Amari Cooper’s Risky Decision is a Crushing Blow That Has Dak Prescott and His Struggling Cowboys in Need of Thanksgiving Miracle
The Dallas Cowboys fell to their second loss in the last three games after a disappointing defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cowboys ventured through Sunday’s contest without star wide receiver Amari Cooper after testing positive for COVID-19. Beyond that, Cooper’s decision regarding the vaccine could have a more damaging impact on Dallas’ Super Bowl chances.
Amari Cooper tests positive for COVID-19
Days before the Cowboys played the Chiefs in Week 11 action, the team suffered a significant loss after Cooper tested positive for COVID-19.
The result kept the Pro Bowler out for Sunday’s contest and sidelined him for the Thanksgiving’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders due to his unvaccinated status due to the mandatory 10-day absence. Cooper has been a massive part of the Cowboys’ offensive game plan.
The 27-year-old has recorded 44 catches for 583 yards and five touchdowns in nine games played. Cooper has notched north of 100 receiving twice, racked up a touchdown reception four times, and tallied north of 50 receiving yards all but three times.
His absence leaves a significant offensive void that the Cowboys felt in the 19-9 loss to the Chiefs. Beyond that, it’s a situation that negatively impacts Dallas much further than two missed games.
Amari Cooper’s risky decision is a crushing blow that has Dak Prescott and his struggling Cowboys in need of Thanksgiving miracle
Sunday’s loss marked the second defeat in the last three games for the Cowboys.
Dallas maintains a comfortable lead in the NFC East, sitting three games ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles, who hold a 5-6 record. However, the loss puts them another step behind the Arizona Cardinals, who have a 9-2 record, in the quest for the first-round playoff bye.
The Cowboys will likely cruise toward securing a postseason berth through winning the NFC East division title. Despite that, the losses are preventing a serious push to secure the top overall NFC playoff seed. Dallas has been highly successful playing at home in 2021, winning four out of their first five games.
Those factors further underline the significance of Cooper’s absence. A loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving could eliminate any chance of earning the first-round bye. Although that added benefit doesn’t guarantee a deep playoff run, it does at least secure home-field advantage through to the Super Bowl.
The stakes are now even higher as the Cowboys are heading into Thursday’s contest short-handed beyond Cooper. Star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb will likely miss the game due to being placed in the concussion protocol. Meanwhile, All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith’s status remains uncertain as he’s dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of Week 11 action.
If Cooper had been vaccinated, he would have had a chance to play on Thanksgiving. The NFL’s COVID-19 protocol allows a vaccinated player to return in four days with two negative tests 24 hours apart.
The Cowboys still possess plenty of offensive talent, but the team could be without its two best receiving options. The Raiders are not a powerhouse but certainly are a formidable squad with legitimate playoff aspirations.
Dallas stands to lose much more than a second straight game, and Cooper’s absence only compounds the troubling situation.
Dak Prescott faces more pressure to push the Cowboys forward
The Cowboys’ strong start to the 2021 season has largely come behind Dak Prescott’s play.
The last few weeks have featured him struggling to find consistent footing. contributing to Dallas’ recent skid. It was certainly the case against the Chiefs. He threw two interceptions, sacked five times, averaged 5.0 yards per pass attempt, and finished with a 57.9 passer rating.
The Raiders don’t possess a stout defense, but the Cowboys likely missing their top two passing game weapons is a significant blow. The pressure is on Prescott to push his team forward to keep the hopes of a first-round playoff bye a feasible possibility.
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