In a world where Micheal Jordan had 0 championships, Jerry Rice won Super Bowl MVP, the first season of Seinfeld released, Madonna blessed our eardrums with Like a Prayer, and Troy Aikman was the first overall pick for the Dallas Cowboys. 

The year was 1989 and that this was the last time the Dallas Cowboys accumulated at least 31 total takeaways after week 14. That season, the Cowboys finished 1-15 and Micheal Irvin was in his second year out of Miami. Jimmy Johnson was in his first year, taking over for the late great Tom Landry as the head coach. 

1989 was dim for the Cowboys in terms of success, but that laid the foundation for three Super Bowls in the coming years. 

Defense wins championships and Dan Quinn has a dang good one. Dallas shares the throne with the most turnovers in the NFL thus far. (Indianapolis Colts) In four of those contests, Dallas finished with four turnovers. The Cowboys are +12 in the turnover margin which needs to carry throughout the playoffs. That mark ranks second behind the Colts +14. 

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As the playoffs inch closer, Dallas is fighting for home-field advantage. Defensively, this team is led by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who deserves a lot of credit in evolving this team into a contender in the NFC. 

The aggressive nature of this defense has put the Cowboys in a position to not only win but make opposing offenses one-dimensional. It has been over three decades since the city of Dallas have witnessed this many turnovers at week 15. 

The Cowboys’ defense is on pace to finish with 37 turnovers which would be the highest mark across since the Pittsburg Steelers had 38 in 2019. The Dallas defense is still giving up yardage. According to Pro Football Reference, Dallas ranks in the bottom half of the league in yards, which is irrelevant when opposing offenses scores are low. At 20.9 points per game, the Cowboys’ defense is seventh in points allowed. 

As long as teams are held to field goals in the red zone and are making mistakes it does not matter how many yards Dallas gives up. This “bend don’t break” mentality is what has put the Cowboys in positions to win all season.

The combination of elite pass rush and aggressive ballhawks in the secondary work hand and hand to create so many turnovers. A great pass rush can be beaten if receivers get open with ease. Without a pass rush, even the best coverage can be broken. 

In years past, Dallas had quality talent in one of those areas. Now, this team is different. This defense is complete and is poised for a championship run.