Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is hopeful of returning to the sideline sooner rather than later after testing positive for COVID-19.

McCarthy watched Thursday's 27-17 win over the New Orleans Saints while isolating in a hotel room in Frisco following his positive test.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn filled in to lead the side to victory over the Saints but McCarthy admitted he found it hard to watch and was eager to return.

"I’m hopeful to be in there sooner than later," McCarthy told the team website.

He added: "It was brutal just not to be a part of it. I just hope there’s no one next door, that’s for sure. That’d probably be a good story.

"But I think the emotion of it is like any true fan, I would assume. You’re rooting for your team. You’re rooting for your guys."

The Cowboys are not in action against until Sunday December 12 against the Washington Football Team, with McCarthy needing to test negative twice at least 24 hours apart to be permitted to return.

McCarthy praised Quinn and the coaching staff who filled in in his absence.

“I thought the staff did an incredible job under the leadership of Dan Quinn and [assistant head coach] Rob Davis," McCarthy said. “It’s all about the communication and the urgency of keeping your pace of operation intact.

"That’s the way we train, and that’s the way you want to ultimately play when you get to the game. I thought the dots definitely connected. Just very impressed and very thankful for the job the staff did."

Stand-in head coach Dan Quinn was delighted with the effort of the Dallas Cowboys as they ended their run of back-to-back defeats with a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The former Atlanta Falcons head coach is now defensive coordinator at the Cowboys, but was asked to fill in for head coach Mike McCarthy after he was forced to stay at home due to COVID-19.

The victory at the Caesers Superdome follows a Week 11 defeat at the Kansas City Chiefs and an overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders last time out. 

The Cowboys now move to 8-4, comfortably ahead of the Washington Football Team (5-6) at the top of the NFC East.

"Make no mistake, we were not pleased with our last performance [against the Raiders]," Quinn told reporters after the game. "So we needed to make sure we came back and played like we were capable of and it was cool to see the guys fight and battle for it.

"We knew going in tonight was going to be a fight, and this was going to be a battle, and it certainly was.

"We were coming in ready to make sure we were ready to get it on with physicality and aggression, if it took all night or longer into overtime, we were ready to go however long it took."

Quinn praised the leadership within the team, making particular mention of quarterback Dak Prescott, who completed 26 of 40 attempts for 237 yards, including a touchdown pass to Malcolm Gallup in the opening quarter.

"We've got some excellent leaders. If you guys could hear the way Dak talks before the game to the team, it's one of the most impressive things that I've been a part of. The commitment, the leadership, these guys battling for one another, you can tell they've got a unique brotherhood that ties them together."

McCarthy watched from home, but told ESPN via phone following the win: "It was rough, I'm not going to lie. I'm proud of the guys and how it all turned out, but I don't ever want to do this again.

"Adversity win, ugly win, however, you want to define it, you have to have these wins, especially when you get to later in the year when you're playing teams that are trying to get in the playoffs or make a run.

"This is a great experience for us. Let's face it, this is today's NFL. You've got to be able to win with change."

The Dallas Cowboys ended their run of back-to-back defeats, returning to winning ways with a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFL.

Dallas were never headed on Thursday after Dak Prescott – who completed 26 of 40 attempts for 237 yards – found Malcolm Gallup for an opening-quarter touchdown, managing four interceptions in a game for the first time in almost 11 years.

The Cowboys, who improved to 8-4 for the season, now have 16 interceptions this campaign – the equal-second most in the NFL in 2021 alongside the Buffalo Bills – after Saints quarterback Taysom Hill ended the contest with four interceptions on 19-of-41 passing for 264 yards and two TDs.

Dallas claimed the lead in the first period after CeeDee Lamb's run, star quarterback Prescott finding Gallup with a great grab in the corner.

New Orleans responded in the second period when Hill, who was troubled by an early hand niggle, found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 24-yard touchdown.

Dallas took a six-point lead into half-time courtesy of back-to-back Greg Zuerlein field goals and a tremendous Jayron Kearse interception.

Kicker Brett Maher closed the gap in the third quarter, before Tony Pollard's sensational 58-yard run down the sideline for a touchdown with Marcus Williams unable to close him down.

Hill's tough night was capped in the fourth period when he threw a pick-six to Cowboys defensive tackle Carlos Watkins.

Deonte Harris broke two tackles to score a spectacular late 70-yard consolation TD, but the Saints (5-7) fell to a fifth consecutive defeat – the franchise's longest single-season losing run since 2005.

Amari Cooper's prospective return for the Dallas Cowboys against the New Orleans Saints is in doubt, with the wide receiver still not 100 per cent fit after his positive coronavirus test.

Cooper, who is unvaccinated, has missed the last two Cowboys games, both of which have ended in defeat.

With three losses in their last four games, the Cowboys have gone from 6-1 to 7-4 and have seen their lead in the NFC East trimmed.

Dallas will hope to get back on track against a slumping Saints team on Thursday, though they may have to do so without Cooper once more.

Asked about Cooper, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said the former first-round pick is "still not feeling the best".

"My gut would be if he doesn't practice tomorrow [Wednesday], I don't see him going to the game," said McCarthy, who himself will not be able to attend Thursday's game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Cooper has made 44 catches for 583 yards and five touchdowns this season.

He has been usurped as the top option in the Cowboys' passing game by last year's first-round pick CeeDee Lamb, who has 740 receiving yards and six touchdowns in his second season.

Lamb returned to practice this week after missing last week's overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders with a concussion and expects to play at New Orleans.

The Dallas Cowboys have confirmed head coach Mike McCarthy will not take be able to attend Thursday's game against the New Orleans Saints due to COVID-19 protocols.

ESPN reported on Monday that McCarthy, whose side have lost three of their last four games following a six-game winning streak, had tested positive for coronavirus.

The reports stated the Cowboys had suffered an outbreak of COVID-19 within their team camp, with starting right tackle Terence Steele, three offensive coaches and two strength coaches having to withdraw from Thursday's game.

Dallas subsequently confirmed McCarthy would not take to the field against the Saints due to COVID-19 protocols, though did not state if he had contracted the virus.

The statement also confirmed the team would conduct its Monday meeting virtually, with McCarthy cleared to carry on working in a remote capacity ahead of the game.

Dallas (7-4) sit top of the NFC East heading into Week 13, while New Orleans are third in the NFC South with a 5-6 record in 2021.

Derek Carr made an aggressive approach count as he elected to "rip 'em" and see where it got the Las Vegas Raiders against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

After the Raiders snatched a 36-33 overtime win, Carr could reflect on a policy skilfully enacted, and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia was suitably impressed.

Carr ended the game with 24-of-39 passing for 373 yards and a touchdown – the most yards by a Raiders quarterback on Thanksgiving in team history.

It gave him a passer rating of 101.8 after three consecutive games down in double digits, each of which ended in defeat.

Daniel Carlson nailed a field goal to win the game before munching on a turkey leg to mark the holiday. Victory improved the Raiders to 6-5 and checked the Cowboys at 7-4.

Carr picked out DeSean Jackson early for a 56-yard touchdown; Jackson's 34th career touchdown of 50-plus yards puts him only two adrift of all-time NFL leader Jerry Rice.

Speaking after the game, Carr said he heeded the advice of former Raiders coach Jon Gruden not to shy away from the bold option.

"It leads sometimes to not completing as many balls on a percentage chart, but to me, Gruden used to tell me, 'Don't ever take your arm out of a game'," Carr said.

"So, when we call these things, let's rip 'em."

Gruden resigned from his Raiders top job in October amid reports he had sent emails containing offensive language.

Carr savoured the narrow victory, saying: "Our back was against the wall. There's no doubt about that. And in the way that we fought today and for as long as it took to win... we had to do that today, and I'm very proud of our team."

Bisaccia said 30-year-old Carr had been "off sync a little bit" in recent games. "Today he looked like Derek Carr. It's fun to watch him play," the interim coach added.

Bisaccia also saluted 34-year-old Jackson, an acquisition in early November who is showing the Raiders what he still has left in the tank.

"I thought he stepped up in there today and made really incredible plays," Bisaccia said. "You can see DeSean hopefully getting more and more comfortable with what we're asking him to do. One thing he can still do is run. It was fun to watch him. It was good for him, and it was good for us."

It fell to Carlson to settle the game and settle a Raiders team who were 3-0 early in the season before losing their way.

A fourth successive loss would have hurt, but now Las Vegas can look forward with greater optimism. They are next in action against the Washington Football Team on December 5.

Carlson said: "It's tough when things don't go your way for a few weeks."

Quoted on the Raiders website, he added: "On a short week to be able to get a win like that, that helps us going forward. I think that just speaks to the character of this team and our will to win."

The Las Vegas Raiders broke a three-game losing streak with a thrilling 36-33 overtime win at the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Daniel Carson converted a 29-yard field goal to lift the Raiders (6-5) past the Cowboys (7-4) in Dallas in the first overtime game to occur on Thanksgiving since 2012.

There was an early advantage for Las Vegas on Thursday as Derek Carr (24-of-39 passing for 373 yards and a TD – most yards by a Raiders quarterback on Thanksgiving in team history) threw to DeSean Jackson, who ran in for a 56-yard touchdown. It was Jackson's 34th career touchdown of 50-plus yards, the second-most in NFL history, just two behind Jerry Rice.

The Cowboys – without stars CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and Amari Cooper (COVID-19) – responded immediately with a touchdown of their own as Dak Prescott (32-of-47 passing for 375 yards for two TDs) found Sean McKeon.

A 30-yard penalty for pass interference gave Josh Jacobs a simple one-yard TD to make it 14-6 in favour of Las Vegas heading into the second quarter.

Dallas looked to be getting desperate as Zuerlein attempted and missed a 59-yard field goal, but they were able to score their second TD just before half-time as an 86-yard drive ended with a one-yard TD for Ezekiel Elliott to close within 17-13 at the break.

The Raiders increased their lead halfway through the third quarter – Marcus Mariota running in a touchdown to complete a 75-yard drive, only for Tony Pollard to immediately run a 100-yard kick-off return to bring it back to 27-19, the third-longest TD in Thanksgiving history.

Dallas forced overtime thanks to Prescott's pass to Dalton Schultz and a pair of Zuerlein field goals in the fourth period, but the Cowboys were unable to complete the comeback in the additional period.

The Dallas Cowboys offense stumbled badly against the Kansas City Chiefs without Amari Cooper, but Dak Prescott defended the wide receiver despite his coronavirus-enforced absence.

Dallas dropped to 7-3 on the season with a 19-9 loss at Arrowhead Stadium, failing to find the endzone for the first time since November 2020.

The Cowboys were missing left tackle Tyron Smith because of an ankle injury and felt the impact of that absence as Prescott was sacked five times.

Cooper, meanwhile, missed out after testing positive for coronavirus, that problem exacerbated by fellow wideout CeeDee Lamb leaving the game with a concussion.

He is unvaccinated, meaning Cooper must miss 10 days and will also not be available for the Cowboys' Thanksgiving clash with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday.

Despite facing the prospect of heading into the Raiders game without both Cooper and Lamb, Prescott refused to blame the former for his vaccination status.

"I mean, it's unfortunate not having him," Prescott said, in quotes distributed by the team. "To say the decision he made — I mean I'm vaccinated and I could get it and be out two games.

"Let's try not to knock the guy or put the guy down for a personal decision.

"I don't think there's anybody that comes back under 10 days. You give me that stat on guys that are either vaccinated or unvaccinated coming back faster than that time and tested out, then ok, we'll go from there.

"That's my team-mate; that's my brother. We're going to support him. That's his decision, as I said way back in training camp when you guys asked me this question.

"Unfortunately we don't have him, but I know he'll come back and be beneficial for us late in the season."

"It's just an opportunity for other guys to step up and make plays," Prescott added of Cooper's absence.

"We've had different guys including myself go out week after week and other guys have had to step in and make those plays.

"It's challenging when you're missing a guy like Amari who is such a playmaker and dynamic but we've got to be able to win without him."

Despite an underwhelming Patrick Mahomes performance, the Kansas City Chiefs bailed out their star quarterback in a 19-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Mahomes did not throw or rush for a touchdown on Sunday, the former NFL MVP finishing 23-of-37 passing for 260 yards, an interception and a fumble.

But the Chiefs (7-4) leaned on their defence to take down Dak Prescott and the Cowboys (7-3) for their fourth successive victory.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in his return from injured reserve in Kansas City, where Chris Jones and the Chiefs made life difficult for Cowboys QB Prescott.

Prescott was held to 216 yards passing while he was intercepted twice on the road by the Chiefs, whose defence have allowed fewer than 20 points in four consecutive games.

The last time they achieved the feat was a five-game streak from Weeks 11-16 in 2019, and just over a month after that streak they won the Super Bowl.

 

No Murray, No worries for Cardinals

Kyler Murray sat out his third straight game, however, the high-flying Arizona Cardinals still topped the Seattle Seahawks 23-13.

In the absence of their star quarterback due to an ankle problem, backup Colt McCoy stepped up in an impressive performance as he threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns away to the Seahawks in Seattle.

Russell Wilson was outplayed by McCoy in his first home start since finger surgery, the Super Bowl champion completing 14 of 26 passes for 207 yards but no touchdowns, while he sacked on four occasions.

The Cardinals improved to 9-2 as the slumping Seahawks (3-7) lost for the fifth time in their past six games.

It is rare to head into a game wondering if the Kansas City Chiefs can match the explosiveness of their opponents on offense.

But such has been the success enjoyed by the Dallas Cowboys' attack in 2021, that the issue of whether the Chiefs can keep up looms over a mouthwatering matchup on Sunday.

The Cowboys' offense is the best in the NFL by yards per play with an average of 6.33, Dak Prescott building a case for both MVP and Comeback Player of the Year in a stunning return from the grisly ankle injury that prematurely ended his 2020 campaign.

Prescott leads the NFL with a passer rating of 110.8, throwing 20 touchdowns to five interceptions and averaging 8.19 yards per attempt, good for fifth in the league.

The Cowboys scored 29 points in the second quarter of their 43-3 win over the Atlanta Falcons last week. That is the most points ever scored by the team in a single quarter.

That was Dallas' largest win since a 48-7 victory against the Arizona Cardinals in October 2000. Including the playoffs, the Cowboys are 5-2-1 all-time in games immediately following a win of at least 40 points. 

The odds of the Cowboys improving to 8-2 as they compete for the top seed in the NFC playoffs would, therefore, appear to be stacked in their favour, even on the road at Arrowhead Stadium.

Entering Week 11, the Chiefs rank 10th in yards per play with 5.88, indicating they may struggle to operate at the same efficiency as Prescott and the Cowboys.

And that average was boosted significantly by their Week 10 blowout win over the Las Vegas Raiders, which saw Patrick Mahomes throw for 406 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.

Mahomes is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with multiple games of 400+ passing yards, 5+ touchdown passes and no picks in a career. 

If the man many consider the most talented quarterback in the NFL can replicate that performance, then the Chiefs will obviously have little issue keeping pace with the Cowboys. 

Yet his ability to do so partially rests on Dallas' desire to adapt and avoid living in single-high safety coverages Mahomes can pick apart as he did against a Raiders defense that showed no willingness to amend the gameplan.

If Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn throws different looks at Mahomes, then the challenge could be substantially harder for a quarterback who is tied third in the NFL with 10 interceptions against a defense that has lived off turnovers, Dallas' 17 takeaways the fifth-most in the NFL.

The slight improvements a vulnerable Kansas City defense has made over recent weeks are unlikely to be enough to slow down Prescott and Co.

For the Chiefs to solidify their position atop the AFC West by moving to 7-4 and silencing more doubters in the process, Mahomes will have to prove last week was not a flash in the pan and that this offense is firmly back to its best.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss his side's next two games at a minimum.

Cooper tested positive to COVID-19 and has been definitely ruled out of Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

After that, the Cowboys have a short week with a Thanksgiving Game against the Las Vegas Raiders on the following Thursday, which Cooper will miss as he is unvaccinated.

Under the NFL's COVID-19 protocol, unvaccinated players must spend a mandatory 10 days away from the team if they test positive.

As a result, the earliest Cooper can link up again with the Cowboys is November 29, three days after the Raiders game, putting him in doubt also for the Week 13 game against the New Orleans Saints on December 2 as well.

The wide receiver has caught 44 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns in nine games this season.

The Cowboys boast a 7-2 record and have the top-ranked offense in the league, led by quarterback Dak Prescott.

Will the NFL return to some form of normality this week? Maybe... or maybe not.

Even in this season of shock results without any clear Super Bowl favourite, Week 10 stood out for its sheer number of upsets.

The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were stunned by the Washington Football Team, the Miami Dolphins overturned the Baltimore Ravens and the short-handed league-leading Arizona Cardinals lost to the Carolina Panthers.

When the San Francisco 49ers then beat NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams in Monday Night Football, it became the first week in NFL history in which four teams had won by double-digits having entered the week at least four wins behind their opponents.

Week 11 looks no easier to call, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups before even considering the potential for further setbacks for some favourites.

Dallas Cowboys (7-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

With Patrick Mahomes back on form, two of the best teams in the NFL should be set for a titanic tussle at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

Mahomes, setting aside his shaky displays to that point, threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have two games of 400-plus passing yards, five-plus TD passes and no picks in his career.

The 41-14 win represented the league-leading 10th time the Chiefs have scored 40 points in a game since the start of the 2018 season, yet they were topped by the Cowboys, whose 43-3 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons was their biggest since a 48-7 victory over Arizona in 2000.

The Cowboys have gone 5-2-1 all-time previously in games following a win of at least 40 points (including playoffs), but this was an unprecedented success. The team's 29 points in the second quarter in Week 10 were their most in a single quarter of any game in their history.

Indianapolis Colts (5-5) @ Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Neither the Chiefs nor the Cowboys can match the Bills' average winning margin of 26.3 points this year. That is the highest mark in the NFL, having been boosted by last week's 45-17 victory over the New York Jets, their NFL-leading sixth win by 15 or more points.

The Cowboys are ahead of the Bills in points per game, but Buffalo have given up the fewest points per game. The last team to lead on both offense and defense in this regard were the 2005 Colts.

The achievements of this year's Colts team have been rather more modest. Their five wins have come against teams with a combined record of 13-34 (.261).

Still, Jonathan Taylor has excelled, scoring a rushing touchdown in seven straight games – the last NFL player to reach eight was DeAngelo Williams in 2008. In fact, there is rushing talent on both sides of the ball, with the Bills last week having four different players score rushing TDs for the first time in team history.

Arizona Cardinals (8-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (3-6)

Another week, another big NFC West game. The Cardinals' form has tailed away a little since Kyler Murray's injury, but they are still unbeaten on the road and looking to start 6-0 away from home for only the second time in franchise history.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have their starting QB back, but Russell Wilson did little to help their offense against the Green Bay Packers. He was shut out for the first time in his NFL career in his 166th start (including playoffs).

Seattle's problems on that side of the ball did not end there, though. They were held to under 100 rushing yards for a third consecutive game for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, while only twice in the 21st century have they seen such a streak extended to four games.

Whether or not the Seahawks recover this week, history suggests they are likely to be able to stick with the Cardinals. Six of the past 10 meetings between the teams have been decided by three points or fewer.

Elsewhere...

Cam Newton's Panthers face Ron Rivera's Washington, their first meeting since both left Carolina (Newton returned last week). This is the third time since 2010 a former MVP QB has faced the coach he won his award with, following Peyton Manning versus Jim Caldwell in 2015 and Tom Brady against Bill Belichick earlier this season.

The 49ers are now 4-1 when Jimmy Garoppolo's passer rating is above 100.0 this year (141.7 vs. the Rams) and 0-3 when it is not. He was helped last week by a season-high 156 rushing yards, keeping San Francisco's offense on the ball for just over 39 minutes. They should expect more of the same against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have failed to force a turnover in six games this season.

The Cincinnati Bengals need both of their former LSU stars to rediscover some form at the Raiders. Joe Burrow has thrown an interception in five straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL, while Ja'Marr Chase – surely not helped by his QB's struggles – has fallen short of 50 receiving yards in consecutive games after making that mark in his first seven appearances.

The Detroit Lions will hope to learn from next opponents the Cleveland Browns, who have returned to contention since in 2018 becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to end a losing streak of 10-plus games with a tie. Last week, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions became the second.

Trying to predict the 2021 NFL season has seemed like an exercise in futility.

It is a year that has served as a perfect illustration of the NFL being a 'week-to-week league'; upsets have been frequent, making the elite teams tougher to discern, even with 10 weeks in the books.

Only four teams in the AFC are below .500 while, of those currently outside the playoffs in the NFC, every team aside from the winless Detroit Lions is at worst a game back in the loss column of the final Wild Card berth.

It sets the stage for a fascinating stretch run in the regular season and, for fantasy purposes, can sow doubt around players who would otherwise be considered sure things.

But, in Week 11, there are some clear standouts who look primed for highly productive performances. Once again, Stats Perform has identified four offensive players and a defense that deserve starting spots this week.

Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders were shredded by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs last week as their commitment to playing coverage looks featuring a single-high safety backfired spectacularly.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley seems steadfast in sticking with such coverages and the evidence suggests it will prove the Raiders' downfall again versus the Bengals.

Though the Bengals enter the game on a two-game losing streak, they can afford to have confidence in Burrow flourishing in Las Vegas.

Burrow is delivering a well-thrown, accurate ball on 84.4 per cent of his pass attempts against Cover 1 robber looks and on 90.2 per cent of throws versus Cover 3 zone.

The Raiders, therefore, represent the ideal matchup as the Bengals and Burrow look to bounce back. 

Running Back: A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

The Packers will be without starting running back Aaron Jones because of a knee sprain, however, Dillon has proven himself an impressive complement and should excel filling the void while Jones is on the sideline.

Dillon was not efficient in the Packers' win over the Seattle Seahawks last time out, averaging only 3.1 yards per carry while finding the endzone twice.

However, he has averaged at least 4.9 yards per rush in the three other games where he has received at least 10 carries this year.

Against a Vikings defense giving up the third-most yards per rush in the league (4.74), Dillon will have the workload and the matchup to enjoy a career day in Jones' absence.

Wide Receiver: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs

The second-year wideout is on a tear, Lamb having racked up 378 receiving yards and four touchdowns over the last four games.

He is establishing himself as Dak Prescott's top target on a loaded offense few have managed to slow down in 2021.

The Chiefs have improved on defense of late but theirs is a unit allowing the third-most pass yards per play in the NFL (7.41). It is tough to have faith in Kansas City to slow down a receiver in Lamb's vein of form.

Tight End: Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts

Returning from a fractured hand, Knox was targeted just once in the Bills' blowout win over the New York Jets.

The game script did not really call for Knox to be heavily involved as Buffalo built an insurmountable lead.

However, things are likely to be closer against the Colts, meaning Knox may need to reproduce the breakout form he delivered earlier in the season.

Knox has a touchdown in four of his seven games in 2021. Against a Colts defense allowing the seventh-most TD drives in the NFL (27), he's a strong bet to find the endzone again.

Defense: Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

Miami's ultra-aggressive defense created havoc in their stunning win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. The Dolphins sacked Lamar Jackson four times, their commitment to relentlessly blitzing defensive backs derailing Baltimore's passing game, intercepted him once and forced two fumbles, with one returned for a touchdown.

Now they face a Jets team that has turned the ball over 22 times this season, committing 13 giveaways in their last four games.

They have turned to Joe Flacco in the belief the veteran, and not ailing second overall pick Zach Wilson or Mike White, gives them the best chance to win. However, Flacco threw an interception in each of his previous three appearances for the Jets last season. Despite the quarterback change, the signs still point to Miami's defense enjoying another disruptive day.

Dak Prescott made it clear opponents are sorely mistaken if they believe they have a blueprint to stop the Dallas Cowboys' offense after Sunday's blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Having suffered a stunning loss to the Denver Broncos last week as Prescott and the Cowboys were held to 290 net yards of offense, their lowest total of the season, Dallas bounced back in style by routing Atlanta 43-3.

Prescott looked back to his best after a shaky showing against Denver, a game in which he made his return from a calf injury, going 24 of 31 passing for 296 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys improved to 7-2.

Asked about the apparent blueprint provided by Denver, Prescott told a media conference: "They [Atlanta] tried that early. If they think that is the recipe for success against us, then good luck to them.

"We know what we're capable of, and I think last week was something we needed in a sense of just refocusing and realising this is the NFL and it's tough.

"You've got to earn it each and every day of practice and you've got to come out on Sundays and earn it again.

"Last week just wasn't us, and everybody in that locker room knows that. It left a bad taste in our mouth.

"I think it was a taste that we needed to understand how tough this game is, but this game just shows that when we focus in, take it one play at a time, our minds are where our feet are, we're capable of doing some great things.

"So we just got to continue to focus on that and take it play by play, game by game, and we'll continue to get better and hopefully have a lot more performances like this."

The Cowboys are within striking distance of the NFC's top seed, the 8-2 Green Bay Packers, but face a difficult trip to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11.

The Dallas Cowboys managed to hold down the fort while Dak Prescott was sidelined with a calf strain, but everything fell apart as their quarterback returned to the line-up in Sunday's 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Prescott completed fewer than half of his pass attempts and could not lead Dallas to any points until the game was well out of reach in an emphatic home defeat against the Broncos that ended their six-game winning streak in the NFL.

Dallas turned the ball over on downs on their first two possessions and four times overall in the game, failing on all four of their fourth-down conversion attempts as they compiled a season-low 290 yards after averaging 454.9 entering the game.

"Frankly we were outcoached, we were outplayed all the way through," Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "This is the first time I've felt clearly our energy didn't exceed our opponent. That's disappointing."

The Cowboys had not trailed by double digits all season but found themselves down 30-0 by the time Prescott threw the first of two touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter.

Prescott entered the game leading the NFL with a 73.1 completion percentage but connected on just 19 of 39 attempts (48.7 per cent), matching the second-worst showing of his six-year NFL career. 

The Cowboys QB insisted he felt "fine" and there were no residual effects from the leg he injured on the game-winning touchdown pass three weeks earlier against the New England Patriots, but acknowledged he did not perform to his standards.

"I mean obviously I wasn't as clean as I normally am or as I have been. It's tough to say and blame that [injury]," Prescott said. "I'm not going to sit there and blame two weeks [off] when I had a great week of practice under my belt coming into this one.

"I just missed some throws and we weren't our normal selves in the passing game when we needed to be. We didn't execute…

"We got beat. We got thumped in every aspect of the game, especially on offence."

McCarthy could have been forgiven for pulling Prescott with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, especially coming off an injury, but the quarterback said he never considered remaining on the sidelines no matter the margin. 

"There was game left out there to be played," Prescott said. "It never crossed my mind that I was coming out of the game. I think if somebody would have tried to make that decision, I would have told them I wasn't.

"We needed to get something going. We needed to get some energy, some momentum. We needed to show our fight, our resiliency, something that's won us a lot of games. When you're getting beat like that, you've got to show your character.

"I think that's where the path starts with all of us staying in the game and fighting to the end and trying to get some momentum or something going just to take from this game."

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