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Mailbag: Changes needed to beat top teams?


There were almost no flaws in last Sunday's win over the Rams, but now here come the Eagles. To defeat the top teams, is the run game the only glaring flaw? What needs to change in order for this team to really contend?Thomas Narro/Arlington, MA

Nick Eatman: They have to be a little more balanced, one would think. Seven games is not a small sample size but there's still 10 more to go. What we haven't seen so far is a game in which the Cowboys have the ball in the fourth quarter and need to run the ball to run out the clock. When that happens, it's probably going to be tough. This offense hasn't run the ball well when the option is 50-50. When defenses know they want to run, it's going to be tougher. So that has to change for the Cowboys to grind out some wins here later in the season. It's hard to argue with a lot of things on the defense but we've already seen a team rip off 222 rushing yards in a game so we know it's something that could come to bite them again. Running the ball and stopping the run. Always a must.

Patrik: This is going to sound weird to some, but there are times to establish the run and there are times to establish the pass first to then set up the run. The latter is a more viable plan against an Eagles' defensive front that is flat-out monstrous, while their secondary has given up plenty of big plays this season. My plan would be to attack the secondary outright, not unlike what was done against the Rams. And while the Cowboys were nearly flawless against LA in Week 8, they deleted a KaVontae Turpin return for a TD with a penalty and I aim at that to say the following: do not commit unnecessary penalties against the Eagles, in Philadelphia, no less, or they'll make you pay; and that includes pre-snap penalties such as lining up offsides. The rushing attack will eventually reach its top form, I do beiieve, but there's no point in rushing it, especially if the passing attack can remain dominant. In the end, all told, it'll come down to execution for the Cowboys — the biggest thing that keeps them from being viewed as the best in the NFC.

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