarrassed by the Bills 31-10 in Buffalo. But rather what happened on Monday in Seattle, where the Seahawks managed to rally and beat the Eagles, dropping Philly to its third-straight loss and back into a first-place tie for the NFC East lead. The Cowboys and Eagles will be in a dead-heat for the division title if they both win out, probably going to the fifth tiebreaker, which will be strength of schedule.
  • Dak Prescott was one of the favorites to win NFL MVP heading into Buffalo, but after a struggling performance on offense, his chances have dipped quite a bit. The entire team struggled, but Dak finished with 134 passing yards with no touchdowns and one interception (57.7 rating). It was the first time since Week 1 (also played in the rain at NY Giants) that Dak didn't throw for a touchdown pass. He still ranks second in the NFL with 28.
  • The offensive line took a big hit on Sunday when Zack Martin left the game with a quad bruise. As of Tuesday, the Cowboys are still unsure how Martin will heal during the week of practice. Owner/GM Jerry Jones said he is hopeful that Martin not only will heal in time to play this week, but also has enough strength in the leg. The Cowboys usually hold out veteran players with injuries on Wednesday with the hope they can return by Thursday. Mike McCarthy should address the situation in his Wednesday press conference.
  • One of the big issues in Sunday's loss to the Bills was the absent run defense, which allowed Buffalo to rush for a season-high 266 yards. It's the third time the Cowboys have allowed a team to go over 170 rushing yards and they are 0-3 in those games. Losing Johnathan Hankins to an ankle injury doesn't help the situation. He could miss another game this week but the Cowboys weren't expecting him to miss more than three or he would've been moved to IR.
  • CeeDee Lamb continues to put up amazing numbers and he's nearing the franchise single-season record for receptions. With 103, he's got the fourth-most catches in a year, only behind his 107 last year, and 110 by Jason Witten and 111 from Michael Irvin. Needing just nine to break the record, it's possible this week considering Lamb has five games this season with at least 11 receptions.

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