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Gut Feeling: Predictions For Cowboys-Jaguars


Home has been much better to the Cowboys (2-3) than the road.

Jason Garrett's team dropped its third straight road game last Sunday in Houston, but so far the Cowboys are 2-0 at AT&T Stadium – and they're hoping to keep that momentum this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) and their top-ranked defense.

The staff gives their 'gut feeling' for the Week 6 matchup:

Rob Phillips: These teams mirror each other in a lot of ways. Jacksonville has a great defense that bordered on all-time a year ago. The Cowboys have been outstanding, too, allowing the fifth-fewest points per game after five weeks (19.2). The key is which offense makes the fewest mistakes and the most plays downfield. Can the Cowboys win on single coverage against Jacksonville's elite secondary? Can Dak Prescott get enough clean pockets and make enough big throws? For whatever reason, the Dallas offense has had a better rhythm at home and that's the difference for me. I've got the Cowboys in yet another low-scoring, grind-it-out game.

David Helman: It would be just like a Jason Garrett team to find a way to win this game. Like I said a few weeks ago, it's not often you see the Jason Garrett Cowboys fall more than one game below .500. Having said that, it's not often you run up against a defense with this much talent. If the Cowboys can't move the ball against the Seahawks and Panthers, ranked No. 12 and No. 20 in overall defense, then how are they going to do against the best defense in football? I trust the Dallas defense to hold its own against the iffy Jacksonville offense, but I am just not confident the Cowboys can find a way to score enough points. Brett Maher is going to come in handy, kicking three field goals on the day, but I think the Jaguars will make the crucial play. I'm thinking Blake Bortles finds Dede Westbrook for the game-winning touchdown in the dying minutes. Jaguars sneak out with a win – something like 20-16.

Nick Eatman: I say this every week, but I literally went back and forth about three times. I see Jacksonville's defense being so problematic that the entire four quarters will be such a grind. Then again, I feel like this league is so weird that it usually bounces back the other way, especially when it seems like all hope is gone. We've had that feeling around here, despite losing in overtime in a close game. Something tells me the Cowboys' offense looks a little better than we're all expecting. Something tells me the defense will make a few plays on Jacksonville and I think there will be a big special teams moment for the Cowboys. How is this is going to work is by the deep ball. The Cowboys are going to have to take shots deep, with the hope of making some plays and drawing some flags. That will also push them back a little to run Zeke. But no more hoping for the deep ball, it's a must this week. I think the Cowboys will get to 20 points but that's it. Still, the turnovers will matter and the Cowboys get to 3-3 with a 20-16 win.

Bryan Broaddus: I really do worry about the Cowboys' ability to move the ball offensively. I don't see the Jaguars allowing them to run the ball, so that puts the pressure on the offense to have to throw. The Jaguars are outstanding when they force their opponents to be one-dimensional throwing the ball. They can just rush four and get guys home, which allows them to play coverage in the secondary. If the Cowboys are going to win this game they have to get their passing game going, but I just don't see that happening. The Jaguars choke the run and will make the Cowboys have to consistently complete passes, which I don't believe will happen. Jacksonville's defense is just too good, and it's the biggest reason they'll win, 20-6.

Lindsay Draper: Not sure if this Cowboys team can overcome the strength of the Jacksonville defense. The Cowboys have a slew of stout pieces: Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Zack Martin, Jaylon Smith... but can they play in sync well enough for a win? The Jaguars have scouted, drafted and meticulously crafted their defense from the front lines, through the linebackers and into the secondary. They are talented in every facet; the league's leading defense. Although the Dallas and Jacksonville offenses are similar in both struggles and production, I believe the Jags' defense creates more turnovers, and that will be the difference Sunday.

Mickey Spagnola: You know, learned a while back from Norv Turner when he was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator that when you are facing a team like Jacksonville, one that everyone believes is superior to you, that there are ways to win games like this. Look, everyone knows Jacksonville's backbone is defense, ranked No. 1 in the NFL in total defense and passing defense. But when I started snooping around, here is what I found. The Jaguars have 11 sacks. Eighteen teams have more, including the Cowboys with 15. They have five takeaways, one more than the Cowboys' measly four, and when it comes to turnover differential, they rank 31st, at minus-7 while the Cowboys are minus-2. And they did give up 30 points to Kansas City, and have been hit for an average of 22.5 points in their two road games. So, there it is Cowboys, don't turn the ball over, get a takeaway or two, score your home average of 23 points and win by three.