The Dallas Cowboys loss to the Redskins has sent most of the fan base into panic mode. How could they not kneel the ball before the half, how can we move forward with David Buehler, Alex Barron is the worst tackle we have ever seen play, etc. The fact of the matter is that the Cowboys will have Colombo and Kosier back against the Bears. Buehler will either straighten up or a veteran will come in to handle kicks within 40 yards. Matt Stover is still available and so is Mike Vanderjagt (so things could be better or vastly worse). As stupid as the Cowboys effort was at the end of the first half was, it’s not something that will occur often. The Cowboys coaching staff lead by Wade Phillips more often than not will make good decisions. In Phillips’s four years with the Cowboys, this is the only truly boneheaded mistake that mars a record of competence.
One more small point. Losing a road division game in the first week of the season isn’t the worst thing that can happen. The Cowboys will face these same Redskins in week 15 in Dallas. It is more important that the Cowboys are playing good football in week 15 than they are in week 1.
So if we take the position that the sky isn’t falling, which 0-1 playoff caliber team may actually be in trouble?
Cincinnati: Cincinnati was dominated and blown out. The final margin was only 14 points, but the game was ugly early and if the Patriots wanted to, they could have completely dominated Cincy from start to finish. Don’t blame Terrell Owens (though he did have a drop the first pass in his direction), Cincy is just not good enough.
Carolina: I may be the only person on Earth who has Carolina as a playoff contender; however, that was contingent upon Matt Moore and the rest of the offense protecting the ball. Moore had three interceptions and the Panthers had another three fumbles, losing two. I don’t expect Moore to have a repeat of his dreadful outing, but certainly the bloom is off the Panther rose.
Atlanta: The Steelers are a tough competitor at home and their defense is whole again with Polomalu returning to the defensive backfield. The Falcons played well, but not better than a Steeler offense lead by Dennis Dixon. Losing a road game to an AFC opponent is a best case scenario if a team must picks its poison. Matt Ryan did have an interception late, but there is little reason to lose faith in this NFC South Contender.
Indianapolis: Call it a Super Bowl hangover, call it the Houston Texans being due, call it Sue because it really doesn’t matter. The Colts looked small against the Texans who pushed the Colts around the field. Second year player, Arian Foster, appears to be pro-bowl bound. The Colts may have closed the gap in score, but they appear to have a ton of work in front of them to return to last years Super Bowl caliber form.
Philadelphia: Kolb was unimpressive. He was also concussed. Stewart Bradley was also concussed. And yet there they were playing in the game; after sending Brian Westbrook back into action last year only to see him concussed again, I have sincere doubts that this Philadelphia training staff understand the severity of concussions. Philly has bigger problems brewing. Vick has not returned to his pre-prison form, but he is much closer than he was last year. Vick played well enough that he will have a starting job next year in the NFL and there will be a serious push for him to be the permanent starter in Philadelphia over Kolb. Philly fans always want what is hidden behind door number 2, regardless of what prize is already in their grasp. Otherwise, the defense stymied a good Packers offense despite giving up 27 total points.
As a Cowboys fan, Vick as a permanent fixture at QB would be a challenge year in and year out. We have seen Vick play at his best, and the good news is that his best isn’t good enough to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl.
San Francisco: San Francisco had a similar situation as the Cowboys did. They were playing a team with a new coaching staff and they were uncertain of how the Seahawks players would be utilized. The difference was that the Cowboys made adjustments quickly and played a solid defensive game. The Niners play New Orleans next week and I would all but guarantee a Niners victory. If not, their 0-2 start may prove difficult to overcome.
Vikings: The Vikings will be just fine, unfortunately. Favre is using the regular season to get into game shape. That’s the Shaquille O’Neal approach and Cowboys fans can only hope that Favre is still rusty in week 6 when the Cowboys travel to Minnesota.
Tags: Alex Barron Arian Foster Atlanta Falcons Brett Favre Brian Westbrook Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Dallas Cowboys David Buehler Dennis Dixon Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Kevin Kolb Kyle Kosier Marc Colombo Matt Moore Matt Ryan Matt Stover Mike Vanderjagt Mike Vick Minnesota Vikings San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks Stewart Bradley Terrell Owens Troy Polomalu Wade Phillips Washington Redskins