Cowboys Are a Shoe-In for Playoffs…Almost
As bad as almost all Cowboy fans seem to think they have been playing this season, the truth is, that 12 weeks into the season, there are only four teams in the NFC with a better record than Dallas. Yes, that is hard to believe but after the Cowboys won twice within four days, their 7-5 record is standing up pretty well. The Seahawks and Saints will play Monday night but no matter how that one turns out, both teams will have better records than the Cowboys. The 49ers and the Panthers are the only other teams in the NFC with better records than 7-5.
Most of us certainly think Dallas should be better than 7-5…so let’s take a short trip down memory lane to explain how 7-5 could easily be 9-3 or even 10-2. A one point loss to the Chiefs in week two, could have been a W, blowing a lead to the Chargers in week four, Tony’s infamous interception late in the loss to the Bronco’s, how did Matthew Stafford drive the Lions down for the winning touchdown in less than a minute in week 8…and the blow-out to the Saints on November 10th. The Saints loss is the only game that Dallas should have lost and was never even close to competing in–the other four loses could have been victories with a few breaks going the Cowboys’ way.
But let’s say that happens to all teams throughout the season, the Cowboys should still be 9-3. I sincerely think that’s where Dallas should stand after 12 games, meaning they have the talent, the ability to be 9-3. At 9-3 the Cowboys would be right there with the Saints and Panthers, just behind the Seahawks, as one of the elite teams in the NFC. The would also have a strangle hold on the NFC East instead of being tied with Philadelphia. That’s where I think the Cowboys COULD be, but where they are is 7-5, tied with Phily and in the middle of the pack with about six other NFC teams. It also means that the Cowboys’ only real chance to make the playoffs is to win their division.
The fact that Dallas is undefeated, 4-0, in their division means they own the tie-breaker and are actually just ahead of the Eagles in the standings. The Cowboys final four games are: at Chicago, home against Green Bay, at the Redskins, and home to play the Eagles in the regular season finale. Isn’t it odd how the NFL schedule makers always seem to pit the two teams together at the end of the season, who are fighting it out for a playoff spot? The Bears lost a heartbreaker Sunday in overtime to the Vikings; they will be pissed and motivated next week against the Cowboys but I think if Jay Cutler stays out, the Cowboys will beat Chicago. The same scenario will play in the Cowboys’ favor against the Packers — Aaron Rodgers’ broken collar bone shouldn’t be healed by December 15th and there is obviously a world of difference between Rodgers and Matt Flynn.
The 2013 RG III is a shell of the 2012 version so Washington won’t be a problem which brings the Boys down to the final game AGAIN to make the playoffs. The bad news is the game is at AT&T stadium…bad because the Eagles are just 2-4 at home this season but 5-1 on the road. Fortunately the Cowboys are 5-1 at home so…toss up. Philadelphia’s final four games are: home against Detroit, at Minnesota, home to the Bears and at the Cowboys. Both the Cowboys and Eagles could easlily split the final four games which means Dallas wins the division and moves into the playoffs. I think Dallas wins three of the final four and the final game won’t matter. It means the Cowboys could face either Carolina or San Fransciso in the first round of the playoffs and neither would be easy.
Clearly the Seahawks and Saints seem to be the class of the NFC this season, but four games is still a quarter of the season to go, Brees or Wilson could go down like Rodgers or Cutler…but so could Romo. A lot of games to be played but I really think this Cowboys two-game winning streak over the last week will give them the shot in the arm to make a final push.
The playoffs will be nice, but Cowboy fans won’t be satisfied with just that. You know Jerry is hoping for some magic come January…maybe this is the season.