Even with a bitter taste in their mouths following a Week 12 letdown, the Dallas Cowboys have no choice but to look towards their next game set for Thanksgiving.
Not even 96 hours following the demoralizing loss at New England, the Cowboys will be suiting up for their second straight game against a team from the AFC East division with their tenuous lead on the NFC East perhaps hanging in the balance.
Games against the AFC East haven’t been kind to Dallas in recent years. This season, the Cowboys are 1-2 against the other conference and are looking to even the record at 2-2.
Dallas is hoping to avoid the dubious distinction of having every team in their AFC counterpoint division beat them except for the lowly Miami Dolphins, a fate they suffered four seasons ago.
A Thanksgiving Day victory will require something we haven’t seen out of the Cowboys so far this season to avoid a similar fate.
Indeed, Dallas will need to beat an opponent with a winning record for the first time since November 29, 2018 when they topped a then 10-1 New Orleans Saints team.
The Buffalo Bills come to Dallas with a record of 8-3 and are in the driver’s seat for an AFC Wild Card playoff spot.
Should they pull it off, the Cowboys will also be spoiling the homecoming of Cole Beasley, who left Dallas for Buffalo in the offseason. In response, Dallas signed former Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb to fill their slot receiver needs.
So the question now is, have the Cowboys been lacking with Beasley or has Cobb gotten the job done? They won’t actually face each other on the field, but it’s a matchup that could define the game on Thursday and will certainly be one Cowboys fans will be keeping an eye on.
Beasley was huge for the Dallas Cowboys in terms of being an extra option in Tony Romo’s waning years and then a security blanket target for Dak Prescott in Dak’s first few seasons. In addition, Beasley made his bread and butter as an excellent threat on 3rd down.
Beasley was as consistent as you could ask for, and a great find as an un-drafted free agent signing in 2012 out of SMU. With all of the extensions the Cowboys are getting done recently, Beasley was the odd man out over the offseason.
Now with the majority of the season in the books, it’s safe to ask whether or not the Cowboys have missed him this year. The short answer is maybe.
While Beasley has been targeted more, with a slightly higher catch rate, Cobb has been the more productive player for their respective teams with his big play potential.
The only issue with Cobb has been the drops but what he brings is the ability to make plays in the open field. In addition, Cobb is a bit more of a physical threat than Beasley, so he’s a threat from different spots on the field.
On paper, coming into the season, moving from Beasley to Cobb looked like a slam dunk when looking at their career stats.
That isn’t to take anything away from Beasley. The master of the sauce was a big part of the offense in Dallas during his years with the Cowboys, and his uncanny knack for being right beyond the yardage needed to move the chains was almost supernatural.
However, for what they needed in 2019 and beyond, Cobb just brings a new downfield dynamic to the Dallas offense.
While the Cowboys did lose a productive player in Beasley, the former Packer Cobb has proven to be a worthy addition. His ability to play all over the field in terms of where he lines up gives offensive coordinator Kellen Moore more options for how he can attack opposing defenses.
Even though Cobb and Beasley have performed similar roles with different styles and outcomes, it’s now up to the Cowboys to prove their decision right and find a way to contain the hometown kid for the first time. Their best bet may be with cornerback Jourdan Lewis shadowing him in the slot.
Finding a way to keep Beasley from extending drives with first down receptions could be the best avenue for the Cowboys to get their first victory on the season against a team with a winning record and perhaps break the hex that the AFC East seems to have on Dallas.
Do you think the Cowboys are missing anything with Cole Beasley in Buffalo or should they be happy with what Randall Cobb has given them thus far? Share your thoughts on the slots with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.
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