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    Chiefs game a measuring stick? Tyron Smith’s prognosis? A 40-team NFL?


    As satisfying as the 43-3 demolition of Atlanta was, the Cowboys are quickly turning the page to Kansas City. The team is firmly entrenched in it’s-just-another-game-mode, but what would a win over Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead do to the national perception of this Cowboys roster? That’s one of the intriguing storylines developing, as well as whether Tyron Smith will play- in either of the Cowboys’ two games next week- and how Dak Prescott plays as he picks up steam in the league MVP race. (He’s already up for an award for last week’s performance.)

    Elsewhere in Cowboys Nation, we’re looking at the dollars and cents behind the club’s dead-money issue, picking the 30 best players on the current roster, and checking out a climb in the latest ESPN power rankings. There’s also a peek at the one game on the schedule that could have the biggest impact on the season. We’ve got a new angle (and audio) of CeeDee Lamb’s friendly-fire hit on his own quarterback, a look at what John Fassel has brought to the special teams unit, and a revelation of just how much getting the game ball meant to Dan Quinn. And could the NFL soon have… 40 teams??? That’s all ahead in News and Notes.

    Cowboys roundtable: A win over Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs would make Dallas the NFC favorite :: Dallas Morning News

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    A win at Arrowhead wouldn’t change how the Cowboys see themselves, Michael Gehlken argues. But his fellow writers David Moore and Calvin Watkins point out that knocking off Patrick Mahomes in his own house would install the Cowboys as a serious Super Bowl contender in the eyes of many nationally.

    If Dallas Cowboys’ Tyron Smith doesn’t return Sunday, do you play him on Thanksgiving? :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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    The team’s string of three tough games in a 12-day span will force several interesting roster decisions, especially regarding those players trying to return from injury. “This is a stretch that you’ve got to be very conscientious of how guys are going into this game and just do the math,” head coach Mike McCarthy said, noting the short turnaround between Sunday’s Chiefs game and the Thanksgiving matchup with the Raiders. “This will be the game that is probably under the most scrutiny on if a guy plays or doesn’t play.”

    Dan Quinn ‘taken aback’ by Cowboys’ game ball after Falcons win, already looking ahead to Chiefs :: Cowboys Wire

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    The defensive coordinator doesn’t believe in looking back, so a rematch against the Falcons club he coached as recently as last season was a bigger deal to everyone else than it was to him. But after his new Cowboys unit pitched a near-shutout and he was awarded the game ball in a raucous locker room surrounded by his new football family, Quinn admitted, “I probably didn’t know I needed that, but to be honest with you, I probably did.”

    Fassel turning around more than opposing punts :: The Mothership

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    “We’re not out there trying to manufacture or force big plays,” said the second-year special teams coordinator. And yet, it’s been nearly 30 years since a Cowboys crew has blocked as many punts in a whole season as this year’s squad has in nine games. “His enthusiasm is contagious, which is a big thing around special teams,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “And he’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. I’ve also never seen a special teams coach that didn’t want to put his fingerprint more on the outcome of the game.”

    Next-level passing, Quinn’s motivation among things learned in Cowboys Week 10 win :: Cowboys Wire

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    Week 9 was just a bad day, not the start of a prolonged slump. The offense is just different with wide receiver Michael Gallup back in it. And the Cowboys defense will go to the wall for their defensive coordinator. Those are awfully big lessons to take heading into the toughest part of the regular-season schedule.

    Dak Prescott up for FedEx Air Player of the Week honors :: NFL (Twitter)

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is the midway MVP :: The Landry Hat

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    Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady could all make a case. Heck, so could Cooper Kupp. But just past the halfway mark in the 2021 season, the Cowboys signal-caller looks to have an edge on each one of those players for the league MVP award.

    Top 30 Cowboys players rankings for Week 11 proves depth perception is no mirage :: Cowboys Wire

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    With a higher number of Cowboys not only playing but making significant on-the-field contributions, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the top performers. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch kicks off the countdown at No. 30, hinting at the caliber of players up and down this roster. Four defenders have even cracked the top ten, a clear sign of how far that unit has come. Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott occupy the top four slots, but in which order?

    NFL Power Rankings Week 11: 1-32 poll, plus we identify each team’s most important remaining game :: ESPN

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    The Packers, Titans, and Cardinals remain the top three teams, according to the Worldwide Leader (although they’ve reshuffled themselves a bit since last week). The Cowboys climb to No. 4. In picking their biggest remaining matchup, Todd Archer says if the team handles their business up until then, the Week 17 home date against Arizona could decide home field advantage for the postseason.

    CeeDee Lamb’s face-butt of Dak Prescott is actually kind of hilarious with audio :: Inside the NFL (Twitter)

    Cowboys dead cap: 45 players account for over $23 million :: Cowboys Wire

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    Cutting checks for players who no longer suit up for the team is always a tough pill to swallow. From Jaylon Smith’s $9.8 million and Travis Frederick’s $6 million plus change… all the way down to the $2,500 owed to current free agent Tevin Jones, it all adds up for Dallas. The staggering amount of dead money on the books may have played into the front office’s decision to sit tight at the trade deadline.

    Expansion to 40 teams isn’t as crazy as it sounds :: ProFootballTalk

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    St Louis will likely get an expansion team as part of any settlement in the Rams’ relocation case. If the NFL adds one team, though, they’ll add two to keep the conferences even in number. But Mike Florio says, given the popularity of the sport and the inevitable spread of legal sports wagering, the league could even support a 40-team league, to keep all eight divisions equally-sized. Small-market cities would suddenly be feasible, since what will matter most is how the game is televised, not where the game is played.

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