Cowboys Watch as Odds Matter
IRVING – The Cowboys watch, work and wonder about things that might have been. Meanwhile the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers are gearing up for Sunday’s conference championship games. Both are favorites to advance to Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium.
Dallas played home games against both teams this year. Against New England in week five at AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys tried to step forward, while missing both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, but ultimately couldn’t hang with Tom Brady and company, and the visiting Patriots pulled away winning by a lopsided final of 30-6.
In week eleven, it was the visiting Panthers, and Dez and Romo were both back in uniform. But they weren’t themselves. Romo threw a trio of interceptions before sustaining a second in-season break to his collarbone, essentially ending whatever slim hope Dallas had of remaining in playoff contention. The Panthers won 33-14, helping to send Dallas to its 4-12 embarrassment of a season.
The Patriots, coming off their home victory over the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, will be a 3-point road favorite over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game this weekend at Mile High. The game has a Cowboys interest to it because former Dallas star Demarcus Ware now wears the orange and blue. The Patriots’ win yesterday sends the Brady-Bill Belichick combo to their 10th Conference Championship game.
In the NFC Championship game in Charlotte, Cam Newton and the Panthers, who held off a 2nd half rally from Russell Wilson and Seahawks, are also a 3-point favorite over the Arizona Cardinals, who won a wild one in OT over the Packers Saturday night in the desert.
The Cowboys can argue that they belong in a class with those teams when healthy, as Dallas was close to being in that “Conference Championship” group a year ago. Now they’re a year away from proving that belief again, but in three of the last five seasons, the last place team in the NFC East has vaulted to first in the very next year, so the odds do exist, just as they do for the Pats and Panthers this weekend. And why are the odds in the NFL’s title games so important? So far this postseason, the favored team has won seven of eight games. So you see, odds do matter.