sportsCowboys

Beckham Bowl? Cowboys, Giants have more on the line than your average NFC East clash

Thanksgiving in AT&T Stadium will have a little extra juice on Thursday.

Even before their astounding, record-breaking win over the Vikings, the Cowboys talked about the possibilities. And not just the chatty owner, either. His players didn’t even try to keep it in the locker room. No other team in the league has been so brash.

And now, after all the bold talk, here it is: the Beckham Bowl.

You didn’t think we were talking Super Bowl, did you?

By some accounts, Odell Beckham Jr. has narrowed his wide field of suitors to the Cowboys and Giants, and if the hosts didn’t already have enough motivation to win a divisional game, the prospects of beating a rival for the best receiver on the market should put Thanksgiving’s game at JerryWorld over the top.

OBJ reportedly will visit with the Cowboys and Giants after the game, and, as Nick Saban will tell you, winning is the best recruiting tool.

But just in case, Jerry, bring Barry Switzer.

Maybe Jimbo Fisher, too.

Or at least his NIL team.

Everybody in the locker room is working it, that’s for sure. Frankly, I haven’t seen this sort of team effort since the Waltons petitioned Pa for a new tractor. Dak Prescott became the latest Cowboy to reveal his efforts when he let it slip Tuesday that he’s been texting back and forth with OBJ, a fellow Louisianan. He indicated the interest is mutual. Meanwhile, on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM], Jerry conceded, “If you can improve this team within reason right now, you should do it.”

Now I can hear some of you all the way over here: If the Cowboys really wanted to fix what ails them, they’d build a border wall in front of their linebackers. The run defense looked better against the Vikings, but Dalvin Cook still averaged 6.5 yards a carry. The difference in Minneapolis was that the Cowboys’ ground game fared so well in fashioning a 20-point halftime lead, the Vikings had to abandon the run, much to the chagrin of Kirk Cousins, who spent the rest of his time on the field looking for foxholes instead of receivers.

The Cowboys had the ball twice as long as the Vikings in the first half and finished 37:24 to 22:36 ahead of the hosts. Old pal Babe Laufenberg, who has taught me much of what I know about quarterbacks and Bob Dylan lyrics, insists time of possession is overrated. Long drives are hard to maintain these days. If you can score fast, do it, and pile up the points. All true. Except, as Zack Martin pointed out Tuesday, when you run the ball, “everything seems to fall into place.” Relieves pressure on the quarterback, rests your defense and opens up the passing game after your opponent drops a defender in the box.

Of course, a balanced offense helps each of its twin facets. That’s why signing OBJ would be so good for the Cowboys. He’d help open both the running and passing games. He demands that you pay attention to him. Nothing against Noah Brown, by all accounts a terrific teammate and team player, but he doesn’t scare anyone. OBJ does, which is why teams with passing games as elite as the Bills and Chiefs still covet him.

Is he the same guy he was in New York? No. He’s had two ACL tears. But he’s still at least as good as the Cowboys’ standard. I mean, do you want to risk Jalen Tolbert lining up on offense again?

OBJ was terrific last season in the playoffs and, until he got hurt, in the Super Bowl, which is where the Cowboys could be headed.

Hey, Mike McCarthy: Sorry if that last bit sounds a little too much like your boss. Hard to keep players focused on the task at hand when the owner is wearing party hats and blowing kazoos. You’ll get used to it, Mike. Didn’t think I’d be saying that after that opening loss to Tampa Bay.

Before we forget, one last thing about stopping the run: If there was an unattached defensive tackle who could do it, I’d be down. But the best available was probably Ndamukong Suh, who signed with the Eagles last week.

The Cowboys will simply have to gang up on Saquon Barkley, who, for the record, thinks the Cowboys’ recruitment of OBJ is over-the-top. He told reporters his former teammate knows how much they love him.

“I don’t have to tweet at him,” Barkley said.

Yeah, tell that to your girlfriend next Valentine’s Day.

OBJ loves the attention, which is why the Cowboys are pouring it on.

“Right now, I guess,” Dak said, “it’s who can recruit better.”

Better check to see if Saban’s free, Jerry. But not if you get Jimbo. That’s still a sore subject.

Related Stories
View More

Find more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

Cowboys Catch-Up

Be the smartest Dallas Cowboys fan

Get the latest news, analysis and opinion delivered straight to your inbox.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy