By PATRICK ROWLEY
The Cowboys trading for Amari Cooper has turned their season around. Following their Week 8 bye Dallas was looking up at both the Redskins (5-2) and Eagles (4-4) in the standings. Since acquiring Amari Cooper, the Cowboys have gone 5-1 and are currently on a five game win streak, the longest current streak in the NFL.
Amari Cooper has transformed the offense since his arrival and last game he had his most impressive showing with a 217-yard and three touchdown performance in an overtime win against the Eagles. Sunday could pose a challenge for Cooper and the Cowboys, as the Colts come in playing a zone defense the highest rate in the league (72 percent). The Colts have been middle of the pack in their zone defense. They have allowed 7.7 yards per attempt (13th), a rating against of 94 (14th), but have allowed just one more touchdown (9) than interceptions (8).
Much of Cooper’s impact this season has been against a man defense. Since Cooper’s first game with Dallas in week nine he ranks first against man defenses in yards (432), yards after the catch (209), touchdowns (6) and has put up a 139 receiver rating.
Having Cooper as a weapon against man defenses has improved the entire offense, as Prescott’s game has been elevated to new heights against man defenses, including a 48-point jump in IQR.
Despite this massive jump in production against man defense, Prescott has not had nearly as much success against a zone defense and his IQR has dropped from 100 to 84 with Cooper on the roster. Though he has an 80 percent completion percentage versus zones, it’s almost entirely short-pass based. He has no touchdowns and two interceptions on 91 attempts
It will be interesting to see if the Colts zone-heavy defensive scheme will be the answer to finally stopping Prescott and Cooper this weekend.