Cowboys likely wouldn’t have been worse than 2-3 without Ezekiel Elliott

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

If Ezekiel Elliott had served his six-game suspension to start the season, the Cowboys running back would have one game remaining. He would miss the Cowboys’ Oct. 22 game at San Francisco before returning.

The Cowboys celebrated when Elliott won a preliminary injunction, allowing him to start the season. But with him, the Cowboys went only 2-3.

Dallas likely wouldn’t have been any worse than that without Elliott. They beat the Giants and Cardinals and lost to the Broncos, Rams and Packers. The Giants and Cardinals are a combined 2-8, so the Cowboys had a good chance of beating those two teams whether Elliott played or not.

Elliott would have missed one division game — the season opener against the Giants — if he had served the suspension to start the season. He will miss two division games if he sits out the next six.

The Cowboys’ next six opponents are the 49ers, Redskins, Chiefs, Falcons, Eagles and Chargers.

Elliott has not been the MVP of the team’s offense as he was last season with defenses game planning to stop him.

Elliott has 105 carries for 393 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks fourth in rushing yards, but through five games last season, Elliott had 109 carries for 546 yards and five touchdowns.

He ended up leading the league in rushing as a rookie. It’s a safe bet he won’t lead the league in rushing this season.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision to vacate the preliminary injunction on Elliott’s suspension ends a bad week for the Cowboys, who have a bye. To review, they lost a heart-breaker to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday; Jerry Jones publicly ordered his players to stand for the national anthem, prompting team meetings; defensive lineman Stephen Paea retired; the Cowboys cut Nolan Carroll; and the appeals court has now ruled against their star running.

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